Method

1. Wash the fish pieces and let them air-dry for some time. Smear them with ½ tsp each of salt and turmeric and set aside while you prep the vegetables.

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2. Cut the cauliflower in large florets; make incisions on the stalk if it is too thick to allow it to cook faster.

Katla macher jhol
Cut the cauliflower in large florets
Image Credit: Supplied/Bong Eats

3. Peel and cut the potato longitudinally in 3cm thick wedges. Roughly chop the tomato

Katla machher jhol
Roughly chop the tomato; cut potato in wedges
Image Credit: Supplied/Bong Eats

4. Slit the green chillies.

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5. Heat mustard oil a kadai, and wait for it to smoke gently and change colour to a pale yellow.

6. Fry the dal’er bori (optional) for 20 seconds until it is golden-brown. Remove from the oil and set aside.

Katla machher jhol
Fry the dal’er bori
Image Credit: Supplied/Bong Eats

7. In the same oil, fry the marinated fish in a single layer (you may have to do this in multiple batches). Fry on medium-low heat for roughly 2–3 minutes on each side until brown and crisp. Remove from the oil and set aside.

Katla machher jhol
Fry the marinated fish
Image Credit: Supplied/Bong Eats

8. Now add the cauliflower florets. Fry them on low heat until fragrant and brown. Keep the pan covered while you fry, and mid-way through the process add ¼ tsp each of salt and turmeric. Once brown, remove from the oil and set aside.

Katla machher jhol
Fry cauliflower and set aside with fried fish
Image Credit: Supplied/Bong Eats

9. To make the curry, temper the same oil (you may have to top it up if the cauliflower has absorbed most of it) with bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon and cumin seeds.

10. Add potatoes and fry them on low heat, covered, until brown (about 5 minutes).

11. Add tomato and fry another 2 minutes.

12. Make a slurry of cumin powder, turmeric, red chilli powder and salt. Add it to the pan.

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13. Braise the spices on low heat, pan covered, for about 3–4 minutes. Add splashes of water whenever the pan runs dry and continue braising.

14. Add ginger paste and fry another 3–4 minutes.

15. Add the fried cauliflower and green chillies, and braise everything together until the potatoes and cauliflower florets have softened slightly.

Katla machher jhol
Add all vegetables and braise until cauliflower and potatoes soften
Image Credit: Supplied/Bong Eats

16. Add hot water to form the curry. Once it comes to a boil, add the fried bori.

17. Giving the bori a couple of minutes of head-start, lower the fried pieces of fish.

18. Bubble until the potatoes and cauliflower have softened and the curry has thickened slightly (about 5 minutes or so).

19. Add in the sugar and sprinkle some atta (to thicken the curry).

20. Once you are happy with the consistency, finish with bengali garam masala and freshly chopped coriander leaves.

Katla machher jhol
Thicken curry with wheat flour, finish with Bengali garam masala
Image Credit: Supplied/Bong Eats

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