Boal Mach or Wallago Fish (as it is called in English) has always been my super favourite. The fish belongs to catfish category and is delicate in nature. Growing up, we never had scarcity of Boal as this is available in abundance in Assam. Boal Mach from Assam is considered to be of supreme quality and people there swear by the taste of this fish. Fleshy, soft, flavourful, oily and super tasty Boal Mach is quite a versatile fish and can be cooked in various ways. There is always a rule of thumb applied while buying Boal Mach – the bigger the better.
Since we have moved our base from my native, Silchar, we have been deprived of good Boal Mach. On few occasions we managed to get hold of some online, but those were genuinely not at par. Recently we shifted our home and moved to a new locality. We are thrilled to see a Bengali fish shop nearby and when asked about the fishes available, they simply answered that they can source many Bengali fishes on demand. We are happy, super happy. In no time we placed order for Boal Mach and when the vendor said that they source Boal straight from Assam, we could literally feel the ‘flavour of home’.
On Sunday morning Boal Mach arrived home. Maa is here with us and I already brushed up the ‘Tel Jhaal’ recipe from her the previous night. I was ready. Just when I was sprinkling turmeric powder over the pieces and throwing a dash of mustard oil on them, I just could not resist myself to take a quick snap. The beautiful raw pieces were looking outrightly gorgeous. Below is the photograph where Boal Mach pieces are resting in turmeric powder and oil with a generous throw of coriander leaves. I find this image so satisfying.
Coming to Boal Macher Tel Jhaal, this is a spicy curry where onion and ginger does the main trick. The thing with Boal Mach is that, ginger is its best friend. This dish has been made by following Maa‘s special recipe, although, my version is little more spicy than Maa‘s. Here’s how I made my Boal Macher Tel Jhaal. Please note: Always rub Boal with raw mustard oil before frying to avoid excess spluttering of oil which can cause injuries. Also, This is a delicate fish so avoid over frying/overcooking.
- 800 gm Boal Mach (8 pieces)
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 5 green chilli, slitted
- 10 garlic clove, chopped
- 3/4 cup onion paste
- 1/3 cup ginger paste
- 1 tea-spoon green chilli paste
- 3/4 cup tomato puree
- 1.5 tea-spoon turmeric powder (1 + 1/2)
- 1 tea-spoon cumin powder
- 1 tea-spoon coriander powder
- 1/2 tea-spoon red chilli powder (optional)
- 1/2 tea-spoon kashmiri red chilli powder
- 3 table-spoon mustard oil + 1 tea-spoon for marination + some more to fry fish
- handful chopped coriander leaves
- 2.5 cup warm water
- 1 tea-spoon sugar
- salt, according to taste
- Marinate Boal Mach pieces with some salt, 1 tea-spoon mustard oil and 1 tea-spoon turmeric powder. Let it rest for 15 minutes.
- Heat required oil in a pan and fry fish pieces until golden. Remove and keep aside.
- In the same pan heat 3 table-spoon oil and temper with chopped onion and chopped garlic. Sauté until onion turns brownish.
- Add onion paste, ginger paste and green chilli paste. Stir until raw smell goes off and oil separates.
- Add tomato puree, remaining turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder, kashmiri red chilli powder and salt. Sprinkle little water and stir until oil separates.
- Add warm water, give a proper mix, cover and cook over medium flame until it comes to full boil.
- Now, add fish pieces one by one, stir carefully, cover the lid and cook for 10 minutes over low to medium flame.
- Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves and sugar from above, stir lightly, cover the lid and turn off the flame. Let it rest for 5 minutes.
- Your Boal Macher Tel Jhaal is ready to be served now.
Serve with piping hot rice and enjoy. Do drop me a comment giving your feedback about this recipe. You can also tag me on Instagram using the handle @when_a_bong_cooks.