Singhi Fish in Bengali & Indian Cooking: Things to Know

Singhi fish, called Asian stinging catfish in English, is a kind of jiol machh. It has lung-like air sacks and so can take in oxygen directly from air. Shingi fish is very healthy so, prescribed to patients for their quick recovery.

Shingi fishes have no scales on their body. They are very slippery. Therefore, a few extra steps are taken for its preparation.

They are first rubbed with ashes or atta (wheat) as these abrasives help remove slipperiness.

Singhi Fish in Bengali & Indian Cooking

Uses of Singhi Fish in Bengali & Indian Cooking

Singhi fish is not very popular across India’s culinary map. So, you won’t have many varieties of them. However, in Bengal, the scenario is a little bit different.

Bongs’ obsession with fish has contributed to a large repertoire of their traditional dishes with a variety of Pisces.

Even though the number of recipes with Singhi fish is only a few, each of these is sumptuous, to say the least.

The commonest Singhi fish recipe is Singhi macher jhol. It is cooked in a perfect Bong style. In Bengali, jhol is light, soupy gravy.

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Whether or not it could be a little hot depends on one’s personal choice. No fancy masala is used and only the familiar ones do the magic.

And yes, without the flavours of panch phoron, this recipe will lose a significant part of its much celebrated taste.

Singhi macher jhol is usually cooked with shim (broad beans) but you can also add small florets of cauliflower to it.

Potatoes are usually not used in this recipe. However, the kind of vegetable that will go into it should be left to one’s personal liking.

It is another example of Bongs’ signature cooking style that makes a dish delicious through exchange of taste between fish and vegetables. It is usually relished with steamed rice.

Shingi macher curry is thick, spicy and aromatic gravy. Here also, a handful of spices do a great job. Both mustard seeds and mustard paste are used to flavour up and thicken the gravy.

Onion, ginger and garlic are used to add both texture and taste to the dish. It works best with plain, steamed rice.

You can also try it with roti or chapatis. This dish is specially favoured by non-Bengalis.

Another little known but amazingly delicious recipe is Singhi macher paturi. The fish is cut into several pieces and then plastered with a thick paste of mustard seeds and poppy seeds.

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A few green chillies are also used for added spiciness. A few common spices are added to the paste to give both taste and colour.

Mustard oil ensures extra pungency. Each of the fish pieces is placed on different banana leaves which are then folded and tied with a string.

Mustard oil is added to a pan and these banana leaves are then placed gently on it. From time to time, a little amount of mustard oil is added, if required.

After one side is done, they are flipped and the same process is repeated. The recipe is readied on low flame.

The flavours of spice mix get into the fish and it feels soft and delicious. A completely different and divine preparation to make your weekend lunch super special!

What is the Best Way to Cook Singhi Fish?

It depends on the personal choice of who cooks it and for whom it is cooked. I love Singhi macher jhol because of its simplicity.

The mild aroma of panch phoron is another reason to make me fall in love with it.

This soupy gravy is very good for health, especially when someone is down with fever or other diseases and feels weak.

I am also very fond of spicy preparations. So, it is less likely to surprise you, especially those who know me, how much I love Singhi macher patora.

Pungency of mustard oil and mustard paste, softness of poppy paste, hotness of chilli and the method of slow cooking – everything makes it a foodie’s favourite.

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How to ignore such a wonderful dance of flavours?

How Can You Tell It is a Singhi Fish?

Singhi fish belong to the family of ‘Catfish’. They have protruding whiskers around their mouth.

Singhi fishes are a little bit slender and don’t have any scale on their body. Furthermore, they have a short, pink-coloured dorsal fin.

How Do You Know When Singhi Fish is Cooked?

Raw fish is shiny and translucent. But it turns opaque after it is properly cooked.

If Singhi fish is perfectly done, its flesh comes off easily with a fork.

Questions & Answers:

Is Singhi Fish Tasty?

Yes, Shingi fish is very tasty.

How to Make Singhi Fish Taste Good?

Marinate the fish for a few minutes. If you are making curry, fry them well as it will make the dish tastier.

How Long Does Singhi Fish Take to Cook?

It takes only 15-20 minutes to cook Singhi fish.

How Does Singhi Fish Taste?

Shingi fish is sweet flavoured.

What Is Shingi Fish Called in English?

Shingi fish is called Asian stinging catfish or fossil cat in English.

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