Kajli macher Jhol

9:45 PM



I have never believed in cooking separately for the kids and once they crossed the age of 18 months they have been eating the regular food. But there were adjustments. Like no chilies, less spices, less oil, and absolutely no small fish.

Being a Bengali our meals are never complete without a dish or two of fish. But since we always encouraged the kids to eat on their own we had to omit these small river water fishes from our menu. Glad that this phase is almost over. The little girl now is enjoying the small fish curries with equal gusto and is often demanding for her share of mourola mach bhaja (crisp fried Indian anchovies). 
Armed with this new information we now scour the market for fresher smaller rare fish and present it to her. Some she likes, some she outrightly denies to eat after the first morsel. So it was a joy when she said she liked our favourite Kajli or Kajoli mach.

Kajli mach is a small pure silver colour river water fish. The scientific name probably is Ailia coila. Because of its flat shape like a bamboo leaf it is also known as Banspata mach. I prepared a simple Tel jhol without almost any spices. 

Here is the simple recipe.

Kajli macher tel jhol


Ingredients:
Kajali mach: 8-9 pieces (approx. 350 gms)
Nigella seeds: 1/2 tsp
Green chilies: 4-5
Mustard oil/ white oil: 3 tbsp
Turmeric: 1 tsp
Salt as per taste
Tomato: 1 small; chopped 2 tbsp (traditionally it's not added but I like the taste)
Whole wheat flour: 1/2 tsp
Green coriander leaves: 1 stalk

Method: 
Wash the cleaned fish and mix with a pinch of turmeric and little salt. Keep aside for 15 minutes.
Mix the rest of the turmeric with 2 tbsp water. Keep aside.
Chop the tomato and mix some salt to it. keep aside.

Heat the oil and fry the fish pieces in batches (3-5 depending on your pan size). These are very delicate fish so do not overcrowd the pan. Fry till golden on each side (2-3 minutes in total). Take out.

Add nigella seeds and slit green chilies to the same oil. Let it splutter then add the turmeric water and tomatoes. Mix and cover. Keep the flame medium and let the tomatoes soften (3-4 minutes). Mash with your spatula and mix.

Now add a cup of water. Mix and adjust seasoning. Bring it to a rolling boil and add the fish pieces. Add a few more green chilies and cover. Let it cook for 8-10 minutes. 

Mix the flour with 2 tbsp water and mix in the gravy. This will thicken the gravy. Boil for a minute and then switch off. Sprinkle finely chopped coriander leaves on top and cover. Rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Serve warm with steamed rice and curries.

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