Macha Tarkari – Odia Style Rohu Fish Curry

31 March 2016

Rohu Macha JholoIf you have been following my blog, you would know by now how much my family loves fish, that includes my 3 year old little one. This recipe is a nostalgic one, one that was an integral part of my life as I grew up. Though we moved around and changed cities a lot, all thanks to being an army brat, my mother made sure that odia cuisine was a staple at home, she always said that never forget your roots and odia food was her way of making us keep in touch with ours. And even though I don’t live in Odisha anymore, my parents do, and being married to a punjabi, this is my way of making sure that my little one is exposed to the food culture of both the worlds. I beam with pride when my little one now demands for fish curry. All thanks to my mother who with her efforts made me and my brother always tuck in food with utmost gusto, exposed us to multiple cuisines and now she does the same with my little one.

Macha Tarkari / Macha Aloo Jhola is the one that my mother used to prepare for lunch. Macha in Odia means Fish;  and Jhola means to a light gravy.  So, if you are looking for a light, simple and flavor packed   fish curry, then this odia fish curry recipe is definitely a keeper and worth a bookmark.


  • 500 gm rohu fish (Or any other river fish of your choice)
  • 2 medium sized onions, quartered
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 inch ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds (dhania)
  • 3 dried red chillies
  • 1 medium sized tomato chopped
  • 2 medium sized potatoes, cut into wedges
  • 2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 2 cups hot water
  • Coriander leaves to garnish
  • Salt to taste
  • Mustard oil


  • Wash the fish and apply  turmeric, red chili powder and salt to the fish. Marinate and keep aside for 20-25 minutes.
  • Meanwhile soak cumin seeds, coriander seeds, ginger, garlic cloves and dried red chilies in 1/3 cup hot water for about 10 minutes. After the ingredients are soaked through, strain and put in your grinder jar along with the quartered onions.
  • Grind the masala to a fine paste. Keep aside
  • Pour some mustard oil in a pan and shallow fry the fish and drain on a kitchen towel
  • Take about 4 tbsp of mustard oil in a wok and heat it upto its smoking point, add the ground paste and stir and fry making sure that the masala does not burn.
  • Now add the tomatoes and cook till the raw smell of tomatoes goes away and the mixture starts leaving oil. Then dunk the potato wedges in the masala, cook the potato till they are half done.
  • Add the remaining hot water to the wok, adjust the salt, cover and let the gravy simmer till the potatoes are soft.
  • Slowly add the fried fish to it and let the gravy cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and garnish with coriander leaves
  • Serve with plain boiled rice with a dollop of ghee