Sunday, November 08, 2015

Patla Maacher Jhol - Fish in a Light Sauce

Patla Maacher Jhol
Yesterday, I caught sight of wild-caught Alaskan rockfish for the first time at our local supermarket. It's a meaty fish that requires minimum cooking, similar to cod and halibut. It has no fishy smell and very little flavour of its own and just soaked up all the flavour from the spices I used in this curry.

Patla in Bengali means thin or watery and jhol is gravy. This method of cooking fish produces a curry in which the fish floats in a watery gravy that has minimum amounts of spices and is suitable for a patient who is recovering from an illness such as the flu.

For people who don't like or are allergic to coconut milk, evaporated milk makes a great substitute. To reduce the amount of spicy heat for Hubby, I leave the green chilies whole and mash it into my food because I love the heat of green chilies. You can slice the green chilies to make the curry more spicy, if you prefer.

1 (16 oz.) pkg. fillets of any white fish, cut into 4-6 pieces.
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1 (14 oz.) can coconut milk
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
8-10 torn curry leaves (if available) or a handful of chopped cilantro
3 whole/slit green chilies or to taste
1 tsp. ginger paste
1/2 tsp. ground cumin-coriander powder
1/2 tsp. Kashmiri mirch/paprika
salt to taste


  1. Toss fish with salt & turmeric, lightly fry in 2 Tbsp. oil & set aside.
  2. Dilute ginger, cumin-coriander & paprika in a little water & set aside. 
  3. Heat oil over medium-high heat & stir-fry curry leaves for a minute. If using cilantro, set aside for garnishing later on.
  4. Stir-fry green chilies until they blister & turn greyish-green.
  5. Add diluted spices along with salt & stir-fry until oil resurfaces.
  6. Pour coconut or evaporated milk into pan & bring to a boil.
  7. Return fish pieces to pan & return to a boil.
  8. Garnish with cilantro if curry leaves are not used and remove from heat.
Serve over steamed long-grain rice.

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