Katla Fish in Bengali & Indian Cooking: Things to Know

Catla, known as Katla in Bengali, is a very common fish for the Indians, especially for the Bengalis. It mainly lives and thrives in lakes and river water. The fish can be easily identified by its large, broad head and upturned mouth.

In India, this fish is a favourite in Bengal, Orissa and coastal regions. Especially in Bengal, it is almost a must-prepare on any special occasion. It is also cooked in Bongs’ kitchens on any normal day.

Katla lends itself to different cooking experiments. As a result, there is a large variety of Katla preparations in Indian repertoires, especially in the Bengali cuisines.

Katla Fish in Bengali & Indian Cooking

Uses of Katla Fish in Bengali & Indian Cooking

Fish is not only a great source of protein but a symbol of auspiciousness for many Indians, especially the non-veg Hindus.

In a Bengali Hindu wedding, a whole katla fish is smeared with turmeric, placed on a tray and sent to the bride’s house in the morning on the wedding day.

Indians have a fetish for fried and fast foods. So, it won’t raise eyebrows that katla fries are a pure delight for them.

Though it is not served fried on occasions, you can have one or two pieces on your platter as a part of any special menu or just with plain rice and dal. Yes, my mom often treats us with these basic delicacies and simplicity always wins my heart.

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Katla macher jhol is a common item straight out of the Bongs’ kitchen. Potatoes are a common vegetable used with fried katala pieces for preparation.

Sometimes, beans, carrots, and pointed gourd are also used. A handful of spices create the sheer magic. Jhol in Bengali means little thick soup. This recipe works well with steamed rice.

Katla macher kalia is a rich, spicy preparation. It is an authentic Bengali cuisine that has been a part of Bongs’ wedding menu for ages.

Onion, ginger, common spices and garam masala whip up the tempting flavour. It is traditionally paired with steamed rice but you can also try it with pulao or fried rice.

Doi maach is another popular and flavourful preparation with katla. No onion, garlic and ginger are used in this recipe.

Instead, hung curd is used to prepare the gravy spiced with a few known spices and sliced green chillies. The colour and texture drop a hint how it can pamper the taste of hard-core foodies.

Among some Bengali Muslims, particularly those living in Malda and Murshidabad, a special katla preparation is a part and parcel of their wedding celebration.

The fish is prepared in a unique way. The whole fish is deveined and then filled with spicy stuffing. It is then sewed and cooked on a big tawa. This marriage-special dish is prepared for the groom and his family.

Katla bhapa is an innovative dish, prepared in the same style you prepare hilsa bhapa, Needless to say, it truly tastes awesome. It is a perfect side dish with plain steamed rice, pea rice or even fried rice.

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Bongs’ rich collection of their signature fish recipes is incomplete without the mention of aromatic, mildly spicy muri ghonto.

Fried fish heads are added to aromatic gobindobhog rice and flavoured up by a few spices. Milk-soaked raisins lend the dish subtle sweetness whereas cashew nuts are great for crunchy bites.

It is all about the play of flavours that drum up the taste factor to height.

Usually, cashew paste is not used in katla preparation. But you can use it along with curd to give it a rich, royal look and taste.

My mom, who is a great cook, prepares a dish – she has named it Chicapom – with a thick paste of cashew nuts, poppy seeds and pumpkin seeds.

Only turmeric powder and red chilli powder are used to give the dish a bright colour that triggers foodies’ craving.

Katla macher dim bhaja is another Bong speciality. The eggs are mixed with onion slices, chopped ginger-garlic, chopped chillies, salt, familiar spices and coriander leaves to create a thick batter.

Either the entire mixture is added to oil or a spoonful of batter is dropped in oil and deep fried. The latter recipe is called macher dimer bora in Bengali. Sometimes, these balls (boras) are added to gravies.

You can relish the gravy with steamed rice or roti whereas the fried version is perfectly teamed up with onion rings and sauces.

How Do You Know When Katla Fish is Cooked?

Timing is always an important factor for cooking. Katla fish hardly takes more than 15-20 minutes to get cooked in gravy.

To be sure, you can try to force a fork at an angle into its meatiest portion.

Twinge the fork a little and if it can break off a piece of flesh, the fish is perfectly done.

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Questions & Answers:

How Can You Tell It is a Katla Fish?

The head of the katla fish is big and broad. Its mid part is much broader than its head. The upturned mouth is another feature to identify it.

Is Katla Fish Tasty?

Yes, calta fish is very tasty. After it is perfectly done, the fish tastes tender.

How to Master the Art of Cooking Katla Fish?

Marinate katla fish pieces with salt, turmeric powder and coriander powder for 15-20 minutes before frying. If you are making gravy, add the fried pieces when water is boiling.

How Long Does Katla Fish Take to Cook?

It takes just a few minutes to fry katla pieces. If you are preparing jhol or gravy, it will take hardly 15-20 minutes for the fried pieces to get boiled.

Which Part of Katla Fish is Best?

The opinion varies from person to person. Some prefer the head most whereas many like pieces from the belly as these are softer.

How Does Katla Fish Taste?

Katla is one of the most delicious fishes consumed by the Indians. It tastes sweet and mushy at the same time.

Is Katla Fish Very Bony?

Katla has 40 straight pin bones. If you are taking small Katla then you can face the bony issue otherwise for big ones you will not be having any bone issues.

What is Katla Fish Called in English?

Katla fish is called Catla in English.

Can You Debone Katla Fish?

Yes, it is possible to debone Katla fish.

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