Every June, the people of West Bengal celebrate the festival of Jamai Shashti. This is a day which aims to strengthen the bond between a mother-in-law and her Jamai: son-in-law. However, it is also much more than that, it’s a day which brings the entire family closer together with tradition, prayer and amazing food.
After the rituals and blessings are over, the family sits down to a meal. Every person has a thali decorated with little bowls full of classic Bengali flavours. The entire family is then tasked with an all important job – eating to their heart’s content.
Here, we have compiled 5 age-old and delicious recipes that you can try out for your family feast this Jamai Shashti.
We also have a fabulous deal for you – flat 15% off on Jamai Shashti Specials with code FEST15.
This is a delicious dish which uses both mustard seeds and mustard oil to create the curry base and give it a unique favour. Hilsa curry is also really easy to make but jam packed with flavour – it’s both spicy and creamy.
Shorshe Ilish Recipe
Mustard seeds are highly aromatic when cooked and have a slightly nutty and smoky
flavour, it’s almost indescribable. However, this dish on the whole is spicy, creamy and
smells inviting. The ingredient list is not long either - only about 10, including two different
types of mustard seeds.
Begin by soaking all your mustard seeds in water for 30 minutes (This can be done in advance)
Grab your chopped green chillies and soaked mustard seeds and blend them together to form a paste
Add 1 tsp of turmeric and a bit of salt to your hilsa; make sure every piece is coated evenly
Heat 2 tbsp of your mustard oil in a wok and fry each piece of hilsa gently on both sides, this is just for colour
Remove the pieces and let them rest
Add the rest of your oil to the wok and pop in your fenugreek seeds, wait for them to crackle
Next you will need to add in your tomato, give that a good stir and then follow it up with the mustard paste you made earlier, a ½ tsp turmeric and some more salt
Pour in your water; cover your wok and let the whole thing come to a boil on a low flame
The last thing to do is add your fish pieces in. Give it all a gentle stir and then on a medium flame allow your curry to cook for roughly 10 minutes or until the fish is just done
Once your curry is cooked fully, garnish with the other 5 slit chillies and let it rest for an additional 5 minutes. That’s all!
This hilsa curry in mustard gravy is certainly the star of the show and is usually accompanied by nothing other than plain white rice. Tip: Since hilsa is a very fine boned fish, if you don’t like a hands on approach, you could use our catla instead. However, we do not recommend substituting the mustard oil with any other oil. That’s because the flavour of this dish is drastically altered without it, and the authenticity disappears. We hope you enjoy this wonderful and simple fish curry!
Kosha Mangsho – Bengali Mutton Curry
Mutton kosha is guaranteed to melt in your mouth. It is a slow cooked dish with a rich, dark gravy. You can eat it with luchi puris, parathas or palao. Just like other Bengali dishes, mutton kosha gets its flavour from a mix of mustard oil and spices.
Finely slice your onions. Heat 2 tbsp of mustard oil in your pressure cooker to fry half the onions and 2 dried red chillies. Once fried and cooled, make a paste of this in your grinder.
Lower the heat and add the remaining mustard oil to the wok. Crush your bay leaves and add them to the oil along with the cloves, cinnamon, cardamon, tsp of sugar and a tsp of salt.
Add the other half of the sliced onions in, only when the whole spices begin to splutter. Allow the onions to fry until golden brown. Midway through frying the onions, add in the 2 tbsp of Kashmiri chilli powder for colour and 1 tsp regular chilli powder for heat.
When the sliced onions are almost golden, add in the onion paste you made earlier.
Once the raw smell of the spices goes away then you can add in your mutton. Brown your mutton evenly then add in a cup of water and pressure cook it for 3-4 whistles.
Transfer your dish to a wok at this stage to begin the kosha or slow cooking. Cover your wok and on a low flame cook the meat until all the water evaporates, stirring occasionally. Eventually the colour will darken.
When you are happy with the colour of your curry, and the mutton is cooked, add in a little garam masala powder and check the seasoning.
Finally serve hot with rice or puris.
A lot of people also enjoy adding potatoes to this dish, so that’s something to consider if you’re a big potato fan. A spoonful of ghee, fried onions and garlic or fresh coriander and mint, make for great toppings. The dish really develops a stronger flavour when eaten the next day as well. Tip: If you don’t have time to slow cook your mutton kosha in a wok, after 4 whistles you can lower your heat and cook it for 20 minutes in the pressure cooker or instant pot. What are you waiting for? Try this dish out and you won’t be disappointed!
Chingri Malaikari – Bengali Prawn Curry
Prawn Malai Curry has a subtle, creamy flavour which you can achieve using a mix of spices and coconut milk, that compliments the tiger prawns in spades. It’s prevalent in many Bengali households and isn’t too spicy, perfect for the kids.
Prawn Malai Curry Recipe
Since you're using whole prawns, you can skip right to prep and cooking. A kilogram of prawns will feed 6 people. This recipe has been created keeping that number in mind. You can adjust it for larger or smaller groups.
Coat your prawns in half your turmeric powder and 1 tsp of salt and let them marinate
Put your sliced onions in your grinder and make a paste
Heat up your oil in a non-stick pan and fry your prawns in batches, for roughly 45 seconds on either side. Do not overcook them, or they will become tough
Add your ghee to the remaining oil and temper your whole spices – cardamom, cloves, bay leaves and cinnamon
Next, toss in your onion paste and let this fry till golden brown
Your ginger paste is next, fry this for at least 4 minutes
Follow this with the rest of your turmeric and the Kashmiri chilli powder. If your spices stick to your pan, add a little bit of the coconut milk to loosen them
At this stage you can add the rest of the salt and green chillies. Let this cook till the oil begins to separate
Your yogurt goes in next, make sure to lower the heat and stir well to break up any lumps. Let this simmer for about 4 minutes
Now it’s time for the coconut milk
When the coconut milk begins to boil, you can put in the fried prawns. After five minutes of cooking, you are all done
As a final step, sprinkle the garam masala over the top
So, if you’re craving the taste of Bengal because you live away from home or just never knew how to make it, then this recipe should certainly fix that. There is no denying the flavour this dish holds and once you get the hang of it, it becomes really easy to execute. Don’t forget to finish off your meal with a nice sandesh or rasgulla too. Tip: If you prefer to use deshelled prawns, then we also have great tiger prawns on offer, make sure to check out our selection.
Catla Kalia – Bengali Catla Curry
Catla Kalia is another rich dish which incorporates many different spices. Sometimes people add raisins for sweetness and some people choose to add potatoes. You will also need to use yogurt to create the sauce along with onions.
Catla Kalia Recipe
Catla Kalia is a rich red fish curry, with many ingredients but easy steps which you are probably already familiar with. This recipe doesn’t take very long but tastes as though it did. Keep reading for the full recipe breakdown. If you feel that the amount of chilli used in this recipe is too hot for you to handle, please feel free to reduce the quantity.
Once soaked, make your chilli paste by blending the chilli paste ingredients mentioned above.
Heat your oil in a wok on a medium-high flame and fry your marinated fish until golden brown.
Once fried, set your fish aside, lower the flame and use the oil in the wok to begin your curry.
Add in all your whole spices and let this cook for a minute.
Turn your heat up to medium again and add the onion paste to your wok.
Once your onion paste has browned you can put in the chilli paste and cook it for a few minutes.
When ready, add in the cumin and turmeric powder and allow all your spices to cook until the raw smell goes away.
Next in goes the yogurt. Make sure to keep stirring this mix for at least 3-4 minutes to make sure that it does not curdle.
Once you are happy with your spice mix, put in your chopped tomatoes and cook until it comes on oil. Remember to stir occasionally to prevent your spices from sticking.
When the oil has begun to separate then pour in a little water and allow this entire mix to come to a boil.
Then the sugar and salt go in. Now cover your wok and cook everything for roughly 5 more minutes.
Lower your flame for the last time, add in your katla fillets and cook your kalia for 10 minutes. If you feel that more seasoning is required then adjust it accordingly.
Catla kalia is usually served with simple steamed rice. If you do feel like you want to add in extra flavour and texture like potatoes and raisins, then this is how to do it. You will need to coat your potatoes in turmeric powder and pre-fry them. These potatoes will then go in with the catla towards the end.
For the raisins and a sweeter taste, you can do one or both of these things. Make a raisin paste - around 1 tablespoon, in your grinder. This paste should be added with the tomatoes. If you prefer, you can add in whole raisins by themselves with the tomatoes. Some people do both, it just depends on how sweet you want your kalia to be because remember, you will have added a tablespoon of sugar as well. While this dish does have a lot of steps, the flavour is really worth it.
So, if you're looking for a dish to make for a special occasion that has heaps of flavour and everyone will love, this is certainly the dish for you. Give it a go, and let us know in the comments how it turned out.
Doi Murgi – Bengali Chicken Curry
This is a dish which incorporates yogurt, mustard oil and slightly charred, juicy pieces of marinated chicken. Doi Murgi is an aromatic dish, which involves pre-frying the chicken so that it retains its tenderness. The sauce is spicy and creamy.
Doi Murgi Recipe
There are a few variations to be found of this recipe. Some people use only chicken drumsticks, while others prefer a traditional curry cut. There are even a few people who use a blend of misti doi or sweet curd, with regular yogurt, to create a sweeter version of this dish.
However, the variation we have for you is super delicious, not too complex and shouldn’t take ages to make. Skinless chicken is the best option for doi murgi; we have a nice selection at Licious which ranges from small to large curry cuts