Shol mach, Shoal mach, Snakehead fish, Mud fish are all names for this popular fish.
This fish is common in freshwater plains, where it migrates from rivers and lakes into flooded fields, returning to the permanent water bodies in the dry season, where it survives by burrowing in the mud.
Dishes using this fish and eaten with rice is very popular among Bengalis of Bangladesh and West Bengal.
This earthy, chunky fish which holds firm when cooked is eaten all over South Asia. Its a beautiful tasting fish. Often skinned whole and prepared with daikon/mooli, this is usually how its eaten by my inlaws. I however enjoy it in a number of ways, in a jhol, bhaja or mostly a bhuna.
Its a fish that can hold and carry heavy spicing and bold flavours and still keep its characteristic taste. I’ve teamed it up with hyacinth beans today as I had some at home!
As with most of these fishes, they only are available in Specialist Bengali supermarkets and come frozen. I’ve included pics of the packaging just so you have a visual on size and appearance. These fish can grow rather large but as with all fish, numbers have declined with over fishing and pollution over decades.
6 Shoal fish steaks 1/4 cup oil 1/2 tsp methi seeds 6 green chillies, 3 chopped and 3 slit 1 tomato chopped 1 medium onion finely minced or chopped 2 tsp salt 2 tsp cumin powder 1 tsp coriander powder 1 tsp chilli powder 2 tsp kashmiri chilli powder 1/2 tsp turmeric Handful of fresh coriander Water