Pabda is a freshwater fish with bone and quite easily available in the market nearby at our Gurgaon residence. It was quite surprising to see Pabda available in Gurgaon. This particular fish is a regular at the Bengali households and I have grown up eating it. Mehebub had it for the firsttime after our marriage though as in my in-law’s they do not cook Pabda! Though I prefer the simple Shorshe batar jhal however Mehebub prefers Pabda Macher Tel Jhal most.
Though very flavorful however I do not prefer to cook it for non-bong gatherings or whenever there is a guest who is not a typical fish eater. It is a bit tricky to manage the bones if you are not regular. Being said that, if you can manage the bones, Pabda is an amazing fish to have!
Pabda Macher Tel Jhal!
In Tel Jhal we do use both onion paste and mustard paste for the gravy. While cooking you must balance both onion and mustard as both are having a distinct flavor. The Tel Jhal must not taste like Macher Jhal and also not like Korma or kaliya.
Here’s how I cook Pabda Macher Tel Jhal at Debjanir Rannaghar!
- Pabda Mach/ Cat Fish: 5-6 (I've used whole fishes, however, cut into halves if the fishes are of large size)
- Onion Paste: 5 Tbsp.
- Black Mustard Seed for paste: 2 Tsp. (it should be soaked in lukewarm water before making the paste)
- Tomato paste: 3 Tbsp.
- Nigella Seed/ Kalojire / Kalonji: 2 Tsp.
- Salt: to taste
- Turmeric powder: 1 Tsp.
- Red Chili Powder: ½ Tsp.
- Garam Masala Powder: 2 Tsp.
- Green Chili: 5-6(slit)
- Mustard Oil: 4-5 Tbsp.
- Prepare a paste of mustard either in a grinder or with the help of “Silnora/ Shilbatta” by adding 2 Green chilies and 1 Tsp. of salt and keep it aside.
- Cut fishes into halves if they are large in size or use whole fishes if small in size and clean properly.
- Rub fish pieces with 1 Tsp. salt and ½ Tsp. turmeric powder and keep them aside.
- Heat oil in a pan and fry pieces of fish.
- Heat 3 Tbsp. of Mustered oil in a deep pan (preferably Karai) till the oil changes color.
- Add Nigella Seed/ Kalojire /Kalonji to the oil to temper and also add onion paste and fry till onion changes color in medium flame.
- Add tomato paste and cook in medium flame till oil comes from the mixture.
- Pour mustard paste, turmeric powder, slit green chilies, red chili powder and water to the mixture and boil it in medium flame.
- Now add fried Fish pieces slowly to the mixture and cook it in a low flame for at least 10 minutes (Pan should be covered with a lid in this stage) till water soaked.
- Pabda Macher Tel Jhal is ready to serve with steamed rice.
Have you tried the Pabda Macher TelJhal recipe from Debjanir Rannaghar!
Do let me know how it came out. Also, I would love to see a picture of the same which you can share here on firstname.lastname@example.org. Meanwhile, on Instagram, you can use my hashtag #debjanirrannaghar and in addition, you can tag me at @foodofdebjani.
Here’s the Pabda Maacher Tel Jhal Pin for your Pinterest Board!
#Pictures updated in 2019.