Shol Macher Jhol Recipe | Snakehead Murrel Fish Curry

5 from 2 votes
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Shol Macher Jhol is a traditional Bengali fish curry that originates from the state of West Bengal, India.

This delightful dish features Shol fish, also known as Snakehead Murrel, cooked in a flavorful and aromatic gravy.

The term “Jhol” refers to a light and soupy consistency of the curry, which allows the delicate flavors of the fish and spices to shine through.

Check out the step by step guide to cook this dish at home.

Shol Macher Jhol

Key Takeaways:

  • Shol Macher Jhol is a traditional Bengali fish curry made with shol fish and flavorful spices.
  • The term “Jhol” refers to the light and soupy consistency of the curry, allowing the fish and spices to shine through.
  • It is a popular and comforting meal in Bengali cuisine.
  • Shol Macher Jhol embodies the emphasis on fresh ingredients and subtle flavors in Bengali cuisine.
  • The fish is marinated and cooked in an onion and tomato-based gravy with traditional spices, creating a balanced and enjoyable dish.

The Ingredients:

  • Snakehead Murrel Fish – 500 grams (cut and cleaned)
  • Potato- 2 pieces (peeled, cut and cleaned)
  • Roasted cumin powder– 1 Tsp
  • Coriander powder – 1 Tsp
  • Kashmiri red chili powder – 1 Tsp
  • Red chili powder – 1 Tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1.5 Tsp
  • Cumin seed – 1/2 Tsp
  • Dried red chili – 2 pieces
  • Bay leaf – 1 piece
  • Ginger & garlic paste – 1 Tbsp
  • Green chilis – 2 pieces
  • Coriander leaves – 1 Tbsp
  • Onion – 1 big size (finely chopped)
  • Tomato – 1 big size (chopped)
  • Mustard oil – 3 Tbsp
  • Salt – as per taste

How to Cook Shol Macher Jhol (Step by Step Images)?

1. Marinate the Shol fish with 1/2 Tsp salt and 1/2 Tsp turmeric. Nicely blend the spice with your hands and leave it for 10 mins.

Marinating the fish with salt and turmeric

2. Now I will proceed toward the earthen fireplace, I will fire it up, heat the wok (karai) and add the oil for frying the fish.

Adding the oil in kadai

3. Add the Shol fish pieces when the oil is hot. Fry the fish from both sides. Fry it till it is brown in colour and the skin will try to shrink.

Frying Shol fish pieces and taking out

4. Add some oil and then add the bay leaf, Jeera and the dried red chili. Sauté these ingredients.

Add the bay leaf, Jeera and the dried red chili

5. Then add the finely chopped onion till its golden brown and add the potatoes, fry the potato in the same way.

Frying finely chopped onions and potatoes

6. Add salt as per taste, and then add the ginger and garlic paste when the potatoes are half cooked.

Adding salt and ginger garlic paste

7. Cook it for 5 mins. Add the spices powder such as coriander, red chili, and turmeric. Add little water so that the spices do not burn.

Adding the spices powder such as coriander, red chili, and turmeric

8. Cook it for 5 mins. Add the tomatoes and then a little water again so that it does not get burned and cover it with a lid. Leave it for 5 mins.

Adding the tomatoes and a little water

9. After 5 mins you will see that the oil and spices are separated, now add some water again to make it a gravy (preferably thin gravy) and add some salt as per taste.

Add water and salt

10. Add the fish when gravy starts to boil and let it cook for few minutes. Then add the roasted cumin powder and green and red chilis. Cover it with the lid and leave it for 5-10 mins.

11. Garnish with coriander leave and cover it for 5 mins. Transfer Shol Macher Jhol to bowl.

Pro Tips for Cooking Shol Macher Jhol

Here are some pro tips to help you cook Shol Macher Jhol to perfection:

Choose Fresh Fish: Opt for fresh Shol fish for the best flavor and texture. Look for clear eyes, shiny scales, and a fresh, ocean-like smell. Fresh fish will enhance the overall taste of the curry.

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Marinate the Fish: Marinating the fish with turmeric, salt, and lemon juice (optional) for about 10-20 minutes will help reduce any fishy odor and add flavor to the fish. Ensure that the marinade is evenly coated on all sides of the fish.

Use the Right Spices: The key to a flavorful Shol Macher Jhol is using the right combination of spices. Ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, and ginger are commonly used. Adjust the spice levels according to your preference.

Sauté the Spices: Before adding the fish, sauté the spices in hot oil or ghee to release their flavors. This step helps to enhance the overall taste of the curry.

Simmer Gently: Once you add the fish to the gravy, simmer it gently over low to medium heat. Avoid boiling vigorously as it may break the delicate fish pieces. Slow simmering allows the fish to cook evenly and absorb the flavors of the gravy.

Adjust Consistency: Adjust the consistency of the curry by adding water or broth gradually. Keep in mind that Shol Macher Jhol is typically a light and soupy curry, so it should have a slightly thin consistency.

Let it Rest: After the curry is cooked, allow it to rest for a few minutes. This resting time helps the flavors to meld together and develop a richer taste.

Garnish with Fresh Herbs: Before serving, garnish the Shol Macher Jhol with fresh herbs like coriander leaves or chopped green chilies. This adds a pop of freshness and visual appeal to the dish.

With these pro tips, you’ll be on your way to creating a delicious and authentic Shol Macher Jhol that will impress your family and friends!

What to Serve with Shol Macher Jhol?

Shol Macher Jhol, being a traditional Bengali fish curry, is commonly served with complementary dishes to create a balanced and satisfying meal. Here are some popular options to consider:

Steamed Rice: The most common accompaniment to Shol Macher Jhol is steamed white rice. The fluffy rice helps absorb the flavors of the curry and provides a neutral base for enjoying the fish and gravy.

Roti or Paratha: If you prefer bread over rice, you can serve Shol Macher Jhol with roti or paratha. These Indian bread varieties complement the curry well and provide a different texture to enjoy with the fish.

Luchi: Luchi, a deep-fried Bengali bread, is another fantastic option to pair with Shol Macher Jhol. Its light and fluffy texture goes well with the flavorful curry.

With these delicious accompaniments, you can create a complete and satisfying meal with Shol Macher Jhol as the star dish.

How Does Shol Macher Jhol Taste?

Shol Macher Jhol has a distinct and delightful taste that reflects the flavors of traditional Bengali cuisine. Here’s a description of its taste profile:

Mildly Spicy: Shol Macher Jhol typically has a mild to moderate level of spiciness. The heat comes from spices like green chilies, ginger, and sometimes red chili powder. The spice level can be adjusted according to personal preference.

Tangy and Sour: The curry often has a tangy and slightly sour taste due to the addition of tomatoes or lemon juice. This tanginess adds a refreshing and vibrant element to the dish.

Pungent Mustard Flavor (OPTIONAL): The use of mustard seeds or mustard paste in Shol Macher Jhol contributes to its pungent and distinct flavor. Mustard seeds are known for their strong, sharp taste, which gives the curry its unique character.

Rich and Savory: The combination of spices, herbs, and fish in Shol Macher Jhol creates a rich and savory flavor profile. The fish itself adds a seafood essence to the curry, while the spices and aromatics enhance the overall taste.

Balanced and Harmonious: Shol Macher Jhol is all about achieving a harmonious balance of flavors. The mild spiciness, tanginess, and pungency of mustard are well-balanced to create a satisfying and flavorful curry that doesn’t overpower the delicate taste of the fish.

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Overall, Shol Macher Jhol offers a harmonious blend of mild spiciness, tanginess, and the unique pungency of mustard. It is a dish that tantalizes the taste buds with its rich and savory flavors, making it a favorite among fish curry enthusiasts.

Shol Macher Jhol Alternatives

If you’re looking for alternatives to Shol Macher Jhol, here are a few options that you can consider:

Rohu Macher Jhol: Rohu is another popular fish used in Bengali cuisine. You can replace the shol fish with rohu fish to make a delicious Rohu Macher Jhol. The cooking method and spices used in the curry are similar, resulting in a flavorful and aromatic fish curry.

Katla Macher Jhol: Katla fish is a widely consumed fish in Bengali cuisine. It has a mild and sweet flavor, making it an excellent choice for making fish curry. Substitute shol fish with katla fish to prepare Katla Macher Jhol. The curry will have its unique taste, with the fish absorbing the flavors of the spices and seasonings.

Chingri Macher Jhol: If you prefer seafood other than fish, Chingri Macher Jhol is a fantastic alternative. Chingri refers to prawns or shrimp, which are cooked in a similar style as Shol Macher Jhol. The prawns add a succulent and juicy texture to the curry, creating a delightful seafood-based dish.

Pomfret Macher Jhol: Pomfret is a versatile and delicious fish that can be used to make a delightful fish curry. Pomfret Macher Jhol offers a slightly different taste compared to Shol Macher Jhol, with its unique texture and flavor. The curry can be prepared with similar spices and ingredients, showcasing the flavors of this popular fish.

These alternatives provide you with a range of options to explore and enjoy different flavors while keeping the essence of a traditional Bengali fish curry. Feel free to choose the fish that suits your taste preferences and availability in your region.

Recipe Card:

Shol Macher Jhol

Shol Macher Jhol (Snakehead Murrel Fish Curry)

By Mita Mondal
Shol Macher Jhol is a traditional Bengali fish curry made with Snakehead Murrel fish, cooked in a light and thin gravy with spices, tomatoes, onions, and green chilies.
5 from 2 votes
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 245 kcal


  • 500 grams Snakehead Murrel Fish (cut and cleaned)
  • 2 pieces Potato (peeled, cut and cleaned)
  • 1 tablespoon Roasted cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon Coriander Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Kashmiri Red chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon Red chili powder
  • tablespoon Turmeric powder
  • ½ tablespoon Cumin seed
  • 2 pieces Dried red Chili
  • 1 pieces Bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon Ginger garlic paste
  • 2 pieces Green chili
  • 1 tablespoon Coriander leaves
  • 1 piece Onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 piece Tomato (chopped)
  • 3 tablespoon Mustard oil
  • Salt to taste


  • Marinate the Shol fish with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp turmeric. Ensure the spices are well blended, and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  • Heat a wok or karai over medium heat and add oil for frying the fish. Once the oil is hot, carefully add the marinated Shol fish pieces. Fry the fish until both sides turn brown and the skin begins to shrink.
  • In the same wok, add some more oil and then sauté bay leaf, jeera (cumin seeds), and dried red chili.
  • Add finely chopped onions and cook until they turn golden brown. Add potatoes and fry them until they are partially cooked.
  • Sprinkle salt and add ginger and garlic paste when the potatoes are half-cooked. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add coriander powder, red chili powder, and turmeric powder. Stir and cook for another 5 minutes, adding a little water to prevent the spices from burning.
  • Add tomatoes and a little more water to prevent burning. Cover the wok with a lid and let it cook for 5 minutes.
  • After 5 minutes, you will notice that the oil has separated from the spices. Add some water to create a thin gravy and season with salt to taste.
  • Carefully place the fried fish into the boiling gravy and let it cook for a few minutes. Add roasted cumin powder, green chilies, and red chilies. Cover the wok and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves, cover it again for 5 minutes, and then transfer the Shol Macher Jhol to a serving bowl.


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Fish Selection: Shol Macher Jhol traditionally uses Shol fish or Indian Carp. However, if Shol fish is not available, you can substitute it with other firm white fish varieties like tilapia or catfish.
Marination: Marinating the fish with salt and turmeric helps to enhance the flavor and also reduces any fishy smell. Make sure to rub the spices well onto the fish pieces and let them marinate for at least 10 minutes.
Frying the Fish: When frying the fish, make sure the oil is hot enough before adding the fish. This helps to seal the fish and prevent it from breaking apart. Fry the fish until it turns golden brown and the skin starts to shrink.
Spices and Seasonings: Adjust the spice levels according to your preference. You can increase or decrease the amount of red chili powder and green chilies based on the desired level of spiciness. Additionally, you can add other spices like coriander powder or cumin powder for extra flavor.
Potatoes: Adding potatoes is optional but common in Shol Macher Jhol. Cut the potatoes into small pieces, similar in size to the fish, for even cooking.
Simmering Time: After adding the fish to the gravy, allow it to simmer for a few minutes so that the flavors can meld together. Be careful not to overcook the fish, as it can become too soft and lose its texture.
Garnish: Fresh coriander leaves add a fresh and aromatic touch to the dish. Sprinkle some chopped coriander leaves on top just before serving.
Serving Suggestions: Shol Macher Jhol is typically served with steamed rice or plain white rice. The light and flavorful gravy of the curry complement the rice well. You can also serve it with roti or paratha if preferred.
Remember to adjust the recipe according to your taste preferences and enjoy the delicious flavors of Shol Macher Jhol!

Nutrition Info (Estimation Only)

Nutrition Facts
Shol Macher Jhol (Snakehead Murrel Fish Curry)
Amount per Serving
Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
Monounsaturated Fat
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Shol Macher Jhol is a delicious Bengali fish curry made with shol fish and flavored with traditional spices.

You May Also Like:  Rui Macher Jhol Recipe | Rohu Fish Curry

Its taste is delicate, mild, and infused with the flavors of the spices used.

If you’re looking for alternatives, you can consider dishes like Rohu Macher Jhol, Katla Macher Jhol, Chingri Macher Jhol, Rui Macher Jhol, or Pomfret Macher Jhol, each offering its unique flavors and textures.

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