If you haven’t got the drift yet, you can make a Jhol by pretty much adding any vegetable or fish and meat in a runny curry and call it Jhol!
I am particularly fond of these two Macher Jhol I am going to share with you today. They will stump you with the simplicity and ease with which they are made. You will also reckon that both these versions are pretty similar, ingredient-wise. Except for the key difference – the main spice that distinguishes a jeerer (cumin) jhol from a shorse batar (mustard paste) jhol.
The jeerer jhol is light on the tummy. In olden days, it was often given to “patients” recovering from a fever or some such diagnosed disease. Though I have used Rohu (fresh water carp), it isn’t surprising to see a jeeyol mach (or shingi mach) thrown in in this kind of Jhol. Essentially as this kind of fish is easy to digest and good for health.
The shorshe jhol is for more celebrative days. The pungent taste of mustard gets rightly balanced by the vegetables and the tartness of tomatoes.
(The photos in this post are from two days, two recipes. One with ground cumin and the other with yellow mustard seeds.)
Ingredients for Macher Jhol are:
4-6 Pieces of shallow-fried fresh water carp (preferably Rohu)
Seasonal vegetables like cauliflower, beans, eggplant, sugar peas (whole), raw/ green banana and potato diced or cut lengthwise
2 medium size ripe tomatoes
Few green chilies
Handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped
2 tablespoons cumin powder or paste of the same quantity of freshly ground yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon red chili powder
The way to fry the fish is to rub salt and turmeric on it and shallow fry in hot mustard oil. Keep aside.
Make a runny mixture with the cumin powder (or mustard powder), turmeric, red chili powder, slit green chilies, salt and coarsely chopped tomatoes, adding about two cups of water.
Now add the hardy vegetables first followed by the ones which do not take much time to cook.
Once the vegetables have cooked (but not mushy), add the pieces of fried fish. Give it one good boil, check the salt and turn the heat off. Garnish with freshly chopped coriander.
Serve hot with plain rice and lemon wedges. Its okay to re-heat the macher jhol but be careful that the delicate pieces of fish don’t disintegrate.