Chuno Macher Jhal Recipe | Spicy Small Fish Curry

5 from 1 vote
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Chuno Macher Jhal is a popular Bengali fish curry known for its fiery and spicy flavors.

It is a beloved dish in the culinary traditions of West Bengal and Bangladesh, where fish holds a special place in the local cuisine.

The star ingredient of Chuno Macher Jhal is Chuno mach, also known as small fish in English.

The term “jhal” in Bengali refers to the hot and spicy nature of the dish. Chuno Macher Jhal lives up to its name by incorporating a robust blend of spices and chilies, resulting in a dish with a fiery kick.

Chuno Macher Jhal

Key Takeaways:

  • Chuno Macher Jhal is a fiery and spicy Bengali fish curry made with small fish.
  • It is traditionally served with steamed rice or bread like roti or paratha.
  • The curry is known for its rich and bold flavors, combining spices, onions, and garlic for a savory taste.
  • Chuno Macher Jhal is a great choice for seafood lovers who enjoy bold and aromatic flavors.
  • If you prefer alternatives, you can try Rui Macher Jhal (made with Rohu fish), prawn curry, chicken curry, paneer curry, or mixed vegetable curry.

The Ingredients:

Chuno Macher Jhal ingredients

  • Mixed Small Fish – (Chuno Maach) 250 gms (cleaned properly)
  • Ginger Dry Chili Paste – 3 tablespoons
  • Onion – 2 pieces (chopped
  • Green Chilis – 5 pieces
  • Kalonji Seeds – 1 tablespoon
  • Coriander Powder – half spoon
  • Cumin Powder – half spoon
  • Turmeric Powder – 1 tablespoon
  • Kashmiri Chili Powder – 1 tablespoon
  • Mustard Oil – 2 tablespoons
  • Salt – As required

How to Cook Chuno Macher Jhal (Step by Step Images)?

1. Lighten clay stove and heat the pan.

Lightening clay stove and heating the pan

2. Add oil and heat it, then add the kalonji seeds and all the chopped onions and fry them.

Adding oil, kalonji seeds, chopped onions

3. Add half a spoonful of salt to cook the chopped onions faster.

Adding salt

4. Add the ginger garlic paste and stir it well.

Adding ginger garlic paste and stirring

5. Add the turmeric, cumin, and coriander powder. Add a little water and fry it until it’s well cooked.

Adding turmeric, cumin, and coriander powder

6. Add a pinch of salt and a small amount of water. Add all the small fishes without salt.

Adding salt, water and small fishes

7. Lower the heat and let it simmer.

Lowering the heat

8. Slit the chilis and add them to the mixture, then cover it with a lid.

Adding Slit the chilis

9. When you can see that the oil has separated from spices, it’s ready.

Chuno Macher Jhal is ready

10. Serve Chuno Macher Jhal with rice.

Serving Chuno Macher Jhal with rice

Pro Tips for Cooking Chuno Macher Jhal

Here are some pro tips to help you achieve the best results when cooking Chuno Macher Jhal:

Choose fresh fish: To ensure the best flavor and texture, select fresh Chuno or small fish for your curry. Look for fish that has clear eyes, shiny skin, and a mild, fresh aroma.

Marinate the fish (OPTIONAL): Before adding the fish to the curry, marinating it for about 15-20 minutes with a mixture of turmeric, salt, and a squeeze of lime or lemon juice can help enhance the flavors and tenderize the fish.

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Temper the spices (OPTIONAL): Start by tempering the whole spices like cumin seeds, bay leaves, and cardamom pods in hot oil or ghee. This technique allows the spices to release their flavors and aromas, infusing the curry with a delightful taste.

Use a combination of spices: Create a well-balanced spice blend using ground spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric, and red chili powder. Adjust the spice levels to your preference, keeping in mind that Chuno Macher Jhal is traditionally a hot and spicy dish.

Sauté the onions: Achieve a rich and caramelized flavor by sautéing the onions until they turn golden brown. This step adds depth to the curry and enhances its overall taste.

Control the heat: Adjust the amount of green chilies according to your spice tolerance. Remember that the dish is supposed to be spicy, but you can reduce or increase the number of chilies to suit your preference.

Simmer gently: Once you add the fish to the curry, simmer it gently on low heat. This allows the fish to cook evenly and absorb the flavors of the spices without overcooking or breaking apart.

Garnish with fresh herbs (OPTIONAL): Just before serving, sprinkle freshly chopped cilantro (coriander leaves) or mint leaves over the Chuno Macher Jhal. This adds a burst of freshness and enhances the visual appeal of the dish.

Rest before serving: Let the curry rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to meld together, resulting in a more harmonious and delicious dish.

By following these pro tips, you can elevate your Chuno Macher Jhal cooking skills and create a flavorful and authentic dish that will impress your family and friends. Happy cooking!

What to Serve with Chuno Macher Jhal?

To complement the flavors of this delicious dish, here are some traditional accompaniments you can serve alongside Chuno Macher Jhal:

Steamed Rice: The most common and traditional choice is to serve Chuno Macher Jhal with steamed rice. The rice helps to balance the spiciness of the curry and allows you to savor the flavors of the dish.

Roti or Paratha: If you prefer bread instead of rice, you can serve Chuno Macher Jhal with roti or paratha. These Indian flatbreads are great for scooping up the curry and adding a different texture to the meal.

Remember to adjust the side dishes based on your preferences and dietary restrictions. These suggestions should help you create a balanced and delicious meal with Chuno Macher Jhal as the star. Enjoy your meal!

How Does Chuno Macher Jhal Taste?

Chuno Macher Jhal Taste

Chuno Macher Jhal is known for its rich and bold flavors. The taste can vary slightly depending on the specific recipe and ingredients used, but here’s a general description:

Spicy: “Jhal” in Bengali means spicy, so Chuno Macher Jhal is expected to have a fiery kick to it. The curry is typically made with a blend of aromatic spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric, and red chili powder, which contribute to its heat and pungency. The level of spiciness can be adjusted to personal preference.

Savory: The combination of spices, onions, and garlic in the curry base creates a savory and aromatic taste. The flavors of the fish, along with the spices, infuse into the gravy, resulting in a robust and flavorful dish.

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Overall, Chuno Macher Jhal is a spicy and flavorful fish curry with a combination of heat, and savory undertones. It’s a delightful and satisfying dish for those who enjoy bold flavors.

Chuno Macher Jhal Alternatives

If you’re looking for alternatives to Chuno Macher Jhal, here are a few options that you might enjoy:

Rui Macher Jhal: Rui Macher Jhal is a popular Bengali fish curry made with Rohu fish. It follows a similar preparation method as Chuno Macher Jhal but uses a different type of fish. The flavors may vary slightly, as Rohu fish has its own unique taste and texture.

Prawn Curry: If you prefer seafood other than fish, a prawn curry can be a delicious alternative. Prawns have a sweet and delicate flavor that pairs well with a spicy curry base. You can prepare a prawn curry using similar spices and ingredients as Chuno Macher Jhal.

Chicken Curry: If you prefer a non-seafood option, a flavorful chicken curry can be a great alternative. You can prepare a spicy chicken curry using bone-in or boneless chicken pieces cooked in a rich and aromatic gravy. Adjust the spices and seasonings according to your taste preferences.

Paneer Curry: For a vegetarian alternative, you can prepare a paneer curry. Paneer, a type of Indian cheese, is known for its mild and creamy taste. Cook it in a spicy tomato-based gravy with a blend of spices for a delicious vegetarian curry option.

Mixed Vegetable Curry: Another vegetarian option is a mixed vegetable curry. Use a variety of seasonal vegetables like potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, peas, and beans, and cook them in a flavorful spice mix and tomato gravy. It offers a wholesome and nutritious alternative to fish curry.

Remember to adjust the cooking time and techniques according to the chosen alternative dish. These options can provide variety and cater to different dietary preferences while still delivering a flavorful and satisfying meal.

Recipe Card:

Chuno Macher Jhal

Chuno Macher Jhal (Spicy Small Fish Curry)

By Mita Mondal
Chuno Macher Jhal is a beloved and popular Bengali fish curry known for its fiery and spicy flavors. It holds a special place in the culinary traditions of West Bengal and Bangladesh, where fish plays a prominent role in the local cuisine.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 250 grams Mixed Small Fish (cleaned properly)
  • 5 pieces Green Chili
  • 2 pieces Red Dry Chili (pasted)
  • 2 tablespoons Ginger (pasted)
  • 2 pieces Onion (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon Kalonji Seed
  • ½ tablespoon Coriander Powder
  • ½ tablespoon Cumin Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Kashmiri Chili Powder
  • 2 tablespoons Mustard Oil
  • Salt to Taste

Instructions
 

  • Heat a clay stove or stovetop pan.
  • Add oil to the pan and heat it up. Then, add the kalonji seeds and chopped onions, and fry them until they turn golden brown.
  • To cook the onions faster, add half a spoonful of salt.
  • Stir in the ginger garlic paste and mix it well with the onions.
  • Add the turmeric, cumin, and coriander powder to the pan. Pour in a little water to prevent the spices from burning, and fry them until the mixture is well cooked.
  • Sprinkle a pinch of salt and add a small amount of water to the pan. Carefully add all the small fishes without salt.
  • Reduce the heat and allow the curry to simmer.
  • Make slits in the green chilies and add them to the mixture. Cover the pan with a lid.
  • Cook the curry until you notice that the oil has separated from the spices, indicating that it's ready.
  • Serve the delicious Chuno Macher Jhal with rice.

Video

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Notes

Fish Selection: Choose fresh Chuno fish or small fish for the best flavor and texture. Look for fish that has clear eyes, shiny skin, and a mild, fresh aroma.
Marination (Optional): Consider marinating the fish with a mixture of turmeric, salt, and a squeeze of lime or lemon juice for 15-20 minutes before adding it to the curry. This step can enhance the flavors and tenderize the fish.
Tempering Spices (Optional): To add more depth to the curry, start by tempering whole spices like cumin seeds, bay leaves, and cardamom pods in hot oil or ghee. This technique releases their flavors and infuses the curry with aromatic notes.
Spice Blend: Create a well-balanced spice blend using ground spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric, and red chili powder. Adjust the spice levels according to your preference, keeping in mind that Chuno Macher Jhal is traditionally a hot and spicy dish.
Green Chilies: Adjust the amount of green chilies based on your spice tolerance. While Chuno Macher Jhal is meant to be spicy, feel free to reduce or increase the number of chilies according to your preference.
Simmer Gently: Once the fish is added to the curry, simmer it gently on low heat. This allows the fish to cook evenly and absorb the flavors of the spices without overcooking or breaking apart.
Garnish (Optional): Just before serving, garnish the Chuno Macher Jhal with freshly chopped cilantro (coriander leaves) or mint leaves. This adds a burst of freshness and enhances the visual appeal of the dish.
Resting Time: Let the curry rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to meld together, resulting in a more harmonious and flavorful dish.
By keeping these recipe notes in mind, you can enhance the flavors and achieve the best results when preparing Chuno Macher Jhal. Enjoy your culinary adventure!
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Conclusion

Chuno Macher Jhal is a popular Bengali fish curry made with Chuno fish (also known as small fish).

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Chuno Macher Jhal is typically served with steamed rice.

It is a delightful option for those who enjoy bold and aromatic flavors in their seafood dishes.

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