Craving For something Spicy? Try Delicious Katla Macher Jhal – The Star of Bengali Cuisine

Katla Macher Jhal is a highly revered and popular dish in Bengali cuisine. It is a spicy fish curry made with the freshest ingredients, bursting with aromatic spices, and boasting a delightful blend of textures and flavours. Katla Macher Jhal has rightfully earned its name as the star of Bengali cuisine.

The Origin and History of Katla Macher Jhal

With a history dating back centuries, Katla Macher Jhal has deep roots in Bengali culture. The dish can be traced back to ancient times when it was enjoyed by fishermen who relied on abundant freshwater fish, particularly katla mach (carp). Over time, the recipe evolved, incorporating new spices and cooking techniques, to create the Katla Macher Jhal we know and love today.

Katla Macher Jhal Ingredients:

Katla Fish: The katla fish, which forms the centrepiece of the meal, is cleaned, salted and marinated in turmeric.

Spices: A combination of spices, including turmeric powder, red chilli powder, cumin powder, and coriander powder, give Katla Macher Jhal its fiery flavour. These ingredients provide curry flavour and warmth.

Aromatics: Freshly chopped onions, green chillies, ginger paste, create the aromatic base for the curry, adding layers of flavour.

Tomatoes: To temper the heat of the spices, tomato puree or diced tomatoes add a tangy and somewhat sweet component.

Mustard Oil: Bengali cuisine traditionally uses mustard oil because of its distinctive flavour. Although it improves the flavour of Katla Macher Jhal overall, you can use different cooking oils if you’d prefer.

Salt: an essential element that enhances the flavours of the food.

Water: Water is added to create the desired consistency of the gravy.

Fresh Coriander Leaves: A handful of fresh coriander leaves adds a burst of freshness and visual appeal as a garnish.

How to make Katla Macher Jhal:

Marination: Salt and turmeric are used to marinade the katla fish pieces, giving them a lovely golden tint.

Frying: The fish is gently cooked until the exterior is crispy and golden. This process gives the fish a delicious texture in addition to sealing in the fluids.

Sautéing: Green chiles, bay leaf, and onions are sautéed until they become translucent. The base is then given an aromatic boost by the addition of ginger and garlic paste.

FAQ On Katla Macher Jhal:

To address common questions and concerns, here are some frequently asked questions about Katla Macher Jhal:

  • What makes Katla Macher Jhal spicy?

    • The liberal use of green chillies and a medley of aromatic spices add the perfect level of spiciness to the dish.

  • Can I use a different type of fish instead of katla mach?

    • While katla mach is traditional, you can experiment with other freshwater fish varieties to suit your taste.

  • How do I adjust the spiciness of the dish?

    • You can control the level of spiciness by reducing or increasing the number of green chillies used in the recipe.

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Craving For something Spicy? Try Delicious Katla Macher Jhal – The Star of Bengali Cuisine

Course: Main CourseCuisine: Bengali cuisine, Indian Cuisine


Prep time


Cooking time






  • 3 pieces katla Fish

  • 1 bay Leaves

  • 1 medium-sized tomato (puree)

  • 2 medium-sized onion

  • 1 cup curd

  • 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste

  • 2 green chilies( cut lengthwise)

  • 1½ tablespoon cumin, coriander powder.turmeric Powder,Red dry chilli

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

  • Fresh coriander leaves for garnish

  • Mustard oil for cooking

  • water as needed


  • Take cleaned and washed katla fish. Rub them with some salt and turmeric powder and set them aside for about 15-20 minutes.

  • Heat mustard oil in a deep frying pan or kadai until it starts to smoke. Then, reduce the heat to medium.

  • Carefully add the fish pieces to the hot oil and fry them until they become golden brown on both sides. Remove the fried fish from the oil and set them aside.

  • In the same oil, add the bay leaf and ginger-garlic paste. Cook until raw smell disappears.

  • Add the onion paste and green chilies. Sauté them until the onions turn translucent.

  • Add the tomato puree. Sauté for 2-3 minutes.

  • Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, cumin powder, and coriander powder. Stir well and sprinkle some water if masala become dry. Cook for another couple of minutes on medium heat. 

  • Add green chilies. Saute until masala starts releasing oil.

  • Add water to the pan to make a gravy. The amount of water will depend on your desired consistency. 

  • In  the same time carefully add the fried fish pieces to it. Let the fish simmer in the gravy for about 5-7 minutes.

  • Before removing from the heat add lemon juice and sugar.

  • Once the fish is cooked and the gravy has thickened to your liking, turn off the heat.

  • Garnish the katla macher jhal with fresh coriander leaves.

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