Macher Kalia/ A Rich and Spicy Fish Curry

12:25 AM


Ok. So here is another fish curry from one more Bengali blogger. So what if every Bengali in the blogging block have posted similar or different version of this dish, no way that will deter me from posting mine. Jokes apart but this is our second most favorite fish recipe after Ilish Macher Jhal and a must for any gathering or special occasion. This ubiquitous fish dish will greet you on a birthday bash, wedding ceremony, house warming feast, Family gathering or even on Sunday special luncheons. This also is my first fish preparation that I cooked for my friends. Those days I hardly cooked non veg but friends asked for a party after I landed my first job and settled in my rented flat. One weekend evening a bunch of them attacked my place in demand of a party at a popular restaurant. Over a lot of argument I served them my favorite one dish dinner, Mushroom Pasta. They ate in silence and then decided on having a party at my place with food cooked by me. They decided the menu all by themselves which included some fish preparation. I called up Dida for Macher Kalia recipe and cooked this…till date whenever those friends visit me they make it a point that I cook this.

This is a rich and spicy dish which in no means is to be eaten every day. Kalia actually is a cooking process where the fish or meat is cooked in rich gravy with onion-ginger-garlic and garam masala. Most popularly is cooked with big fishes like Paka Rui (Carp/ Rohu) or Katla, which are big sweet water fishes weighing more than 2 kgs, as The fat from the fish adds more richness to the gravy. Like any other Bengali preparation this one also is very aromatic with bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves. My Maa also adds some cashews and raisins to it which I absolutely adore. Love the crunch of the cashew mingles with the creaminess of the hot and spicy gravy or those occasional sweet explode of raisins on the tongue.

Today it was raining heavily here and the baby is having equally running nose following which Hubby had to take a day off. I wanted to cook something fancy to wrap up our dinner with one or two preparations. This fitted the bill perfectly and we had a superb dinner with steamed white rice, macher kalia and alu bhaja
(fried potato).

Here is the recipe:

Macher Kalia

Ingredients:
Fish: 4 pieces
Potato: 1 medium (optional)
Onion paste: 3 tbsp
Ginger paste: 1 tsp
Garlic paste: ½ tsp
Cumin powder: ½ tsp
Coriander powder: ½ tsp
Turmeric powder: 1 tsp 
Chilli powder: 1 tsp (use kashmiri red chili or tikhalal for better colour)
Tomato: 1 medium
Curd: 1 tbsp
Bay leaf: 1
Cinnamon, clove: 2 pcs each
Garam masala powder:  1/3 tsp
Oil: 4 tbsp (more if you are not cooking in non stick kadhai)
Salt
Sugar: 1/3 tsp
Cashews: handful
Raisins: handful

Method:
Wash the fish pieces and smear with salt and turmeric. Keep aside.

Wash, peel and cut the potato in long wedges. Keep aside.

Soak the raisin in water. Mix the cumin-coriander powder with 2 tbsp water and keep aside.

Heat half of the oil and fry the fish pieces till lightly browned on both sides. Drain and reserve.

Now add the rest of the oil and temper with whole cloves, cinnamon and bay leaf. Tip in the potatoes. Fry lightly with salt.

Add the onion paste and fry on low flame. Once the juice of the onion dries add the ginger and garlic paste, turmeric, chilli powder, cashews and salt. Keep frying till oil separates at the sides. This process is called kashano or frying the spices on low flame which is very important for this dish.

Now add the cumin-coriander paste and fry till the raw smell of the spices are gone (approx. 3 mins)

Add in the beaten curd and again fry till everything mixes well. Put the tomato pieces and cook till they are soft and mushy.

Once you see the oils are separating at the sides add 11/2 cups of warm water. Once it comes to boil add the fish pieces, raisins and adjust the seasoning.

Let it cook on medium flame till the gravy thickens and coat the fish pieces nicely.


Sprinkle with garam masala powder and serve hot with white steamed rice.

Vegetarian Version: use chhana or homemade Paneer (how to make chhana HERE) for this. Drain the water and mash with boiled potato, chopped onion, grated ginger, green chillies, salt and bhaja masala. Make small patties, shallow fry till golden brown on both sides. Use these for fish but don't simmer them for long as that might cause breaking of the patties. Will try to post this recipe later.

Same way you can also cook Chicken Kalia.

you can find variation sof this dish at Sandeepa's, Indrani's and Sutapa's amzing blogs.

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55 comments

  1. Woww potatoes in fish curry, its really interesting..Fish curry makes me hungry..

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  2. Ja hok, tomar macher kalia-ta bhat khabar pore dekhlam. Loobh hoch-ae...aaj mach badite ranna hoeni, deem kore chilam. Thik ache, rui anle kalia korbo.
    ...and keep smiling...

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  3. Lovely gravy with fish, would love to have it with rice..

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  4. Amar ekhono lunch kora hoyeni ... taratari amake duto piece diye thala bariye dao dekhi. :-)
    Khub bhalo dekhte hoyeche kalia ta Sayantani. :-)

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  5. Dear Sayantani
    After exhausting the Rui machh for lunch cooking , I saw this recipe ,,,very nice and traditional...i liked the description and the kismis makes all the difference in bengali kalia...I use dark brown fried onion sometimes or fried onion paste too...but Kalia is kalia ha ha

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  6. Strange is the name "kalia" kinto kalo kicho noye sodhu laal toktoke rang rui macher jhaal er..looks so delicious..raisin and cashews in kalia ,ekto noton amaar jonne,khete bhishon bhalo lagbe seyita ami dekhe hi bolte parchi.Any day with garam bhaat ,ah ki anondo..yummm..
    hugs and smiles

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  7. Ektu deri kore dilam-je tomar ei post ta dekhte nahole aajke chicken er jayega(Ami dupure chicken baniyechilam) tomar macher kalia khete partam virtually :-) Kaju kishmish diye ja lage na uff...Khoob bhalo hoyeche dekhte... Ar balo bari set holo eto dine?

    Deepa
    Hamaree Rasoi

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  8. so tempting looking macher jhol...delicious...thanks for sharing this dear!

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  9. Fish curry looks so spicy and tasty, good one.

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  10. wow what a delicious fish curry. i herad about the fbengali fish curry.the cooking style is mostly same but the ingredients are somewaht diffrent..realy mouthwatering recipe.nice pic too

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  11. this is absolutely delicious! very attractive presentation too.

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  12. looks so yummy! Well made and presented...

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  13. Wish i had this fish curry with rice. DROOL

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  14. I know that Bangali's love fish. I am surprised to know even branhmins consume fish there. Very nice coloured dish and I am sure it is very spicy. Loved the presentation and I love to live close to you and befriend you :)

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  15. WOW!! What a spicy and tasty looking fish curry..I would love to have it with rice..

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  16. Hy Sayantani,
    Just I can't leave your page ....very impressive post...rich n spicy curry is sooooooooo inviting.

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  17. Jibhe jol asha byapar. Durdanto hoyeche kalia

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  18. Thats a great looking fish curry..I have heard of Bengal's love for fish and this one purely justifies it..:)
    Thanks for the comment at my space..:)

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  19. Wow superb fish curry dear..looks so spicy, colorful, and inviting :)

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  20. ki shundor rong hoyechey. dekhei kobji dubiye gorom bhaater shathe khete ichey korchey.

    I have not been blog hopping... to much to do, too many people.. hope you are doing ok and hope your kiddo feels okay soon.

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  21. I am pure veg but that looks quite spicy & tasty and nice color of the curry!

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  22. I love anything fishy, macher kalia being one of my favorites. LOved your clicks :)

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  23. fish curry looks spicy and yumm
    first time here..u hv a wonderful space.new to blog world..appreciate ur comments/suggestion on my blog...
    following u>>>>
    http://creativesanyukta.blogspot.com/

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  24. I Love Fish ..so this curry is a winner..looks so spicy and yummy!!

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  25. Hi. Can I make this curry with any particular vegetable?

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  26. Sayantani that spoon has a fish engraved on it. Do you use it only when you make fish? Is it like marking vessels for separate cooking of veg and non veg? Am curious.

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  27. Thanks everyone for your encouragement. glad that you liked this.

    @Sharmila, asha kori sharir akhon better tomar. pathate parle ekhuni ditam kintu seto habar nay, esho amar bari sab pachonder dish banie khaoyabo.

    @Pari, you can make chhana'r (homemade paneer) kalia following this recipe. am updating the post with that variation.

    @Anjali, no dear nothing like that all my serving spoons are like this. glad that you mentioned.

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  28. Fish curry looks so yummy perfect with a bowl of rice !!

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  29. Spicy spicy curry..I love my fish curry to be really spicy, just like this one :-)Interesting to note that you add potatoes in it. I add potatoes in my chicken curry sometimes :-)

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  30. Machher kalia dekhe to jibhe jol eshe gelo. Khub sundor bhabe baniyechho r khub sundor bhabe present korechho. Ei weekend ei tomar recipe ta try korbo.

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  31. This dish looks wonderful. I have never seen it before. With the combination of flavors and spices you have used, it must be delicious.

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  32. Sayantani, i so much love all the fish recipes that you post,. The story behind them, the Bengali cuisine touch and the click all make just so very tempting!

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  33. That looks flavorful and delicious!

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  34. ur fish curry will surely hit best for fish lovers. will be a delight!

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  35. Never tried adding potatoes in fish curry...Mouthwatering spicy curry

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  36. You really really made me hungry wiht those pictures there, oh it looks terrific, awesome...love fish in any form...this is perfect finish. Is there a way to pull just one slice from the monitor, heheh:)

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  37. Sayantani,
    ki holo ,shorir ki kore kharap korle, garam er jonne..taratari theek hoye jao.
    hugs and smiles

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  38. Oh that's looks spicy..glad you've given veg. option as well...

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  39. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    Lucy

    http://businesseshome.net

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  40. M sure my hubby wud love it... he loves nething nd everything in sea food....:)
    Luks gr8 nd thnx for visitin my blog!!
    will visit here henceforth

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  41. Looks spicy and yummy..fish curry looks wonderful.

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  42. Thanks for the veg version dear.

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  43. DEAR THANKS FOR UR KIND WORDS...DONT FORGET TO COLLECT UR AWARD FROM MY BLOG...THANKS

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  44. Lovely color and looks so delicious, would love to try your version next time....

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  45. Sounds mouth watering Sayantini. What fish did you use for this?

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  46. That is one delicious looking fish curry! Will only river fish work for this recipe?

    Miri - Peppermill

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  47. thanks everyone for visiting me.

    @Madhu, I used Rohu.

    @Rshan, Not necessarily, you can use any fish. actually the smell of salt water fishes are quite strong which will dominate the light aroma of this spice system. try to fry the fish till brown and then use in gravy.

    @Soma, Jaya, thanks both of us are better now.

    @Marion. welcome dear,love to have your comment. hope to see you around.

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  48. Dear Sayantani,

    1. Can we have the fish weight please? I buy Rohu in South Africa and they make two kind of pieces for me...

    2. When do we add the cashew and kishmish? Do we fry the cashew before adding?

    Aseem

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  49. Hi Aseem, thanks for visiting me. I really dont have accurate weights of the fish steaks used here but it would be something around 350-400 gms. as for the cashews and raisins I already have mentioned when to add them to the dish. if you prefer you can fry the nuts beforehand but I prefer to add them while frying the spice paste.

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  50. Dear Sayantani,

    I see a bay leaf (tej patta) in the picture...

    Is that supposed to be added? If yes, when and how many please?

    Regards,

    Aseem

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  51. @Aseem, thanks for your comment. yes Bay leaf is there in the recipe and the number is also mentioned. It is used to temper the oil before cooking the gravy. please check.

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  52. Dear Sayantani,

    I must have got something very wrong... but unlike rest of your posts, this one turned out to be a disaster...

    The potatoes kept on absorbing all the oil... and kept on coming in the way of the masala being fried...

    Finally, I got an anemic looking excuse for the red colour... unlike the rich deep red you have :-(

    Where could have I gone wrong?

    Regards,

    Aseem

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  53. @Aseem, really sorry that the recipe dint work for you. am not sure why the potatoes absorbed so much oil? here in India we only get 2 varieties of potatos and the chandramukhi variety that we use hardly takes any time to cook. so the amount of oil I specified is generally enough for that.

    as for the colour of the gravy it depends on the quality of the chili powder. try to use Everest Tikhalal for mild heat yet very rich colour or any Rajasthani variety of chili powder. I vouch for the tikhalal which provides beautiful colour to the gravy.

    another thing that I must mention is what variety of onion you are using. In India we only use red/purple onions which tastes good even when we ake a paste and cook with it. but the same is not true for big white onions which is mostly used in Abroad. if you are using the white onions, plz do not make a paste of it or you will get a little bitter taste with watery gravy(it generally does not thicken the gravy like red onion paste). better to chop it very finely and fry it before adding any other masala.

    to cook with the paste lightly fry thickly chopped white onion and then make a paste to proceed with the recipe.

    LAst but not the least I generally cook in non stick utensils and that needs lesser oil.

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