Pabda Fish Curry Bengali Style

Pabda Maach & Katla fish - shallow frying in hot mustard oil

Pabda Maach & Katla fish – shallow frying in hot mustard oil

So here’s one of my favourite fish curries which I really like. Pabda (known as the Indian Butter Fish) is a freshwater fish that’s endemic to the Indian subcontinent. There are various versions to a simple Bengali style fish curry, I’m sharing one of all time favourite recipes with you which I learnt from my mum.

I have taken one piece of Pabda and one fillet of Katla – the belly portion as it has the least amount of bones. A peti or the belly portion of Katla or Rohu is usually fed to kids as it’s not only tasty but has fewer bones – so the risk of eating a fish with bones is less for a child.

Pabda is a buttery kind fish, very smooth on the outer surface and does not have the usual scales like a regular fish. Once the fish seller cleans it for you, you can use the whole fish to cook in your curry.

The gravy in progress

The gravy in progress

Ingredients:

  • Pabda fish – 2 – 4 nos.
  • Onion seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  • Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
  • Mustard oil – 4-5 tbsps
  • Salt to taste
  • Green chilli – 1 – 2 nos.
  • Milk – 2-3 tbsp
  • Finely chopped coriander leaves – optional
Gently add in the fish in the gravy and give it a good boil

Gently add in the fish in the gravy and give it a good boil

Method

  1. Heat mustard oil in a non-stick wok.
  2. Apply salt and turmeric to the fish pieces and set aside.
  3. Rub some wheat flour/ atta on the pabda so that the fat from the fish does not splatter in the hot oil.
  4. Once the fish becomes slightly golden in colour, remove and set aside.
  5. Now add the onion seeds and the broken green chillies.
  6. Make a paste of the turmeric and chilli powder in a bowl and pour it in the hot oil. Stir well and keep adding a little water so that it does not stick to the bottom and burn.
  7. Add some water to make a gravy like consistency and once it boils gently drop in the fish.
  8. Give it a good boil, add the salt as per taste.
  9. Just before taking it off the flame, add some milk to give the gravy a beautiful golden colour.
  10. Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with steamed rice.
Just taking it off from the flame, add some milk to the gravy

Just taking it off from the flame, add some milk to the gravy

This kind of a light fish curry is ideal during the summers. You can try this fish curry with any other freshwater fish fillet you like and let me know how it turned out. What makes this fish curry unique is that it is made with the simplest ingredients available in your kitchen. So at no point do you have to hunt around for any fancy ingredients. Trust me, you’ll only find the simplest home cooked meals and recipes in my kitchen which I’ve learnt from my mother and I’m happy to share the wealth of knowledge with my readers.

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Soulful Pabda Fish Curry is ready

Soulful Pabda Fish Curry is ready

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