How can Biye Barir Macher Kalia be humble! It cannot be; period. Though I refer “humble” every single dish I cook but not this one! This is not the simple whitish light Kalia but the rich and evaluated form of the same dish. Definitely, the richness speaks for itself and so does the name, Macher Kalia.
Here I must mention, we do cook a completely different version of Qalia (humble one, for that matter) known as Sada macher Qalia. I learned that recipe from my mother in law. According to her Sada Macher Qalia is a comfort dish prepared with choice of veggies and fish and is not the typical Red colored Macher Kalia. Sada Macher Qalia recipe is featured on Curries of India (a Living Foodz show) a few days back. It was almost similar to our Macher Jhol.
This probably is the beauty of the way we live and eat in India. A dish cooked differently in North-India and in the eastern part of the country. Even within Eastern India the “Hindu” type is the red curry while the Muslim version is having both the versions, light (sada macher kalia) and the rich one. I will for sure share the Sada Macher Kalia recipe here.
Kalia! what does it mean?
Though I don’t know the meaning of Kalia, however, I know the difference between Kalia, jhol and jhal. According to the writer of the famous Bengali cookbook Amish o Niramish Ahar; Prajna Sundari Devi; Kalia calls for big chunks of veggies and is a curry. This can be both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Also, she mentioned the importance of “Koshano” which is also known as “Bhunoing” (read frying). Basically, typical Bengali Kalia calls for shallow-frying the spices for long before making the curry.
Macher Kalia or Qalia!
However, Bengali Kalia and North-Indian delicacy Qalia are not same. Basically, it is a rich gravy based dish. Bengali Kalia if cooked with Fish, also known as Macher Kalia is always paired with Potato or at times other vegetables. In fact, we do add potato while cooking mangsher kalia. Mangsher Kalia is nothing but meat Kalia however completely different from Meat Qalia i.e. available outside West Bengal and especially in North India.
Biye Barir Macher Kalia!
Needless to say, I am talking about a rich festive dish quite popular and is also cooked as part of the Bengali marriage spread. Growing up in North Calcutta I have had this curry several times during the marriages or other programmes. In my family, the lunch spread on the day of a particular occasion was mostly cooked by a Rannar Thakur. I am specifically talking about the lunch spread. He cooked for us for more than 40 years.
The Macher Kalia I am referring here is a rich gravy-based dish cooked with big fish chunks along with the potato chunks. Superbly aromatic and the silkiness of the gravy that “Pahari Kaka” used to cook was nothing but bliss. I have seen him cooking the Katla Macher Kalia several times. I actually noted down every single detail and till date I follow his recipe. The recipe never disappointed me. Kaka had a fascination for Katla mach and so do I. I prefer Katla fish over Rohu. However, this dish can be prepared with other big fishes as well.
Here’s how I cook Macher Kalia (the Biye Bari version) at Debjanir Rannaghar!
- Serves: 6 People
- Serving size: 100g
- Calories: 391
- Fat: 19.1g
- Saturated fat: 4.4g
- Carbohydrates: 44.5g
- Sugar: 8.8g
- Sodium: 680mg
- Fiber: 4.9g
- Protein: 12g
- Cholesterol: 25mg
- Fish Chunk: 6 (I have used Katla)
- Potato: 4
- Ginger Paste: 1 Tbsp.
- Garlic Paste: 1.5 Tbsp.
- Tomato Paste: 2 Tbsp.
- Hung Curd: 100g
- Poppy Seed Paste: 1 Tbsp.
- Kismis/ Raisin Paste: 1 Tbsp.
- Whole Raisin: 10
- Mustard Oil: 4 Tbsp.
- Ghee: 1 Tbsp.
- Bay Leaf:1
- Dry Red chili: 1
- Cinnamon Stick: 1"
- Black Cardamom: 1
- Green Cardamom: 4
- Cumin Seed: ¼ Tsp.
- Asafoetida: ¼ Tsp.
- Turmeric Powder: 1 Tsp.
- Cumin Powder: 1 Tsp.
- Coriander Powder: 1 Tsp.
- Bengali Garam Masala Powder: 1tsp.
- Kashmiri Red Chili Powder: 1 Tsp.
- Red Chili Powder: ½ Tsp.
- Sugar: 1 Tsp.
- Salt: To taste
- Wash fish chunks and marinade with half of the turmeric powder and salt.
- Peel the skin of the potatoes and cut into halves.
- Cut thin slices of 2 Onion and make a paste of one onion.
- Heat oil in a pan until the oil changes the color.
- Now fry fish chunks in medium flame from both sides.
- Strain fish chunks from the oil.
- Now sprinkle some turmeric powder and salt over the Potato chunks and fry those in medium flame.
- Once potatoes are properly fried strain from the oil.
- Temper remaining oil with Bay Leaf, Dry Red chili, Cinnamon Stick, Clove, Black Cardamom, Green Cardamom, Cumin Seed and Asafoetida.
- Add chopped onion and onion paste and fry till both turns brown in color.
- Now add Ginger paste and also garlic paste and cook for a minute.
- At this point add Tomato paste followed by the poppy seed paste and Kismis paste and cook till oil comes out from the mixture.
- Also, add whole raisins.
- Now add hung curd and cook over the low flame and stir vigorously.
- Add Turmeric Powder, Cumin Powder, Coriander Powder, Kashmiri Red Chili Powder, Red Chili Powder, Sugar, and Salt and cook for a minute.
- Now add 3 cups of water followed by fried fish and fried potatoes.
- Cover the pan with a lid and cook over low flame for around 7-10 minutes.
- Once done, add Bengali garam masala powder followed by Ghee and mix properly.
- Serve Macher Kalia (the Biyebari version) with steamed hot rice.
Adjust chili powder as per taste.
Raisin gives a sweet taste to the dish. You can skip that if you wish.
The same is applicable to sugar as well.
You can increase or decrease both oil and ghee based on preference.
Other Seafood/ Fish dishes from Debjanir Rannaghar:
- Doodh Maach (Also known as Fish with Milk )
- Kolkata Style Chilli Fish (also known as Chili fish)
- Doi Maach (also known as Fish in Yogurt Curry)
- Mayonnaise Bhetki (Also known as Baked Bhekti with Mayonnaise)
- Bhapa Ilish (Also known as Steamed Hilsa Fish)
- Bhetki Begum Bahar (also known as Fish Begum Bahar)
- Pabda Mach-er Tel Jhal (also known as Pabda Fish Curry)
- Malabar Fish Curry (also known as Kerala Fish Curry)
Have you tried the Macher Kalia Recipe from Debjanir Rannaghar!
I would love to see a picture of the same which you can share here on email@example.com. Meanwhile, on Instagram, you can use my hashtag #debjanirrannaghar and in addition, you can tag me at @foodofdebjani.