Rui maacher Jhol – Bengali Fish stew of the Common Carp

We, Bengalis, are very specific of the ‘jhol’, ‘jhal’ and ‘kalia’ of fish among hundreds of other ways of cooking fish. Each fish calls for a particular recipe. Even the type of fish (freshwater, estuarine and marine), and the size of fish demands culinary skills. 

‘Jhol’ is usually a watery, peppery stew flavored with ginger paste and green chillies with season’s vegetable and Bori (optional), sundried lentil dumplings.

‘Jhal’ will be of sause consistency, spicy or mildly spicy.

‘Kalia’ is the gravy – enriched with onion, garlic, ginger, tomato and yogurt. Usually moderately spicy.

Being a domicile,  my repertoire and experience of fish is rather limited and so are my culinary skills. 

Unlike the coastal regions, fish available in Delhi markets are all imported from other states of India. Hence, they are always ice-packed. 

That’s why i love to visit the fish markets of Kolkata, whenever I am around. Those places are pleasure to the eyes and soul. 😍❤️

I remember mom used to buy fish and bring it home, clean and cut it herself. Times have changed, it is a matter of choice and convenience now. The fishmongers clean and cut the fish as per our specifications. (Am more than glad for this service !)

Here’s what i did………………


6-7 nos – rohu fish steaks 

2 nos – medium sized potato

3-4 nos – pointed gourd/ potol/ parwal

5-6 nos – bori (optional)

1 cup – cauliflower florets

1/2 cup – finely chopped tomato (optional)

3-4 nos – green chillies, slit lengthwise

1 tsp – chopped fresh coriander/ cilantro

1 tsp +1 tsp – tumeric powder

1 1/2 tsp – ginger paste

2 1/2 cup – water

1/4 tsp – nigella seeds/ kalonji/ kalo jeera

2 -3 tbsp – mustard oil

Salt to taste


Rinse the fish. Drain the water. 

Rub the fish steaks with 1 tsp of tumeric powder and salt. Keep aside for 10 mins.

Peel the potatoes and pointed gourds and cut them lengthwise. Rinse and drain.

Heat oil in a pan and fry the Boris. Keep aside. In the same oil, fry the fish one by one, to golden brown. Drain on a kitchen paper. ( one may fry the fish less or just saute, as per choice).

One may use some from the remaining oil to cook the ‘jhol’ or use fresh oil. I used fresh oil. 

Heat 2 tsp of mustard oil in a separate pan and temper with nigella seeds. 

Add the chopped potato, pointed gourds and cauliflower florets. Saute for a couple of mins and add the tumeric powder and chopped tomato. 

Once the tomato is soft, tip in the water and green chillies. Season with salt. 

As the stew comes to boil, lower the flame. Cover and cook till the vegetables are tender yet crunchy. 

Add the boris and fried fish steaks and bring it boil once again. 

Add the ginger paste and cook for another min. 

Garnish with chopped coriander and take it off fire. 

Serve hot with plain boiled rice. 
Happy cooking !! 😊

Cheers !! 😃


About andy

hi there.....friends call me Andy :) I am a school teacher by profession. Passionate about reading, some random experimental cooking, some hit 'n' miss photography......and i am a dreamer ;) Thank you for popping by :)
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2 Responses to Rui maacher Jhol – Bengali Fish stew of the Common Carp

  1. Sophie says:

    Ooh waw, Andy! this dish looks utterly delicious! Yum! beautiful captivating photos too! x

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