A ‘jhol’ dish in West Bengal equates to a dish that has a lot of thin-ish sauce.
You have to keep in mind that in some regions in India rice is the main staple and with this you need quite a lot of sauce.
A jhol is just that. A thin curry. Often a jhol will have some veg and its enjoyed because of what defines it.
It can be fish, meat, poultry or veg although there is a strong lean towards fish based dishes, fresh or dried.
I have used Sea Bass in this dish due to its availability fresh and similar taste to native fish. You can use trout, salmon or any white fish but ensure it’s a fish steak.
In Uk we use frozen freshwater native fish from specialist Bengali stores. Go with your personal preference!
This is a variation of many of our Jhol style dishes.
All measurements using level measuring spoons and cups.
1 Sea bass cut into 4 or 5 steaks.
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp salt
Mix all the above and shallow fry the fish on both sides just till golden and seared. Take off and keep aside.
In the same oil, saute 1 large potato cut into 2 inch cubes till just golden, take off and keep aside.
Quart cup veg oil
1/2 tsp Fenugreek/methi seeds
Half an onion really finely minced.
1 green chilli chopped.
1.5 tsp salt.
2 fresh tomatoes chopped small.
1 tsp sugar
Handful chopped fresh coriander
1 large potato cut into 2inch squares
2 slit green chillies
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder
2 tsp cumin powder
In the above pan add the quarter cup oil.
When the oil is hot add Methi seeds and wait till they go dark brown and you get that smoky aroma. Add the finely minced onion, salt and the chopped green chilli.
Fry this for a few minutes till just getting some colour then add quarter cup of water, cover and cook on low till the water has evaporated and you are left with softened onions and the oil splitting.
At this point add 4 tbsp water and to this your powdered spices and stir well.
Continue to cook this now stirring frequently until your water is cooked off and you can see oil splitting again
Add your chopped tomatoes, sugar, give it a good mix and cover on med and cook again till the tomatoes are completely cooked down and again the oil is splitting out on top and around the sides. This can take 5 mins plus.
Now add the sauteed potatoes and cook this in the spices for a few mins covered. Stirring occasionally.
Now add a 2 cups of water, your pre-cooked fish, 2 slit chillies and bring to boil. Reduce heat and cook partially covered on med heat till potatoes are completely cooked, the oil is floating.
You want a thin-ish sauce which is what ‘jhol’ is. Bare in mind the potatoes will absorb and reduce the sauce further post cooking.
Taste for salt and adjust.
Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with hot plain rice.
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