Big chunks of Aar Mach are lightly fried and then cooked with big fat chunks of potatoes and a spicy tangy gravy prepared with onion, ginger, garlic, and tomatoes! Did I just summarize the recipe of Aar Macher Kalia?
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Bengali Fish Curries
When it comes to cooking a meal at home; I try to balance everyone's preferences. There are items I love a lot while both Pasta and Mehebub do not like. However, I don't prefer to impose food choices on others. If managed easily, I prefer to arrange meals considering the entire family's preference. Take this Aar Macher Kalia as an example. I love Aar Maach a lot while both husband and daughter almost hate it!
The funny thing is I never have seen Aar Mach being cooked at my ancestral home. This I suppose is a ghoti-thing. Before you ask let me tell you I have elaborated on ghoti-bangal preference many times in other recipes on my site such as Chitol macher muitha or Narkel Chapa or Phulkopi Aloo diye Chingri Kalia. You can check these posts to know more.
Well, in my in-law's place as well they do not cook or eat Aar Mach! This is kind of weird. People often ask me about the difference between the food from a Hindu Bengali household in West Bengal (my parent's place for example) and a Hindu Bengali household in West Bengal (my in-laws). Rare are the instances when they ask what are the similarities. Not eating Aar Mach for sure is a similarity though I love Aar Mach, period.
- Aar Mach (also known as Aor Fish/ Seenghala fish/ Aor Fish
- Green Chili
- Dry Red Chili
- Cinnamon Stick
- Green Cardamom
- Bay Leaves
- Turmeric Powder
- Kashmiri Red Chili Powder
- Cumin Powder
- Bengali Garam Masala Powder
- Mustard Oil
See the recipe card for quantities.
I remember purchasing Aar Mach for the first time, during our 4 years in Gurgaon. I picked it up from C R Park Market in Delhi. Mehebub was almost horrified. For that matter, he still is; whenever he sees me purchasing Aar Maach happily. As I am the only person at home who loves Aar Mach I have no option but to ask for a portion of the fish from the fishmonger. The bigger the size of the fish; the better will be the taste of the Macher Kalia after all! If you are to cook Aar Macher Kalia; take fish chunks from at least a fish sized 2-3 kgs.
How to cook Aar Macher Kalia steps
For a detailed recipe see the recipe card below
Clean and pat dry Aar Maach chunks aka Singara fish
Marinate with salt and Turmeric Powder
Give 10 minutes of standing time to the fish before making fish curry
lightly fry in mustard oil
Marinate potato chunks with salt and turmeric powder
Fry potatoes for aar macher kalia
After tempering the oil with whole spices, fry chopped onion and onion paste
The onion should be golden in color
Add tomato and green chili paste, ginger paste, and garlic paste as well, and cook
At this point turmeric powder, Kashmiri red chili powder, cumin powder, salt, and sugar as well, and cook
Now add raisins and cook till oil comes from the edges
Add water and potatoes and bring it to boil
After adding fish boil for 2 minutes
Now add Bengali Garam Masala and Ghee and switch the flame off
You can substitute Aar Maach with Katla Mach and make Katla Macher Kalia instead!
- Mustard Oil - instead of mustard oil, you can use vegetable oil or olive oil. However, do not expect the pungency that comes from mustard oil which makes Bengali macher jhol unique if using the other variations.
- Tomato - You can actually use yogurt to make the Bengali fish curry tangy and flavorful. My mother does that however, I prefer tomatoes.
- Ghee - There is no substitution. You either use ghee to make Aar Macher kalia rich (and heavenly) or skip it to make a less-calorie version. Both work depending on your preference and need.
There are a few tips to make a regular Aar Macher Kalia special.
- Spicy - use tikha red chili powder instead of Kashmiri red chili powder, or you can use half and half for both color and spiciness.
- Deluxe - Add, crispy onions, and a handful of fried cashew nuts along with the raisins to the curry. You can add cashew nut paste as well.
- Kid-friendly - moderate use of spices would help. If you don't fancy a red color of the fish curry, use green chilies and make a rather bland-looking yet amazingly flavorful Aar Macher Kalia.
Equipment can have a big impact on how a recipe turns out. While cooking a Bengali fish curry where I need to fry the fish, I prefer a traditional iron skillet. Instead, you can use a nonstick deep-bottom pan as well.
Do not over-fry and overcook Aar Mach! You do not wish to eat rubbery fish I suppose!
Aar Macher Kalia
Tangy, flavorful, and rich Bengali Aar Macher Kalia; a fish curry prepared with Aor aka Singara Fish. This is a must try recipe of Bengali Macher Jhol
- Prep Time: 15min
- Cook Time: 20min
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 5 People 1x
- Category: Fish Curry
- Method: Cooking
- Cuisine: Bengali
- 5 pieces Aar Mach (500 g)
- 3 Potatoes
- 2 Onions (big)
- 1 Tbsp. Ginger Paste
- 1 Tbsp. Garlic Paste
- 2 Tomato
- 2 Green Chili
- 20 Raisins
- 2 Dry Red Chili
- 6 Clove
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 4 Green Cardamom
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 Tsp. Turmeric Powder
- 1.5 Tsp. Kashmiri Red Chili Powder
- 1 Tsp. Cumin Powder
- 1 Tsp. Bengali Garam Masala Powder
- 1 Tsp. Salt or to taste
- 1 Tsp. Sugar
- 4 Tbsp. Mustard Oil
- 1 Tbsp. Ghee
- I use pieces from a big size fish for this recipe. Also, I do not use a head or tail in this recipe. You may refer to the fish cut (round) in the picture.
- Take 5 pieces (at least 100g each or more) of Aar Mach.
- Marinate the fish chunks with ½ Tsp. each of Turmeric Powder and Salt.
- Keep the fish marinated for 15 minutes before cooking.
- Soak Raisin in warm water for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, peel the skin of potatoes and cut those into halves if using medium size potatoes. You can cut those into 4 pieces if using big-size potatoes or can use whole if using baby potatoes.
- Roughly chop 1 onion and make a paste of another onion.
- Make a paste of the tomatoes along with the green chilies.
- Now heat mustard oil in a pan till the oil emits aroma and changes color.
- Now lightly fry the fish from both sides.
- Do not over-fry Aar Maach aka Singara Fish. Over-fried fish after cooking in gravy will have the texture of rubber which should not be the case. Instead, lightly fry the fish chunks.
- Fry each side for a maximum of one minute.
- Once fried strain fish chunks from the oil.
- Now sprinkle ½ Tsp. each of the turmeric powder and salt on potato chunks and marinate those.
- Fry the potato chunks in the remaining oil in the pan till those are golden brown in color and ½ done.
- Strain potatoes from the pan.
- Now add half of the ghee to the oil.
- Temper the ghee and oil mixture with dry red chilies, clove, cinnamon stick, green cardamom, and also bay leaves.
- Once the spices emit aroma add chopped onion and also onion paste together.
- Fry both on low flame till the onion changes color and there is no raw aroma.
- Now add ginger garlic paste followed by the tomato and green chili paste, and give a thorough mix.
- Cook for at least 3 minutes till there is no raw smell.
- Now add Turmeric Powder, Red Chili Powder, Cumin Powder, Sugar, and Salt, and give a thorough mix.
- Keep the flame medium and stir continuously till the sides of the mixture leaves oil.
- This will take around 5-7 minutes and then the mixture will change color.
- While frying, you can add 1-2 Tbsp. water if the mixture is getting dried.
- Add soaked raisins and mix again.
- Now add 2 cups full of water and after mixing bring it to a boil.
- Add fried potatoes and keep cooking till the potatoes are well done.
- This may take around 7-10 minutes while keeping the flame low depending on the quality of the potatoes.
- Once potatoes are cooked add fried fish and give a light mix.
- Cook for 2 minutes on high flame.
- Add remaining Ghee and Bengali Garam Masala and after mixing switch the flame off.
- Cover the pan with a lid and open the lid after 10 minutes or while serving.
- Aar Mach is also known as Aor Fish/ Seenghala fish/ Aor Fish.
- Sugar is optional. You can skip it and this has nothing to do with me being a Ghoti. It is just, sugar balances the flavors.
- You can skip the ghee to make the Aar Macher Kalia less-calorie Fish curry.
- Last but not the least, you can skip raisins too. However, I like the bits of raisins in Macher Kalia.
- Serving Size: 150g
- Calories: 399
- Sugar: 5.2g
- Sodium: 932mg
- Fat: 18.1g
- Saturated Fat: 3.9g
- Carbohydrates: 30.8g
- Fiber: 6g
- Protein: 28.3g
- Cholesterol: 50mg
Keywords: Aar Macher Kalia Recipe, Aar maach Recipe, Aar macher jhol recipe, Aar fish curry Recipe, Debjanir rannaghar, Bengali fish curry recipe
We sometimes take for granted that we have years (or decades) of cooking experience, that the average visitor may not. Add to, or remove from, the list below with health and safety tips.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking points to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove.
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Have you tried the Bengali Aar Macher Kalia recipe from Debjanir Rannaghar!
I would love to see a picture if you are making it following my recipe. You can share here at email@example.com. You can use my hashtag #debjanirrannaghar and share it through Instagram as well. and in addition, you can tag me at @foodofdebjani.
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