Mehebub introduced me to Maach Makha during my first visit to his native place Dubrajpur. I remember my mother-in-law uttering "Babu tor Janya Mach senechi!" (Babu, I have made Maach Sana for you. Sana is another term used interchangeably with "Makha". Both the words stands for mashing something. I never had it at my place and initially I wasn't much sure about the taste. I was thinking it may have weird smell considering a salad is prepared with fried fish. How wrong I was. I had the first spoonful and I finished the entire portion. Since then, I regularly make Macher Bhorta at home. I make different variations of it. I will be sharing those details below.
Beyond Maach Bhaja
Upon asking he told me he used to make it regularly once he shifted to Noida after completing his degree in Architecture from Jadavpur University. Back then I also have completed my master's in Rural Development and was working in the bordering area of West Bengal and Bangladesh. He told me, it is an easy recipe for fish and not always we prefer Maach Bhaja aka the famous Bengali fried fish. The recipe calls for a few ingredients and goes amazingly with rice and even as a stuffing for Sandwiches. So I learned it from him and also a few tips came from my mother-in-law.
Making a mash of fried fish along with a few greens such as coriander leaves, and also green chilly is quite common in several Bengali homes. We do add onion to this as well. This is a light salad that we prepare with fried fish. Radhuni (a spice quite commonly used in Bengal especially while cooking Shukto) was my addition. It gives a unique twist to the flavor, another layer I would say.
Maach Makha; a fish salad?
Considering the ingredients used, the cooking process, lightness and freshness, I do consider Maach Makha as a light salad. Though we prefer to use deep-fried Rohu or Katla or any carp to make this, however, you can use shallow-fried fish as well However, the flavor of Mustard oil used in deep-frying, for sure enhances the flavor of Maach Saana. We mostly limit the spices while making it. A few fresh ingredients mixed with the fish and you are good to go. You can serve it as a side with rice or you can serve it as it is or you can serve it as stuffing for sandwich.
Variants of Macher Bhorta
Different types of fishes can be used in making different Makha. Taste-wise all are different. Take Ilish Macher Lyajar Bhorta for example. However, here I am talking mainly about Rui mach or Katla mach or any carp for that matter in this recipe. Bely pices aka Petir Mach from any big size fish are easier to use while making Mach Makha. Moreover, the oil plays a pivotal role. I prefer to use mustard oil for both frying the fish as well as as dressing. While you can use Olive oil as well. Last but not the least the other ingredients used. I limit myself to Onion, tomato, cilantro and also green chilies along with a dash of lemon juice. At times, I add tamarind pulp as well. I even add chopped cucumber if I have it at home. So, be creative while making a makha or bhate. You can make amazing bhate/ bhorta/ makha using readily available ingredients at home.Print
Maach Makha aka Macher Bhorta aka Mach Sana is a light fish salad prepared with freshwater carp and a few basic ingredients. The recipe is super easy and this salad is comforting yet loaded with Bengali flavors.
- 6 Belly Pieces of Rui mach or Katla Mach (freshwater carp)
- 1 Onion
- 1 Tomato
- 3 Green Chilies
- ½ bunch Cilantro
- 1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
- ½ Tsp. Tamarind pulp
- ¼ Tsp. rocksalt
- 1 Tsp. Salt
- ½ Tsp. Turmeric Powder
- ½ Tsp. Radhuni (optional)
- 3 Tbsp. Mustard Oil (extra for deep frying)
- Take the fish chunks and marinate those with ½ Tsp. each of salt and turmeric powder.
- Heat Mustard oil in a pan.
- Heat it till the oil changes color.
- Now place 1-2 fishes and fry those on medium flame and then turn to the other side.
- Fry the other side as well.
- Once properly fried, strain the fish from the oil.
- Similarly fry remaining fishes.
- Cool the fishes.
- Meanwhile, roughly chop the onion and also tomato.
- Chop green chilies and also cilantro.
- Now take the fired fishes in a bowl.
- Debone the fishes.
- Crumble those using your finger.
- Now add chopped onion, tomato, green chilies, cilantro to the fish.
- Add lemon juice ¼ Tsp. each of salt and also rock salt.
- Add tamarind pulp also.
- Finally add 1 Tbsp. Mustard oil and mix everything lightly.
- Now dry roast Radhuni and crush it.
- Mix ½ portion of the crushed radhuni with the mach makha. This step is optional.
- The makkha is ready.
- Instead of fish with bone you can use boneless fish chunks as well.
- You can add other ingredients such as cucumber, pickle, carrot to the salad.
- You can completely skip Radhuni. However, it gives an amazing flavor to the fish salad.
- Instead of Mustard oil, you can use olive oil; however, the pungency of mustard oil enhances the flavor.
- Prep Time: 5min
- Cook Time: 15min
- Category: Salad
- Method: Cooking
- Cuisine: Bengali
- Serving Size: 150g
- Calories: 221
- Sugar: 1.6g
- Sodium: 955mg
- Fat: 11.6g
- Saturated Fat: 1.8g
- Carbohydrates: 3.3g
- Fiber: 0.9g
- Protein: 24.9g
- Cholesterol: 43mg
Keywords: Maach makha recipe, maach sana recipe, maacher bhorta recipe, debjanir rannaghar, bengali fish salad recipe
Have you tried the easy Bengali Fish Salad recipe from Debjanir Rannaghar!
I would love to see a picture if you are making it following my recipe which you can share here on firstname.lastname@example.org. You can use my hashtag #debjanirrannaghar and share it through Instagram as well. and in addition, you can tag me at @foodofdebjani.