You give me anything to eat, I shall empty my plate happily; curry, dal, pasta, roti, sandwich, pizza, ice cream, anything. It doesn’t even need to be specifically non vegetarian. But some days, the Bengali in me, really, really, craves for some fish. And not just any fish dish, but the way my ‘Dida’ (maternal grandmom) used to make it, especially when I was a kid and had fever. My favourite bit was of course, having the last morsel of fish and ‘bori’, a kind of lentil dumpling, sun dried to form crisp morsels that are added to gravies and curries.
My comfort food; a place of steaming hot rice, and some Maacher Jhol, perhaps with a sprinkle of lime and a good ol’ green chili on the side?
Not only is this incredibly easy on the tummy, but is also a great way to eat vegetables you normally wouldn’t; like pointed gourd, or parwal, or ‘potol’… Not a fan, nope. So, you add some in this for me, and I’ll gobble it up greedily 😛
This is usually made with river fish or sweet-water fishes like Carp, either Rohu/Rui or Catla, but can also be made with Beckti/Bhekti or Barramundi. The broth is light and is made with very little oil. The addition of veggies depends on your taste preference, and the time of year; cauliflowers and flat beans/hyacinth beans/sheem make for an ideal addition in winter, while okra/bhindi/lady’s finger, brinjal/eggplant/aubergine, pointed gourd/parwal/potol and beans are great summer vegetables that go well with this.
The picture on the left is of a ‘Maacher Jhol’ I’d made a few months back, in winter, with cauliflowers, while the one of the right is a pure vegetarian one, same dish, sans the fish, with winter veggies 😀
Rui Maacher Jhol
- Carp/Rohu/Rui – 6 pieces
- Potatoes – 2 medium, sliced lengthwise, like finger chips
- Tomato – 1 large, diced
- Pointed gourd/Parwal/Potol – 6 to 8, sliced lengthwise
- Green beans/String beans – 10 to 12, cut into 2 inch pieces
- Ginger – 1 inch piece, grated
- Kalo jeera/Nigella seeds – 1 tsp
- Bori/Wadi/Lentil dumpling – 12 to 15
- Turmeric – 1 tsp for the curry, and 2 tsp for marinating the fish
- Salt – to taste, a sprinkle for marinating the fish
- Coriander – chopped, handful
- Mustard oil – 2 tbsp
- Heat a thick-bottomed kadai/vessel with mustard oil and let it smoke.
- Apply turmeric and salt on the fish pieces and deep fry them until golden brown.
- Take out and keep aside.
- Quickly fry the ‘bori’ until they change colour, and remove them.
- You might need to add a tbsp of oil at this point.
- In the same pan, add the nigella seeds, and fry the potato and pointed gourd lightly until golden brown.
- Add the tomatoes and grated ginger.
- Season with salt and turmeric, and lower the heat, covering the vessel for about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Once 5 minutes or so have passed, uncover and check veggies. They should have softened very slightly.
- Now add the fish, chopped coriander, 2 cups of water and cover until veggies soften.
- Just before you switch off the heat, add the boris, so they seep in gravy.
- Turn off heat, the gravy should be runny, and serve hot with rice 🙂