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This article was first published 2 years ago  » Getahead » Food » Recipes: Kochu Shak, Koi Mach Tel Jhol

Recipes: Kochu Shak, Koi Mach Tel Jhol

Last updated on: February 15, 2022 11:31 IST
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Shalinee Ghosh Laval and Rupam Ghosh, a scientist with a passion for cooking, have a new year Bengali cooking get-together in Val-d'Oise, north of Paris, and whip up two classical Bengali dishes.

Every bit of the kochu shakor taro, including the stem and the leaves, is utilised in creating a mouth-watering dish complete with prawns and panch phoron, a Bengali spice blend.

The thick fish curry Koi Mach Tel Jhol is made with climbing perch fish and cooked in mustard oil. It goes well with plain steamed rice.

IMAGE: Shalinee and Rupam pose with the Koi Mach Tel Jhol.
Photographs: Kind courtesy Shalinee Ghosh Laval

Koi Mach Tel Jhol

Serves: 3


  • 3 koi mach or climbing perch fish
  • 1½ tbsp kasundi or mustard paste
  • 1 tsp kalonji or nigella seeds
  • 1 tsp haldi or turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chilly powder
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 6 tbsp or more mustard oil, for frying
  • 1 big tomato or 5-6 cherry tomatoes, chopped roughly
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup water


  • Marinate the fish with the salt, turmeric powder.
  • Heat enough mustard oil in a heavy-bottomed kadhai or frying pan over medium heat to shallow fry the koi mach.
    When the oil is very hot, put the fish in and let it cook for 7-8 minutes on each side.
    Once done, drain onto a tissue or paper towel-lined plate and keep aside.
  • In the same pan, add the nigella seeds.
    Once the seeds start spluttering, add in the chopped tomatoes.
    Cook on medium-high heat for about 8 minutes.
    Using the back of a ladle, mash the tomatoes to a pulp.
    Add the kasundi.
    Add the red chilly powder and stir.
    Add the ½ cup of water.
  • Add the fish pieces and let it cook in the sauce for 10 minutes.
    Turn the fish over halfway through.
    The sauce will thicken and oil will release.
    A dash more of mustard oil can be spread on top of the fish before turning off the heat to enhance the flavour.

Kochu Shak with Prawns

Serves: 3


  • 1 kg kochu shak or arbi leaves or patra or Colocasia esculenta (it's the shoots of root vegetable taro; the stems are usually thick and the leaves are narrow yet large heart-shape)
  • 250 gm prawns
  • 4 tbsp mustard oil
  • 1 tsp haldi or turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chilly powder
  • 1 tsp jeera or cumin powder
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 2 tej patta or bay leaves
  • 1 tsp jeera or cumin powder
  • 3-4 dried red chillies
  • 1 tsp panch phoron (Bengali spice mix easily available)
  • Salted peanuts, optional
  • Salt to taste
  • Dash sugar
  • Water


  • Chop the kochu shak stems and leaves.
    Boil with salt on high heat in a pressure cooker half filled with water for 5-6 whistles.
    Open the pressure cooker after it cools and drain out and discard the water from the kochu shaak using a colander.
    Try to squeeze out as much water possible.
    Keep aside.

For the prawns

  • Heat the mustard oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan and add the bay leaves, cumin seeds, dried red chillies.
    Add the sliced onions.
    Stir for a few minutes before adding salt and the sugar.
    Add the panch phoron.
    Add the prawns and stir.
    Add ¼ cup water.
    Add the turmeric, red chilly powder.
    Add the kochu shak.
    Fry together till all the moisture evaporates, around 10-12 minutes.
    Keep stirring.
    Do not cover the pan.
    Check seasoning, if required add more salt and sugar.
    Once the kochu shak is fully cooked, scatter some salted peanuts on top for a crunchy texture.

WATCH: The video of when Shalinee and Rupam cooked Koi Mach Tel Jhol and Kochu Shak.

Shalinee has lived in France for over 10 years and uploads weekly vlogs on life in France on her YouTube channel Shalinee in France.

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