This aloo – phulkobi masor jool l Assamese potato and cauliflower fish curry is a very popular fish curry in Assam ( a state in North East India). Cauliflower florets and potato pieces are lovingly cooked in spices. Liquid is added to make a light soupy curry (jool). Pieces of pan fried fish are then dunked into the ‘jool’. A true Assamese winter special when cauliflowers are aplenty! In this post, however, I will be sharing a slightly different way of making this dish; read on to know more!
Growing up in our Assamese household, we ate according to the seasons. And phulkobi (cauliflower) is a popular vegetable during this time of the year and is used in a variety of ways. However, one of my favourites is this phulkobi – aloo masor jool. The aroma as this curry sizzles fills the household in winter. All one needs is some steaming hot rice to go with it. The very thought makes me drool!
Back in Assam, this fish curry is usually made with rohu / labeo rohita, a fish from the carp family. Although we have carried our love of fish all the way here to the UK, most of the time it is the locally available fish that makes it’s way into our shopping trolley. But, once in a while, we do indulge and greedily trudge to the local Asian grocery store to stock up on a rohu. The one’s available here are quite on the bigger side, so it features in many of our meals, unless we have guests visiting.
Traditionally, everything is cooked on the stovetop, but in this case, there is a twist. In this recipe, I have used both the oven and the stovetop to make the curry. We bake cauliflower very often to have as a side dish. So, this time, I rubbed the cauliflower and potatoes for the curry in Indian spices and baked them.
I also baked the fish; marinated it in the authentic way and then put it in the oven. The pieces of baked fish came out perfectly and that too with only a couple of tablespoons of oil. I have cooked with rohu fish so many times; however, the last time I did, I got a terrifying oil splatter on the face (be careful while frying rohu fish; it does splatter) and was lucky to get away with minimum damage. It did put me off from even going near that fish any more. However, the foodie in me lusted for this curry. Hence, the oven came to the rescue.
Traditionally, mustard oil is used in Assamese fish curries but I have used olive oil to keep it lighter.
Once the cauliflower, potatoes and fish were baked, I made the curry on the stovetop. Life is full of adaptations and this one did help. Moreover, because I used the oven, I did not need to keep a constant watch on the fish as it fries or the cauliflower and potatoes as they cook. And we got a beautiful phulkobi – aloo masor jool l cauliflower and potato fish curry at the end of it all to whet our appetite!
Continue reading for the full recipe for this aloo – phulkobi masor jool l Assamese cauliflower and potato fish curry.
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Aloo – phulkobi masor jool l Assamese cauliflower and potato fish curry
- 1 medium sized cauliflower, cut into florets and slit at one end. Do not discard the leafy parts, chop them and keep aside.
- 5 medium sized potatoes, chopped
- 14 pieces of rohu fish (see notes below)
To marinate fish-
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt to taste
To marinate the cauliflower and potatoes-
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp ginger – garlic paste
- salt to taste
To make the curry-
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 whole red chillies
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- ½ tsp chilli powder (optional)
- 1 tsp garam masala powder
- 2 green chillies, slit halfway up from the bottom
- salt to taste
- 4 cups hot water
- a small bunch of coriander, chopped
- Mix together the ingredients for marinating the fish. Add the mixture to the fish and rub well. Arrange on a baking tray in a single layer and keep aside for 10 minutes.
- In a bowl mix together the ingredients for marinating the cauliflower and potatoes. Rub the pieces of potato and cauliflower with the mixture and arrange on a baking tray in a single layer. Keep aside for a couple of minutes.
- Pre heat the oven at 200 deg C.
- Place the fish tray in the centre of the pre heated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or till done. Turn over the fish after 10 minutes. An angled spoon will help in turning over easily in case they stick slightly to the tray.
- Place the tray with the cauliflower and potatoes in the centre of the pre heated oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes or till a knife cuts through easily, but they still hold their shape. (see notes below)
- In a pan, heat the oil for the curry.
- Add the bay leaves, whole red chillies and cumin seeds and stir.
- When the seeds splutter, add the onion and stir.
- Add the chopped leafy parts of the cauliflower and the green chillies.
- Add the ½ tsp salt and stir well.
- Cover and cook till they soften. Stir every now and then.
- Roughly crumble a few pieces of the baked potatoes.
- Add the baked cauliflower and potatoes along with the crumbles pieces.
- Add the chilli, cumin and coriander powders and stir well.
- Add the hot water and bring to a boil. Add the fish and simmer for a couple of minutes.
- Add the garam masala powder and stir
- Add the chopped coriander and stir through.
- Remove from heat and serve hot with some boiled rice.
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Until next time,