Pabda Macher Jhal and keeping your kitchen clean

8:36 PM

Wish all my readers and foodie friends 'Shubho Nabobarsho'. May this year fulfill all your dreams and keep you safe and healthy.

Poila Boisakh or Nabobarsho brings back loads of memories from childhood. The first Nabobarsho after  I started reading bengali I was surprised to see it written as ' 1 la Boisakh'. One in Bengali is 'Ak' which is also known as 'Poila' but instead of Poila I read it 'Akla' which means lonely. For quite few days following that I was in deep thought as why a day when people come to your home to celebrate and wish is so lonely. Too much for a 5 years old's innocent mind I guess. It was much later that I could understand the meaning. 

Then during school in Santiniketan, Nabobarsho got a new meaning to make handmade cards. No new year wish was complete without some cards. so much before the actual day we would go to the craft supply shop called 'Ranjani' in our locality and buy bunches of rectangular white card stocks. We dint have much resources back then so one had to be very imaginative. Twigs, sequins, craft papers, threads, inks were all we could lay our hands on and numerous techniques were invented to create astonishingly beautiful cards. Who knew dipping craft thread in ink and placing them between two cards could create such amazing patterns. 

But not only card making were ever enough. one had to come up with suitable quotes to wish the loved one properly. So hours were spent in the library, searching all books by Tagore to find that perfect quote. And once you got it no matter what it meant we followed the 'one suits all' rule and wrote it to everyone. so once a love quote was written to the oldest most teacher to which he smiled and replied that this quote will make him young again. Innocence again, but a different stage of life.

Now while I enjoy life as a mother my focus is to help my kids create their own memories. So I teach them the tradition and significance of this auspicious day. Buying Ponjika or the Hindu astrological Almanac is a must for my husband and visiting the Temple to seek the almighty's blessings is very important for me. Poila Boisakh is all about following traditions and we love to wear traditional attires, decorate the house with Alpona and Rajonigandha (tuberose) and serve pure Bengali dishes for an elaborate seat down meal. 

But as everyone knows no festivities are enjoyable if you are not well. So to keep my family healthy I believe in keeping my house clean and pest free. Nabobarsho officially announces the onset of summer which means appearance of all sorts of pests.  Especially the kitchen area where the leftover food in the bin or the crumbs on the floor attract cockroaches and ants  which can lead to health hazards like food poisoning and diarhhea. After trying many formula now I rely on Godrej Lal Hit to keep my kitchen and house clean from germs and insects. The deep reach nozzle is perfect to spray at the most difficult corners and around the water pipes to keep the cockroaches at bay. The ants are difficult to rid off and one has to be very persistent in sprayong and cleaning.

Today am sharing a easy recipe of Pabda Macher Jhal or Indian butter fish/catfish in a spicy mustard based gravy. This being one of the most favourite sweet water fish for us Bengalis. No big festive meal is complete without a serving of this. Genrally cooked and served whole and The bigger the size of the fish the more impressive the meal is. Ranging between 12-30 cms this fish does not have any scale and tastes best when cooked simply with less spices.

Pabda Macher Jhal

Pabda Mach: 2 pieces (I used two very big fishes)
Nigella seeds: 1/2 tsp
Green chillies: 4-5 or as much as you can handle
Mustard paste: 2 tbsp (Check HERE as how to make it)
Tomato: 1 small (optional but I used)
Mustard oil: 4 tbsp (Use part white oil part mustard oil but do not leave mustard oil completely as this brings out the taste and flavour of mustard paste best)

You need to prepare the fish first. I always ask my fish monger to clean it for me. Once home I again rub the skin of the fish to get rid of the impurities and clean the inside of the fish. Drain the water and make thre slits on each side of the fish. Rub salt and turmeric and keep aside for at least 30 minutes.

Soak the mustard paste with 3/4 cup water.

Heat oil in a frying pan or a flat bottom pan where you can accomodate the fish without breaking it. Be careful it's very delicate and can break any time.

Once the oil is hot carefully place the fishes in the pan. Do not crowd the pan and place in a single layer. Fry for 4-5 minutes or one side is golden. Carefully flip it and again fry the other side till its golden. Keep flame at medium. Drain and keep aside.

In the same oil add the green chilies halved and the nigella seeds. once they start to splutter add the chopped tomato. Sprinkle some salt and turmeric. and cover. let it get cooked and mushy. Mix in. crank up the heat and pour the mustard water in it. Adjust seasoning by adding more salt or chilies. We like it on the spicier side so when we find the green chilies are not hot enough we add a pinch or two of chili powder. Bring the gravy to a simmer and carefully place the fishes. Cover and let it simmer for 7 minutes on medium flame.

Uncover and drizzle few more drops of mustard oil on it and cook till you get the required consistency in your gravy. 

Serve hot with white steamed rice.

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  1. Subho Naboborsher Priti o Subhecha nio..amar bon bolto 1kla boishakh...akhono bole phele onek samay😊😊😊mach ta dekhe bhison lobh lagche

  2. pleasse post how to make mustard paste. the click here option is not working


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