A beautiful medley of vegetables, slow cooked with fried fish head.

  • Cooking time
    1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Calories
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Chhyachra (ছ্যাঁচড়া) is a form of pui chorchori (a mishmash/medley) made with fresh fish head—in this case a katla (a large carp) fish head. Chhyachra (or chhachra) is a much loved special recipe for Bengalis. If you are trying to find it outside Bengal, pui leaves are often sold as Malabar spinach. It has a slightly slimy texture and a beautiful grassy flavour. Lots of other vegetables such as sweet potato, ripe pumpkin, potato and brinjal go into this dish. Another optional, but highly recommended addition is the kathal (jackfruit) seeds. They are starchy, sweet to taste and add a nutty flavour to the dish. Of course, the star of this dish is the fish head (machher matha). We don't recommend using frozen or stale fish head for this. If possible, get the head of a live fish from the market. That will give it the best flavour minus any nasty odours.

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5 servings
  • 300 g machh'er matha (katla, rohu or hilsa fish head)
  • 750 g pui shaak (Malabar spinach)
  • 150 g potatoes
  • 75 g kathal'er beej (ripe jackfruit seeds, sun-dried)
  • 240 g mishti alu (sweet potatoes)
  • 400 g kumro (pumpkin)
  • 220 g brinjal
  • 60 g mustard oil
  • 120 g onions
  • 2 pcs dried red chillies
  • 2 pcs bay leaves
  • ½ tsp panch phoron
  • 20 g total salt
  • 5 g turmeric
  • 4 g cumin powder
  • ¼ tsp red chilli powder
  • 6 g green chillies
  • 25 g sugar
  • 8 g ghee


  1. Cut the fish head into a few pieces and marinate with salt and turmeric.
  2. Separate the pui leaves from the stalk and soak the leaves in a large bowl of water. These leaves tend to have a lot of soil. So they need to be washed thoroughly to avoid grittiness in the final dish.
  3. Prep the rest of the vegetables by chopping them into uniform size for even cooking.
  4. Steam the pui leaves in a korai until they are wilted. Set aside.
  5. Fry the fish head in sufficient mustard oil until well browned and set aside.
  6. Fry the sliced onions in the same oil until brown. Set aside.
  7. Add more oil to the wok, and temper with dried red chillies, bay leaves and panch phoron.
  8. Add the potatoes and fry until golden—about 4 minutes. Then add the jackfruit seeds, pumpkin and sweet potatoes.
  9. Cover with a lid and keep cooking on low heat until the vegetables have softened a bit (15 minutes). Add salt, turmeric, cumin and sugar, and continue cooking with lid on (another 15 minutes).
  10. Add the steamed pui shaak, fried onions, brinjal and fried fish head. Add slit green chillies. Cook everything together for another 15 to 20 minutes.
  11. Finish with ghee.

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A beautiful medley of vegetables, slow cooked with fried fish head.

  • 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • kcal