Bata Macher Jhal Recipe | Spicy Bata Fish Curry

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Bata Macher Jhal is a popular Bengali fish curry dish known for its unique and fiery flavors.

It is a traditional recipe from the Indian state of West Bengal and is cherished for its bold spiciness.

The term “Bata Macher” refers to a specific type of fish called Bata or Labeo bata, which is a freshwater fish found in rivers and ponds of the region.

“Jhal” denotes the characteristic spiciness of the dish. Bata Macher Jhal is prepared by cooking the fish in a rich and aromatic gravy infused with a blend of spices.

Bata Macher Jhal

Key Takeaways:

  • Bata Macher Jhal is a spicy Bengali fish curry known for its bold flavors.
  • It features Bata fish cooked with spices and green chilies.
  • The dish is traditionally served with steamed rice or bread.
  • Bata fish is valued for its firm texture and ability to absorb flavors.
  • If you’re looking for alternatives, consider prawn curry, fish korma, fish vindaloo, fish curry with coconut milk, fish kaliya, or fish tamarind curry, each offering its own unique taste experience.

The Ingredients:

Bata Macher Jhal

How to Make Bata Macher Jhal (Step by Step Images)?

1. First, marinate the Bata fishes with half a spoonful of salt and turmeric. The fish should be slit and then kept for 10 minutes.

Marinating Bata fishes, salt and turmeric

2. Then fire up the earthen stove, heat up the kadai, and pour some oil.

Pouring oil in kadai

3. Let the oil heat up, add the Bata fishes to the hot oil. Fry until it’s brown and crispy. Once Bata fishes are fried, then take them out.

Adding Bata fishes to the hot oil

4. Add the black cumin and then the onion. Fry it lightly for 5 minutes until it’s light brown.

Adding black cumin and onion

5. Add the all green chilis and half a spoonful of salt. Add the ginger and garlic paste. Fry it for 5 minutes without water.

Adding green chilis, salt. and ginger and garlic paste

6. Add the turmeric and a little bit of water. Cook it well for 5 minutes.

Adding turmeric and a little bit of water

7. Now add some water according to desired consistency for the gravy and cover it with a lid.

Adding water and putting lid

8. Then add the coriander powder and mix well.

Adding coriander powder

9. When the spicy gravy starts to boil, add all the fried Bata fish pieces and a pinch of salt.

Add Bata fish pieces and a pinch of salt

10. After 5 minutes, Bata Macher Jhal is ready.

Bata Macher Jhal is ready

Pro Tips for Cooking Bata Macher Jhal

Choose Fresh Fish: Select fresh Bata fish for the best taste and texture. Look for fish that has clear eyes, shiny scales, and a fresh smell. Fresh fish ensures a flavorful and delicious curry.

Marinate the Fish: Before cooking, marinate the fish with a little salt and turmeric powder. This helps to remove any fishy smell and adds a subtle flavor to the fish. Let it sit for about 10-20 minutes for the flavors to penetrate the fish.

Use Freshly Ground Mustard Paste (OPTIONAL): To achieve better flavor of Bata Macher Jhal, use freshly ground mustard paste. Soak mustard seeds in water for about 30 minutes, then grind them to a smooth paste using a mortar and pestle or a blender. The freshly ground paste will add a vibrant and pungent flavor to the curry.

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Adjust Spice Levels: Bata Macher Jhal is known for its spiciness, but you can adjust the heat level according to your preference. Add green chilies based on your tolerance for spice. If you prefer a milder version, deseed the chilies or reduce their quantity.

Simmer Slowly: Once you add the fish to the gravy, simmer it gently to ensure that the flavors infuse into the fish and the curry thickens. Avoid overcooking the fish, as it can become mushy. Cook it until the fish is just tender and easily flakes with a fork.

Rest Before Serving: After the curry is cooked, let it rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to meld together and the curry to thicken slightly, resulting in a more delicious and cohesive dish.

Garnish with Fresh Coriander (OPTIONAL): Just before serving, garnish the Bata Macher Jhal with freshly chopped coriander leaves. The aromatic herb adds a refreshing touch and enhances the overall presentation and flavor of the dish.

By following these pro tips, you can elevate the flavors and achieve a truly authentic and delightful Bata Macher Jhal. Enjoy the spicy and flavorful Bengali fish curry!

What to Serve with Bata Macher Jhal?

Serving Bata Macher Jhal with Steamed Rice

Bata Macher Jhal, being a spicy and flavorful fish curry, pairs well with a variety of accompaniments. Here are some traditional and popular options to serve alongside Bata Macher Jhal:

Steamed Rice: The most common and classic choice is to serve Bata Macher Jhal with plain steamed rice. The mildness of the rice helps balance the spiciness of the curry and allows you to savor the flavors of the fish and the aromatic gravy.

Pulao: If you prefer something more fragrant and flavorful, you can serve Bata Macher Jhal with fragrant pulao. Prepare a rice pilaf cooked with aromatic spices like cumin, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom. The pilaf complements the robust flavors of the fish curry.

Roti or Paratha: Bata Macher Jhal can also be enjoyed with Indian bread like roti or paratha. These breads provide a slightly chewy and doughy texture that contrasts well with the spicy fish curry.

Luchi: Luchi is a deep-fried Bengali bread made with all-purpose flour. It is light and fluffy and pairs exceptionally well with Bata Macher Jhal. The combination of crispy luchi and spicy fish curry is a delight to the taste buds.

Remember to adjust the accompaniments according to your personal preferences. Bata Macher Jhal is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed with various sides, allowing you to create a well-rounded and satisfying meal.

How Does Bata Macher Jhal Taste?

Bata Macher Jhal Taste

The taste of Bata Macher Jhal can be described as follows:

Spicy: Bata Macher Jhal is traditionally a spicy fish curry. The dish incorporates green chilies and mustard paste, which contribute to its fiery heat. The spiciness adds a vibrant and invigorating kick to each bite.

Umami: The combination of fish, spices, and other ingredients creates a rich umami flavor in Bata Macher Jhal. The fish itself contributes to the savory taste, while the blend of spices like turmeric, cumin, and coriander enhances the umami profile of the dish.

Aromatic: The curry is often infused with the aromas of ginger, garlic, onions, and other spices. These aromatic ingredients create a tantalizing fragrance that enhances the overall dining experience. The aromatic notes contribute to the complexity of flavors in the dish.

Bata Macher Jhal Alternatives

If you’re looking for alternatives to Bata Macher Jhal, here are a few options that offer different flavors and culinary experiences:

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Prawn Curry: Prawn curry is a delicious alternative that features succulent prawns cooked in a flavorful gravy. The prawns absorb the spices and develop a rich taste. The curry can be prepared in various styles, such as coconut-based, tomato-based, or onion-based, offering a wide range of flavor profiles to explore.

Fish Korma: Fish Korma is a creamy and mildly spiced curry that is perfect for those who prefer a milder flavor profile. The fish is cooked in a luxurious sauce made with yogurt, cream, and a blend of aromatic spices. It has a rich and velvety texture with a hint of sweetness.

Fish Vindaloo: If you enjoy bold and spicy flavors, Fish Vindaloo is a great alternative. It is a Goan curry dish known for its fiery taste. The fish is marinated in a tangy and spicy sauce made with vinegar, garlic, ginger, and a blend of spices. It offers a unique and intense flavor experience.

Fish Curry with Coconut Milk: This alternative combines the freshness of fish with the creaminess of coconut milk. The fish is cooked in a luscious curry made with coconut milk, spices, and aromatics. The coconut milk adds a subtle sweetness and richness to the dish.

Fish Kaliya: Fish Kaliya is a traditional Mughlai dish where fish is cooked in a rich and aromatic gravy. The gravy is made with a combination of yogurt, spices, and nuts, resulting in a creamy and flavorful curry. It has a luxurious and indulgent taste.

Fish Tamarind Curry: Tamarind-based fish curry offers a tangy and sour flavor profile. The fish is cooked in a sauce made with tamarind pulp, spices, and herbs. The tanginess of tamarind adds a refreshing and zesty element to the dish.

These alternatives provide a range of flavors and styles to explore, allowing you to enjoy the versatility of fish curries.

Each option offers a unique taste experience, allowing you to find a delicious alternative to Bata Macher Jhal that suits your preferences.

Recipe Card

Bata Macher Jhal

Bata Macher Jhal (Spicy Bata Fish Curry)

By Mita Mondal
Bata Macher Jhal is a traditional Bengali fish curry dish made with Bata fish (Labeo bata) cooked in a spicy gravy. The dish is known for its bold flavors, combining the heat of green chilies and the richness of spices.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Marination time 10 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 5
Calories 185 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 500 grams Bata Fish (cut and cleaned)
  • 6 pieces Green Chili
  • 3 pieces Onion (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons Ginger Garlic Paste
  • ½ tablespoon Black Cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Coriander Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Turmeric Powder
  • 3 tablespoons Mustard Oil
  • Salt to taste

Instructions
 

  • Start by marinating the Bata fish pieces with half a teaspoon of salt and turmeric. Make sure to slit the fish before marinating and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  • Fire up an earthen stove or heat a kadai (wok) and add some oil.
  • Once the oil is hot, carefully place the marinated Bata fish pieces into the oil. Fry them until they turn brown and crispy and take them out.
  • Add black cumin seeds followed by onions. Lightly fry them until they turn light brown, which usually takes around 5 minutes.
  • Now, add all the green chilies and half a teaspoon of salt. Also, add ginger and garlic paste. Stir-fry the mixture for 5 minutes without adding any water.
  • Add turmeric powder and a small amount of water. Cook the mixture for another 5 minutes.
  • Adjust the consistency of the gravy by adding water according to your desired thickness. Cover the pan with a lid.
  • Next, add coriander powder and mix it well with the gravy.
  • Once the gravy starts to boil and the flavors are well blended, add all the fried Bata fish pieces along with a pinch of salt.
  • Let the Bata Macher Jhal cook for approximately 5 more minutes to be ready.

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Notes

Fish Selection: Choose fresh Bata fish for the best taste and texture. Look for fish with clear eyes, shiny scales, and a fresh smell. Fresh fish ensures a flavorful and delicious curry.
Marination: Marinate the fish with salt and turmeric before cooking. This helps to remove any fishy smell and adds a subtle flavor. Allow the fish to marinate for 10-20 minutes so that the flavors penetrate the fish.
Mustard Paste (Optional): For enhanced flavor, you can use freshly ground mustard paste. Soak mustard seeds in water for about 30 minutes, then grind them to a smooth paste using a mortar and pestle or a blender. The freshly ground paste adds a vibrant and pungent flavor to the curry.
Adjusting Spice Levels: Bata Macher Jhal is known for its spiciness, but you can adjust the heat level according to your preference. Add green chilies based on your tolerance for spice. If you prefer a milder version, deseed the chilies or reduce their quantity.
Cooking Time: Cook the fish until it is just tender and easily flakes with a fork. Overcooking can make the fish mushy and affect its texture.
Resting Time: Let the curry rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to meld together and the curry to thicken slightly, resulting in a more delicious and cohesive dish.
Garnish (OPTIONAL): Consider garnishing the Bata Macher Jhal with freshly chopped coriander leaves. This adds a refreshing touch and enhances the overall presentation and flavor of the dish.
By keeping these recipe notes in mind, you can achieve the best results for a flavorful Bata Macher Jhal.

Nutrition Info (Estimation Only)

Nutrition Facts
Bata Macher Jhal (Spicy Bata Fish Curry)
Amount per Serving
Calories
 
185
Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
11
g
17
%
Saturated Fat
 
2
g
13
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
2
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
6
g
Cholesterol
 
50
mg
17
%
Sodium
 
758
mg
33
%
Potassium
 
362
mg
10
%
Carbohydrates
 
2
g
1
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
 
0.1
g
0
%
Protein
 
20
g
40
%
Vitamin A
 
8
IU
0
%
Vitamin C
 
1
mg
1
%
Calcium
 
26
mg
3
%
Iron
 
2
mg
11
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Conclusion

Bata Macher Jhal is a popular Bengali fish curry known for its bold, spicy, and tangy flavors.

You May Also Like:  Macher Dimer Jhuri Recipe | Fish Egg Bhurji

The dish features Bata fish cooked in a pungent mustard-based gravy, infused with spices, green chilies, and aromatic ingredients.

It is traditionally served with steamed rice or bread, creating a satisfying and flavorful meal.

Bata Macher Jhal is a beloved dish in Bengali cuisine, appreciated for its fiery taste and the unique combination of mustard and spice.

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