Have you ever watched Cheteswhar Pujara before every delivery he faces? He holds the bat close to his chest, fixes the grip, takes the right hand lowest possible to the neck and the left hand on top of it. I almost follow a similiar ritual when I eat a parshe machh or any small fish for that matter. Baba used to hate fish with small bones and this was the trick which he had taught me so that the operation fish gets smooth. I find and slowly seperate the fins first on both sides. They are almost like fine bones. Then from the midriff one can easily dislodge the flesh of the fish. That’s how I eat parshe macher jhal.
Eating small fish is considered healthy in Bengali cuisine. Hence, Parshe Macher jhal is quite a preffered dish
Like most of the Bengalis, I have grown up hearing macher muro khele buddhi hobe and chokh khele chokh bhalo thakbe. What does this mean? If you eat the fish head then you grow intelligence and if you eat the fish eye, your eye sight remains clear. Madhushree and Arnab, my brother in law, laughs over this at length. They have grown up on fish primarily and yet their eye sight problems started pretty early in life.
Coming back to parshe macher jhal. This one has all the elements which are ultimate object of lust for a Bengali and for a Ghoti, in particular. Mustard oil, black mustard paste and green chili. No matter what they say, a proper shorsher jhaal should have the mustard oil floating and the mustard slowly settled at the bottom. Green chilies are the perfect objects of garnishing, though they should not be added in the last. Am I getting carried away? That’s what a sorshe jhal does to a Ghoti. I can go on trying a discourse on the perfect ratio of the Jhal with rice which can give you the pleasure you seek. However, no matter what, do keep some amount of jhal in your bowl for that final stroke of wiping it clean with your fingers.
Have you tried making shorshe bhapa chingri? It’s really easy to make and is again another mustard heavy dish.
There is a small act which I always follow before finding the fins or central bone of the fish. I love eating the skin of the fish with little drops of the mustard gravy in between. Then comes the flesh. The fish head comes last, chewed to the last bit of juice and I no longer care about the fish eye. If at 42 I am without the glasses, then I think I have hit the bull’s eye with fish eyes. How about trying out the parshe macher jhal now after reading this post.
Parshe Macher Jhal at Blog to Plate
Just like any dish on the dining table, this has to be served hot. When we did Blog to plate, the pop up by Madhushree and Debjani, one little mistake which we did was that amidst all the chaos, this particular dish reached the table cold. Never do that.
Do try this recipe and share your feedback. You can reach out to us at our social media handles: Instagram, Facebook or any of our personal Facebook (Madhushree and Anindya) and twitter profiles. Post a picture and tag us.
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