Sunday, April 2, 2017

Aar Maacher Jhol - Giant river-catfish curry with eggplant


Aar maach or river-catfish is a favourite among Bengalees but due to non-availability it is not very popular outside Bengal. The taste is somewhat like bhetki but the preparation is more like Rohu. The advantage of it is that it contains very less fish bones and that makes acceptable to kids. My grandmother used to prepare this side dish very well and my recipe here is somewhat reflected on the same. Hope you enjoy it.

Preparation Time: - 15 min


Cooking Time: - 25~30 min

Servings: - 2~3 persons


  1. 250 gm Aar Mach/ River Catfish
  2. 1 medium sized onion chopped
  3. 3 tsp Ginger Garlic paste
  4. 1 medium sized Tomato chopped
  5. 1 medium size Eggplant cut into cubes
  6. ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
  7. 2 Green Chili silted horizontally (you can use whole red chilli also according to your preference)
  8. 1 tsp Kashmiri Red Chili powder (optional)
  9. 1 tsp Jeera / Cumin powder
  10. 7 tbsp mustard oil ( This is authentic Bengali cuisine and so I prefer mustard oil – if you find the smell appalling then you can use Sunflower or Canola oil but taste may be less pungent. )
  11. Salt to taste.
  12. Few chopped coriander leaves for garnishing.


  1. Wash the fish thoroughly and rub with turmeric powder and salt. Keep aside for 15 minutes.
  2. Chop onion, tomato, coriander leaves and eggplant. Please remember to cut eggplant into cube-shaped pieces.
  3. Rub salt to the eggplant cubes and keep aside. This makes the eggplant absorb less oil
  4. Heat 3 tbsp mustard oil in kadai or non-stick pan in high heat.
  5. When oil starts smoking turn the burner to medium setting and shallow fry the pieces of fish till they turn light golden. Keep aside.
  6. Wash the kadai or use another one as this fish has some smell.
  7. Add 4 tbsp oil and heat again.
  8. Now add the onion and one green chilli. If you want it spicier you can add whole red chili also.
  9. Stir and fry the onions till they turn golden brown.
  10. Add ginger garlic paste and sauté for a minute.
  11. Add tomato, stir and cook till the tomatoes are all nicely mushed up and there is no raw smell. Stir continuously.
  12. Add the brinjal pieces and mix well.
  13. Now add little bit of turmeric powder, jeera powder and salt. Optionally add Kashmiri red chili powder now.
  14. Sauté for couple of minutes and add a cup of water.
  15. When the mixture starts boiling add the fried fish pieces.
  16. Stir a little to mix uniformly. The fish pieces should remain intact.
  17. Cover and simmer for about 10 mins.
  18. Adjust the gravy amount according to your preference. I prefer it thick and that is why I boil for little more.
  19. Turn the burner off and garnish with coriander leaves and green chili.

Serve this side dish with hot steamed rice and a piece of lemon.

As always please feel free to comment, criticize and seek if any help is required. I am all ears.