The last couple of weeks have been like a whirlwind tour. With so much of packing to come back to India and so much of shopping for the last minute gift gathering for family and friends we could not see where days went by. Though we stayed away for very little time but The friends that we made there are keepers for life. Its going to be a bond for lifetime. With my urge to spent few more normal days without dismantling the home made the packing a last minute job with lot of pressure. but friends there made life so easy and joyous. with complete haywire routines we shopped, cooked, ate, drank, chat and partied together till the wee hours of mornings. The fact that it was a long holiday week helped to refresh our memories and bonding.
Coming back was a different story altogether. it was almost like from fridge to fire. when we left Tokyo the temp was around 14 degrees C and the next day we reached Kolkata to a whopping 38 C. The lil one is having slight difficult time with the heat and humidity but we are happy and fine. Its always feels so good to be home, to be around your parents and siblings.
Right now we are setting up the new house with truckloads of packing boxes filled with our stuffs. Though its hectic but the fact that this is our first house gives us a different kind of satisfaction. The days are gone by in planning, arranging and shopping for new furniture and other required things. All in all life right now is hectic yet happy.
This alu patol die macher jhol is my summer favourite. Light yet refreshing with a fresh squirt of lime. The succulent patol or pointed gourd soaks up all the flavours and becomes juicy. Its a joy to bite into them with their seeds providing a little crunch. I am sure every Bengali food blog is having one or the other version of this dish. I myself cook it in two ways, one with the raw spice paste and one with little onion-ginger paste which I am going to share today.
While cooking this dish try to use as much fresh ingredients as possible. The sweet water Rohu or Carp (Katle) works best with this dish. Many other fish will work well too but try to use non smelly and non oily fishes for best result. Here I have used the small potatoes from my mother's garden and kept the skin. For store bought potatoes in India please peel the skin.
Alu patol die macher patla jhol
Fish: 4 pieces (I use either carp or Rohu)
Potato: 3-4 small or one medium
Pointed gourd: 4-5 pieces
Onion Paste: 1 tbsp
ginger paste: 1/2 tsp
cumin powder: 1/2 tsp
coriander powder: 1/2 tsp
Tomato: 1 medium
Green chillies: 2-3 (depending on your heat tolerance)
Panch foron (Bengali 5 spice): 1/2 tsp
fresh coriander leaves: optional
Oil: 5-6 tbsp
Mix little turmeric and salt to the cleaned fish pieces and keep aside for at least 15 minutes.
In the mean time cut off the pointed sides of the gourds and run a knife lightly on the surface to slightly peel off the top skin. cut diagonally in two. Wash the potatoes under running water and cut them in half (if using baby potatoes) or peel and cut in 6 or 8 pieces if you are using medium sized potatoes.
mix the ginger paste-cumin-coriander powder with 1/4 cup water and keep aside.
Heat the oil and and fry the fish pieces till they are golden on both sides (approx. 4-5 minutes each sides). Take out and keep aside.
In the same oil lightly fry the potatoes and gourds with a pinch of salt and turmeric. Fry till the potatoes are half cooked. take out and keep aside.
In the same oil crackle the panchforon and slit green chilies. Once the roasted aroma rises add the onion paste and a pinch of salt. Cook on low flame for 4-5 minutes or till the raw smell is gone. Add in the spice mixture and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Finally add chopped tomato, salt and turmeric and cook till the tomato is cooked and oil start to separate at the sides. Pour 21/2 cups of warm water. adjust the seasoning and cover. Please adjust the amount of water as per you requirement of the gravy. We like it light and runny.
Once it starts to boil add all the veggies and fish pieces. cover and let it cook for 5-6 minutes on medium flame till the potatoes are cooked through. Sprinkle fresh chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with steamed rice.
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