Monday, January 03, 2011

Koi Maacher Jhaal

There is an old Bengali saying that the power of endurance of a woman is like a Koi fish’s (Climbing Perch).

May manush’er praan, Koi maacher jaan!

Meaning both the Koi and a woman have great abilities to withstand pain. Try clubbing a live Koi for your meal and you will see how it takes you four or five, even more times to beat it to death! Koi is a pond fish, often found in slushy inlets, quietly hiding from a predator or fisherman. It has a dark appearance, the skin is rather thick. Koi fish is sweet, fleshy and has hook-like bones. I have once suffered the pain a Koi bone can cause to the throat, while eating a delicious curry made with mustard and green chilies, often called a Jhaal in Bangla.  IMG_0371
The Koi we eat should not be confused with the Japanese ornamental brocaded ones by the same name.

So today’s lunch was this Koi Maacher Jhaal, a simple mustardy curry spiked with fresh green chilies. IMG_0355

Ingredients for Koi Maacher Jhaal are:

500 grams Koi fish, washed and cleaned
2 medium size ripe tomatoes, quartered
6-7 green chilies, slit lengthwise
Handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped
3 heaped teaspoons of freshly ground yellow mustard
Three-fourth teaspoons red chili powder
2 + 1 teaspoons turmeric powder
Half cup mustard oil
Salt

Heat mustard oil in a wok/thick pan until smoking. Rub two teaspoons turmeric and a spoonful of salt to the fish and shallow fry them, about two minutes on each side. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep.

IMG_0351 IMG_0349
In the remaining oil, add the tomatoes and green chilies and sauté for a minute or two. In a bowl, mix together the mustard, turmeric, and red chili powder. Add three cups of water and add the mixture to the tomato-green chili in the pan. Season with salt.IMG_0356

IMG_0359 Let this cook on medium-high flame for about 7-8 minutes, till the tomatoes and the spices are cooked through. Now gently release the Koi fish, holding them by their tails!

IMG_0363 It takes about 4-5 minutes after you release the fish into the mustard curry to complete cooking. Don’t forget to turn the fish in the sauce. Finish with a generous garnish of chopped coriander. The Koi Maacher Jhaal is recommended with steaming hot rice. Enjoy!

IMG_0367 IMG_0374Oh and just so you know, I did not have to club a Koi to death, it was available at the Bangladeshi store we get our share of desi fish from.

11 comments:

Sharmila said...

Deshe theke o koi dekhtei paai na ... khawa toh onek dur.
You are soooo lucky! :-) Gorom bhaat ar ektu ei jhaal ... aha.

Priya said...

Slurp,fingerlicking dish..

Home Cooked Oriya Food said...

looks yum! Wow!

Home Cooked Oriya Food said...

I love mustard fish... The small fishes are my favorite...

GB said...

Okay that was a relief--knowing that you didn't need to club it. Gulp!

It looks delectable as usual Pree---and the prep looked real simple too.
:)

Cham said...

Wishing you a Very Happy New Year!
I never cooked pond fish - this one is simply awesome.

Sayantani said...

akdom sotti ekhaneo koi paoa jay na. jedin dekhte pai ato kharap abosthay thake je takateo ichhe kare na. jhal ta darun hoeche. ei mase bari jabo maa ke age theke bole rakhi Koi mach khabo.

Sanchita said...

Happy New year! You remind me of my home food cooked by my mum. Thanks :)

Prem said...

What fish is this in US? Do you have a list of English / US Names for bengali fishes?

My biggest difficulty is trusting the fish I see at the supermarkets (US/ Korean) even though they look similar to the ones we used to get in India.

PreeOccupied said...

@Prem, the very first sentence of the post has the English name for Koi.
:-)

I buy my fish from Bangladeshi stores. I have tried Korean stores, but I don't like them. You should try the Chinatown if you have one around where you live.

Vemula Madhu said...

wow great preparation
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