Yields

5 portions

Cooking Time

1 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 300 g machh'er matha (katla, rohu or hilsa fish head)
  • 60 g mustard oil
  • 120 g onions
  • 2 pcs dried red chillies
  • 2 pcs bay leaves
  • ½ tsp panch phoron (Bengali five spice)
  • 750 g pui shaak (Malabar spinach)
  • 2 g salt
  • 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
  • 18 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

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.

Method

  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.

Please refer to the video for the missing steps. We will update this soon.

Equipment

  • Knife or bnoti
  • Chopping board
  • Large bowl for soaking and washing
  • Large korai or wok for cooking
  • Lid for wok
  • Spatula or khunti

Calphalon

Triply Stainless Steel 12-Inch Wok

12 inch

3.7 L

Victorinox 7 inch santoku chef's knife

Victorinox 3 inch paring knife

Appliances

  • Gas stove