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Pabda Macher Jhol - Catfish curry

Pabda is called catfish or Indian Butter Fish in English. It is very popular Bengali small fish and there are several authentic Bengali preparation for this. This fish is with thin bones and a bit tricky to fry the fish without creating a mess. However it has some health benefits – it is one of the low calorie fish with helpful fatty acid and Vitamin B-12. Here is thick gravy curry with this fish that Bengalis love.

Preparation Time: - 15 min

Cooking Time: - 25 min

Servings: - 3 persons


  1. 6 pieces (approx. 350 gm.) Pabda or Indian Butter Fish
  2. 1 medium Onion cut for making paste
  3. 1 medium Tomato
  4. 1 ½ inch Ginger for making paste
  5. 2 tsp cumin powder
  6. 2 Green Chili
  7. 1 tsp Kashmiri Red Chilli powder ( you can have more according to your taste)
  8. 2 Bay leaves
  9. 2 tsp Turmeric powder
  10. 1 tsp Kalonji / Nigella seeds
  11. Salt (as per taste)
  12. 3 tbsp Mustard oil
  13. Few chopped coriander leaves (optional)


  1. Wash the fish thoroughly and rub with turmeric powder and salt. Keep aside for 15 minutes.
  2. Chop the tomato.
  3. Chop the onions and grind in a blender to a smooth paste. Keep aside.
  4. Do the same thing with Ginger to have a ginger paste.
  5. Heat 3 tbsp mustard oil in a non-stick frying pan / kadai in high heat.
  6. When oil Starts Smoking Turn the burner to medium setting and shallow fry the pieces of fish. Keep aside.
  7. Take another kadai and heat rest of the oil in high heat.
  8. When Oil Starts Smoking turn the burner to medium setting - add kalonji / nigella seeds, 1 green chili and bay leaves.
  9. When they splutter then add onion paste.
  10. Sauté for few seconds and add the ginger paste.
  11. Stir for few seconds and add chopped tomato
  12. Stir continuously and tomato pieces will release a lot of water.
  13. When the water dries up add cumin powder, turmeric powder and Kashmiri red chili powder. Also add salt and another green chili here.
  14. Stir and mix – after sometime the mixture will emanate nice smell.
  15. Pour one cup of water now
  16. After few seconds add the already fried fish.
  17. Cook till the gravy is according to your taste. I prefer it with thick gravy.
  18. Sprinkle few chopped coriander leaves. This is for garnishing and I do not prefer it personally but this is an option.

Serve this side dish hot with a plate of plain rice.

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

This post first appeared on Baisali's Homely Kitchen, please read the originial post: here

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Pabda Macher Jhol - Catfish curry


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