Tilapia Macher Tel Jhal Recipe

5 from 1 vote
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Tilapia Macher Tel Jhal is a delicious and spicy Bengali fish curry made with tilapia fish, a popular freshwater fish known for its mild flavor and tender flesh.

This traditional Bengali dish is a perfect blend of aromatic spices, tangy tomatoes, pungent mustard oil, and fiery green chilies, creating a burst of flavors that will tantalize your taste buds.

The preparation of Tilapia Macher Tel Jhal involves marinating the fish pieces with turmeric and salt to enhance the taste and eliminate any fishy smell.

So, let’s get started and savor the delightful flavors of this authentic Bengali fish curry!

Tilapia Macher Tel Jhal

Key Takeaways:

  • Tilapia Macher Tel Jhal is a spicy Bengali fish curry made with tilapia fish known for its mild flavor and tender flesh.
  • It combines aromatic spices, tangy tomatoes, pungent mustard oil, and fiery green chilies for a burst of flavors.
  • Marinating the fish with turmeric and salt enhances taste and removes fishy smell.
  • Mustard oil not only adds flavor but also acts as a preservative, keeping the fish fresh.
  • Serve with steamed rice and enjoy the delightful and authentic Bengali fish curry experience.

The Ingredients

Tilapia Macher Tel Jhal Ingredients

  • Tilapia fish: 400 gm (cut & cleaned)
  • Ginger: ½ tbsp (grated)
  • Garlic: 5 cloves (grated)
  • Cumin powder: ½ tbsp
  • Turmeric powder: 1 tbsp
  • Red chili powder: 1 tbsp
  • Coriander powder: ½ tbsp
  • Tomato: 1 medium size (chopped)
  • Onion: 1 big size (chopped)
  • Green chilis: 3 pieces (slit)
  • Coriander leaves: 2 tbsp
  • Mustard oil: 5 tbsp
  • Salt to taste

How to Cook Tilapia Macher Tel Jhal (Step by Step Images)?

1. Marinate the Tilapia fish with ½ tbsp of salt and ½ tbsp of turmeric powder. Leave it for 15 minutes.

Marinating Tilapia fish with salt and turmeric powder

2. Add 3 tbsp of mustard oil to the wok and let it heat up. Gently add the fish into the hot oil and fry them.

(Expert tip: Add oil as per your preference. Be very careful while adding the fish into the oil.)

Heating oil and frying fish

3. Flip them over and fry both sides. Take them out on a plate when they are done.

Taking out fried tilapia fish

4. Now add 2 tbsp of mustard oil into the same wok. This is an oily & spicy recipe which requires a little more oil than usual. When the oil is hot, add the chopped onions. Stir the onions until they turn a light brown color.

Adding more oil, chopped onions and stirring

5. Add the grated ginger and garlic when the onions are lightly fried. Stir it nicely until the raw smell goes away.

Adding the grated ginger and garlic and stirring

6. Add the chopped tomatoes. Stir them nicely till the tomatoes become mushy.

Add the chopped tomatoes and stirring

7. Now add the coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder, and red chili powder. Mix everything very well. Add a little bit of water and then cook; otherwise, the spices will get burnt.

Adding coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder, red chili powder, water and stirring

8. When it is stirred nicely, add 1 tbsp of salt. Stir it again until the raw smell from the powdered spices goes away.

Adding salt and stirring

9. When it is stirred nicely, add 1 cup of water into the mixture and mix everything. Now cover it with a lid and let it come to a boil.

Adding 1 cup of water into the mixture and mix everything

10. When the gravy starts boiling, add the fried fish. Now cover it with a lid.

Adding the fried fish and covering it with a lid

11. Remove the lid. Add green chilis now. Let it cook for a few minutes.

(Expert tip: Add the chilis after the gravy boils, otherwise, they will boil completely.)

Removing the lid and adding green chilis

12. It’s done after a few minutes. Turn off the gas and sprinkle the coriander leaves on top.

Sprinkling the coriander leaves on top

13. Tilapia Macher Tel Jhal is ready. Transfer it to a serving bowl.

Tilapia Macher Tel Jhal is ready

Pro Tips for Making Best Tilapia Macher Tel Jhal

To ensure you make the best Tilapia Macher Tel Jhal, here are some pro tips to follow:

Choose Fresh Tilapia: Select fresh and high-quality tilapia fish for the best taste and texture. Look for firm and translucent fish with a clean ocean-like smell.

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Marination: Marinate the fish pieces with a pinch of turmeric and salt for at least 15-20 minutes before cooking. This step helps remove any fishy smell and adds subtle flavors to the fish.

Use Mustard Oil: Authentic Bengali cuisine relies on mustard oil for its characteristic taste. Use mustard oil for cooking this dish to impart a unique and traditional flavor. Remember to heat the oil until it starts smoking to remove its pungency.

Balancing Spice: Adjust the number of green chilies according to your spice preference. Keep in mind that Bengali cuisine is known for its spiciness, so don’t skimp on the chilies if you want an authentic experience.

Slow Cooking: Allow the fish to cook on low to medium heat, allowing the flavors to meld together slowly. This slow cooking method helps infuse the fish with the spice blend and ensures it remains tender.

Garnish: Garnish the Tilapia Macher Tel Jhal with fresh coriander leaves, which add a burst of freshness to the dish and complement the flavors.

Resting Period: Let the cooked curry rest for a few minutes before serving. This resting period allows the flavors to meld together even further.

By following these pro tips, you’ll be able to create a delicious and authentic Tilapia Macher Tel Jhal that will impress your family and friends with its rich flavors and delightful taste. Enjoy!

What to Serve with Tilapia Macher Tel Jhal?

Tilapia Macher Tel Jhal is a flavorful and spicy fish curry that pairs wonderfully with a variety of accompaniments from Bengali cuisine. Here are some traditional dishes that you can serve alongside Tilapia Macher Tel Jhal:

Steamed Rice: The most classic and popular option is to serve the fish curry with plain steamed rice. The mildness of rice complements the bold flavors of the fish curry, making it a perfect combination.

Bengali Pulao: Another great option is to serve the Tilapia Macher Tel Jhal with fragrant Bengali pulao. This rice dish is infused with spices, aromatic whole garam masala, and often includes vegetables and nuts for added texture and flavor.

Luchi: Luchi is a deep-fried puffed bread made from refined flour (maida). It’s a delightful accompaniment to the spicy fish curry and adds a crispy and indulgent element to the meal.

Paratha: Soft and flaky Bengali-style parathas, such as plain paratha or lachha paratha, also pair well with the fish curry. These bread varieties are made from whole wheat flour and provide a more substantial option compared to luchi.

Remember, Bengali cuisine celebrates a balance of flavors and textures, so feel free to mix and match these accompaniments according to your preferences.

How Does Tilapia Macher Tel Jhal Taste?

Tilapia Macher Tel Jhal is known for its bold and complex flavors, which are characteristic of Bengali cuisine. The taste of this dish can be described as follows:

Spicy: Tilapia Macher Tel Jhal is a spicy fish curry that packs a punch. The use of green chilies and mustard paste contributes to the spiciness of the dish. However, the level of spiciness can be adjusted according to personal preference.

Tangy: The addition of tomatoes and sometimes tamarind or lime juice lends a tangy flavor to the curry, which balances out the spiciness and adds a hint of sourness.

Aromatic: The use of mustard oil, along with other aromatic spices like cumin, coriander, and turmeric, contributes to the overall fragrance of the dish. The combination of these spices creates a tantalizing aroma that enhances the overall eating experience.

Rich and Savory: The combination of spices, and mustard oil creates a rich and savory base for the fish curry. The flavors come together to create a deeply satisfying and flavorful dish.

Fish Flavor: Tilapia itself has a mild and delicate flavor, and in this curry, the fish absorbs the spices and seasonings, adding a subtle fishy taste to the dish. However, the strong flavors of the curry often dominate the fish’s natural taste.

Overall, Tilapia Macher Tel Jhal is a harmonious blend of spicy, tangy, and mustard oil flavors, creating a delicious and hearty fish curry that pairs exceptionally well with steamed rice or various bread options.

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The distinct taste of this traditional Bengali dish makes it a favorite among seafood lovers who enjoy bold and vibrant flavors.

Tilapia Macher Tel Jhal Alternatives

Pabda Macher Tel Jhal: Pabda Macher Tel Jhal is a spicy Bengali fish curry made with Pabda fish.

The fish is marinated with turmeric and salt, and then cooked in a mustard and green chili gravy, tempered with nigella seeds (kalonji), and finished with a drizzle of mustard oil.

Pabda fish has a delicate taste that complements the pungent mustard sauce, creating a delightful and fiery Tel Jhal dish.

Chitol Macher Tel Jhal: Chitol Macher Tel Jhal is prepared with Chitol fish, also known as clown knifefish.

Chitol fish is marinated and cooked in a mustard-based gravy with green chilies, creating a spicy and flavorful fish curry. The unique texture of Chitol fish adds to the overall appeal of this Tel Jhal variation.

Rui Macher Tel Jhal: As mentioned earlier, Rui Macher Tel Jhal features Rohu fish.

The fish is marinated with turmeric and salt before being cooked in a spicy mustard and green chili sauce, seasoned with nigella seeds, and enriched with the distinct flavor of mustard oil.

Chingri Macher Tel Jhal: Chingri Macher Tel Jhal is a Tel Jhal variant prepared with large prawns (shrimp).

The prawns are marinated with turmeric and salt and then cooked in a spicy mustard and green chili gravy, resulting in a delicious and fiery prawn curry that pairs well with steamed rice.

Bhetki Macher Tel Jhal: Bhetki Macher Tel Jhal features Bhetki fish, also known as barramundi.

The fish is marinated, cooked in a mustard-based sauce with green chilies, and finished with mustard oil. The combination of Bhetki fish and the Tel Jhal spices creates a delightful and aromatic Bengali fish curry.

Each of these alternative Tel Jhal dishes offers a unique and flavorful experience, showcasing the versatility of Bengali fish curries. Enjoy them with steamed rice or your choice of bread for a satisfying and authentic Bengali meal!

Recipe Card:

Tilapia Macher Tel Jhal Featured Image

Tilapia Macher Tel Jhal

By Mita Mondal
Tilapia Macher Tel Jhal is a traditional Bengali fish curry made with tilapia fish. It is a popular and spicy dish in Bengali cuisine, known for its bold and complex flavors.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
15 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 3
Calories 387 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 400 grams Tilapia fish (cut & cleaned)
  • ½ tbsp Ginger (grated)
  • 5 cloves Garlic (grated)
  • ½ tbsp Cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp Red chili powder
  • ½ tbsp Coriander powder
  • 1 piece Tomato (chopped)
  • 1 piece Onion (chopped)
  • 3 pieces Green chili (slit)
  • 2 tbsp Coriander leaves
  • 5 tbsp Mustard oil
  • Salt to taste

Instructions
 

  • In a bowl, rub the Tilapia fish pieces with 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder and 1 teaspoon salt. Allow them to marinate for 15 minutes.
  • In a deep skillet or wok, heat 3 tablespoons of mustard oil until it starts smoking slightly.
  • Gently add the marinated Tilapia pieces to the hot oil and fry them until both sides are golden and crispy. Remove the fried fish from the wok and set aside.
  • In the same wok, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of mustard oil and let it heat up.
  • Add the finely chopped onions and sauté them until they turn light brown.
  • Stir in the grated ginger and minced garlic and cook until the raw smell disappears.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes to the wok and cook until they become mushy.
  • Mix in the coriander powder, cumin powder, red chili powder, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder. Stir everything well to combine.
  • Add a little bit of water to prevent the spices from burning and cook until the mixture releases its flavors.
  • Pour in 1 cup of water and mix everything together to create a flavorful gravy.
  • Cover the wok with a lid and bring the gravy to a boil.
  • Once the gravy starts boiling, carefully place the fried Tilapia pieces into the wok.
  • Add the slit green chilies for an extra kick of spiciness.
  • Cover the wok again with the lid and let the fish cook in the gravy for a few minutes until it absorbs all the flavors.
  • Remove the lid, and the Tilapia Macher Tel Jhal is ready.
  • Sprinkle fresh coriander leaves on top for added freshness and aroma.
  • Transfer the Tilapia Macher Tel Jhal to a serving bowl and enjoy it hot with steamed rice or your preferred accompaniments.

Video

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Notes

Fish Selection: Choose fresh and high-quality Tilapia fish for the best taste and texture. Look for firm and translucent fish with a clean ocean-like smell. Frozen Tilapia can also be used, but make sure to thaw it properly before marinating.
Marination: Marinate the fish pieces with a pinch of turmeric and salt for at least 15-20 minutes before cooking. This step helps remove any fishy smell and adds subtle flavors to the fish.
Mustard Oil: Authentic Bengali cuisine relies on mustard oil for its characteristic taste. Use mustard oil for cooking this dish to impart a unique and traditional flavor. Remember to heat the oil until it starts smoking to remove its pungency.
Spice Levels: The recipe uses red chili powder and green chilies for spiciness. You can adjust the spice levels according to your taste preferences. If you prefer a milder version, reduce the amount of red chili powder and green chilies.
Onions and Garlic: The addition of onions and garlic enhances the complexity of flavors in the curry. Ensure that the onions are finely chopped and sautéed until they turn light brown for a sweeter taste.
Tomatoes: Tomatoes add a tangy element to the curry, balancing out the spiciness. Use ripe and juicy tomatoes for better taste and texture.
Cooking Time: Allow the fish to cook on low to medium heat, allowing the flavors to meld together slowly. 
Water Quantity: Adjust the quantity of water depending on the desired consistency of the gravy. The gravy can be made thick or slightly thin, depending on personal preference.
Garnish: Garnish the Tilapia Macher Tel Jhal with fresh coriander leaves before serving. The coriander leaves add a burst of freshness and complement the flavors.
Resting Period: Let the cooked curry rest for a few minutes before serving. This resting period allows the flavors to meld together even further, enhancing the overall taste of the dish.
Serving Suggestions: Serve Tilapia Macher Tel Jhal with steamed rice for an authentic Bengali meal. 
By following these recipe notes, you can create a delicious and authentic Tilapia Macher Tel Jhal that will impress your family and friends with its rich flavors and delightful taste. 

Nutrition Info (Estimation Only)

Nutrition Facts
Tilapia Macher Tel Jhal
Amount per Serving
Calories
 
387
Calories from Fat 243
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
27
g
42
%
Saturated Fat
 
4
g
25
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
6
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
15
g
Cholesterol
 
67
mg
22
%
Sodium
 
1287
mg
56
%
Potassium
 
719
mg
21
%
Carbohydrates
 
11
g
4
%
Fiber
 
3
g
13
%
 
3
g
3
%
Protein
 
29
g
58
%
Vitamin A
 
1164
IU
23
%
Vitamin C
 
11
mg
13
%
Calcium
 
64
mg
6
%
Iron
 
3
mg
17
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Conclusion

Tilapia macher tel jhal is a lovely Bengali spicy fish curry dish made with easily available Tilapia fish and common kitchen spices.

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This is a highly delectable fish recipe that, when paired with steamed rice and other usual veg recipes, makes a complete non-veg fish meal.

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