Katla is quite an economical freshwater fish and is easily available in Eastern and Northeastern part of India. It’s a kind of everyday fish in any Bengali household, along with Rohu, Tengra, Telapia, just to name a few. Though it’s a regular fish, it has a number of recipes and Kalia is the most famous one. This dish is quite biye bari style (the type that is usually served in Bengali wedding receptions) – it’s spicy and rich in taste. Although Katla is by far the popular choice for making Kalia, Rohu or Chitol can also be used and the process remains the same.
Being a spicy food lover, I love Katla when it’s cooked spicy – so mostly I prepare Katla Macher Kalia or Katlar Jhaal. Bengalis across the world will swear by the name of this dish, I bet. As this dish travels from kitchen to kitchen, people add their touch and I am no exception. Kalia is a thick and spicy gravy based dish and goes brilliantly well with piping hot rice. While this is typically a Bengali fish curry, this is far different from Bengalis’ regular Macher Jhol or Macher Jhaal. We at our family have a special recipe of Macher Rosha which is similar to Kalia.
With all said and done here I present my recipe of Katla Macher Kalia with my little touch and with all my love 🙂 Please note that I bought 700 gm fish where I got 10 standard sized pieces (excluding head). In your case, the weight might vary depending on the size of the pieces.
- 700 gm Katla (Rohu or Chitol can also be used)
- 3/4 cup onion paste
- 2 table-spoon ginger-garlic paste
- 1/2 cup tomato puree
- 3/4 cup yogurt, whisked
- 4-5 green chilli. slitted
- handful of raisin
- 1 tea-spoon cumin powder
- 1 tea-spoon coriander powder
- 1.5 tea-spoon turmeric powder (1 + 1/2)
- 1/2 tea-spoon red chilli powder
- 1/2 tea-spoon Kashmiri chilli powder
- 1/2 tea-spoon garam masala powder
- 2 table-spoon mustard oil + some more to fry fish
- 1 cup warm water
- salt, according to taste
- 1/2 tea-spoon cumin seed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 inch cinnamon stick
- 5 clove
- 5 green cardamom
- 1 black cardamom
- Rub the fish pieces with 1 tea-spoon turmeric powder and little salt. Heat required oil in a pan and fry the pieces till golden brownish. Remove and keep aside.
- In the same pan toss the raisins until fluffy. Remove and keep aside.
- Heat 2 table-spoon mustard oil in the same pan and temper with all the ingredients mentioned in For Tempering section. Allow them to splutter.
- Add onion paste and saute until colour changes and water dries up.
- Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté until raw smell goes off completely.
- Now, add tomato puree, cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, kashmiri red chilli powder and salt. Stir until oil starts separating from the mixture.
- Add yogurt and give a proper mix.
- Add water, mix well and cover. Cook over medium flame until it comes to a boil.
- Now, add fish pieces and raisin. Gently mix and add green chilli. Cover and cook over low to medium flame until fish pieces are nicely done and the gravy thickens.
- Open the lid, sprinkle garam masala powder, give a gentle mix, turn off the flame.
- Your Katla Kalia is ready to be served now.
Make your festive season more delightful including this traditional Bengali dish in your lunch/dinner platter. This dish is best served with hot steamed rice (gorom bhat). Do let me know how you like it by dropping me a comment below. You can also tag me on Instagram by using the handle @when_a_bong_cooks
Wish you have a dazzling festive season! Happy eating!