Saturday, September 26, 2009

Macha Ghanta and Happy Dusshera

 In Orissa, we celebrate Dusshera with a lot of fan fare. There are lots of pandals setup with Durga mata in different poses and each pandal tries to outdo the other one in size and grandeur. In most households, the celebrations starts from the 6th or 7th day of Navratri and ends with a big feast on Dusshera day. In my grandma's house everyone fasts on Asthami day and then has a grand feast in the evening after puja. Fish is offered as offering and is a must on that day.

Macha Ghanta is a typical Oriya dish again. While I don't think it is a main dish for asthami, it is one of the fish dishes made on that day. Ghanta in oriya means 'mixed' and each specific ghanta has a typical set of vegetables to be added. Macha ghanta has the additional fish pieces in it. In Orissa mom makes it with the head of the fish - oh it is delicious...

Fried fish - few pieces
1 large onion - thinly sliced
1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
1-2 pieces - bay leaves
1-2 cardamom
1 big cinamon stick
2-3 tablespoon of Oil
Salt to taste
1 tea spoon of turmeric powder
1 tea spoon of chili powder
1 tea spoon of garam masala
1 handful of channa dal (washed and soaked for 4-5 hours)

Vegetables of your choice (what works well is mentioned below)
1 large potato diced
few string beans - cut into small pieces
1/4th of a large white radish
1 egg plant - diced
1-2 tomatoes (optional)
few pieces of red pumpkin or white pumpkin

How To
Heat Oil in a Pan and add a large Bay Leaf, cardamom, cinnamon stick.

Add the thinly sliced onions and fry till the onion turns golden brown. Add ginger-garlic paste and turmeric powder and chili powder and mix well for 2-3 minutes and then add the vegetables and the Dal. In this process you don't have to cook the ginger-garlic paste through completely, since it gets cooked with the vegetables.

Cover and cook the vegetables until cooked through. Add any tomatoes if you like and the garam masala and then the fried fish. Mix well. Adjust seasoning and serve hot with rice and salad.

Also if you want, you can make the vegetarian version where you don't add the fish. That's the version my Mom had. Since you add fried fish at the end, you can easily make both the vegetarian and non-vegetarian version at the same time...

In Orissa it is usually made with fried head of the fish and tastes awesome. It is a regular in Oriya weddings too...

Happy Dusshera everyone.


  1. Ooh! Fish ghanta! Must taste really really awesome! Happy Dusshera to you too!

  2. Different twist in preparing fish item which really tempting me to try soon..going to bookmark this recipe

  3. Sounds like an interesting fish dish. Happy Dussera.

  4. Happy dusshera to you and ur family.....well this dish really is new to me....Never Fried fish and then mixed it to a gravy...will def try next time...thanks for sharing

  5. Happy dusshera to you dear..this dish sounds very different and interesting...Looks yum!

  6. Happy Dusshera! Your dish looks lovely and so full of flavor.

  7. Nandini - very flavorful... I love it
    Sara - sure try it and let me know. Its a favorite among Oriyas and Bongs
    Divya - thanks and Happy Dusshera to you too...
    Sushma - its typial oriya dish I think...
    Priya - thanks
    Palidor - yes very flavorful...

  8. This dish looks very tempting...this combination is new to me...must be tasty too :)

  9. Which fish did you use for this dish? Mixing fish with veggies sounds interesting. My mom used to make fish curry/fried fish with the head-always tasted great!!

  10. Chenchda ...Woow...1st time in your blog..Some good dishes you have here..

  11. Gita - thanks...
    Sweta - I used Tilapia fillet, thats the only fresh fish I get here...
    Raji , Parita - Happy Dusshera to you too
    Soma - thanks for dropping by! I wasn't sure if you can call it chencheda without the fish head ? Maybe you can ?

  12. This is a new Fish recipe for me..looks yummy!!!

  13. Looks yummy and tempting. Happy Dussehra.

  14. Sarah and Valarmathi - thanks. Glad you liked it...

  15. I also prepare Machher mathar ghonta. Your preparation looks different and the picture looks delicious. I will definitely prepare your recipe.
    Wish you a very Happy Dussehra.

  16. Padma - Happy Dusshera
    Babli - yep I love it too... But the fish has to be fresh to enjoy that. I usually get fish fillet here...

  17. Happy dusshera,fish curry sounds interesting

  18. Looks nice , happy dussera to u :)

  19. Belated festival wishes to u and u r family that spicy fish recipe...looks drool the idea of event...will think about it...

  20. very nice dishes. Where can I buy the book published by your Mother in law?
    By the way I was born and brought up in Orissa and oriya dishes are favorite for my wife, children and other family members
    Keep posting

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  22. Varunavi, Chitra - thanks
    Lubna - thanks. Not on facebook yet...
    Ushnish - MY MIL writes Oriya recipe books. They will be available in any book store in Orissa, Cuttack Students stoe publishes them...
    Bijoy - thanks. But my blog is not a kerali food blog and the link would be inappropriate there...

  23. Happy Navrathri,belates ofcourse:)

  24. ganta looks delicious! Shubho Bijoya to you and your family.

  25. Mandira - happy Dusshera to you too... I am glad you liked it. It tasted much better than it looks...

  26. Oh..I can imagine the taste with the fish head..slurp slurp..:D..this is again a new dish tome Somoo..looks like fried fish mixed with a veg Kuruma..:)

  27. Varsha - nice way of looking at it... Yep like veg kurma with fish and chana dal... But the taste is very different from kurma...

  28. Many thanks, I am planning to visit Athgarh and Ravenshaw in Dec-Jan. I shall try to pick up the books. In any case I will be quite busy with the recipes posted here.

    I will be trying Machha ghanta today and have got one Rohi head..
    (I prefer to use head for right flavor)
    with your kind permission I am eliminating garam mashala powder, which I believe is not typical to Oriya dishes.(unless you meant powder of Labanga , Darchini, Aleicha.) Of course Punjabi garam masala powder will add to extra flavor.

    I think the Buta dali makes lot of difference which I missed out in earlier venture on Ghanta.

    Arisha Pitha is scheduled for sunday (failed few times in the past.)Now I shall use yours, the quantity and proportions)

    I will also look forward to a traditional Besara and Mahura recipe (Niramisha i.e without garlic, onion etc).
    Best regards and happy cooking

  29. hi, rgding those greens u asked those are called chauli in hindi,amaranth leaves in english..hope this will help u..

  30. Macha Ghanta with Rohi head is the best. You wont need Garam masala if the fish is fresh. I need it here - else the dish is too fishy!
    Arisha Pitha - I have never tried myself... This is my Aei's recipe - I am sure it will turn out fine...
    Besara is coming very soon...
    Pratibha - thanks... I have no idea what chauli is too. I am sure we in Orissa have a different name for it - but Mom would know. Thanks for letting me know the hindi name...

  31. Thanks for visiting my space,see you often... :) You have some wonderful recipes out there...! I will surely be visitng your blog in future... Lovely & very tempting fish recipe.. its new to me..Following u!!!

  32. Thanks for visting. I am glad you liked it...

  33. Now I get the point for using Garam masala.
    The Ghanta taste was too good (not praising self,thats what others told.)
    Amaranths are basically " Saga" (in Oriya) that we mostly eat . Like Koshola, KaNta-Noutiya, Noutiya, Nali (red) saga, KhaDa etc.
    Saga reminds me of a childhood recipe " Saga BaDa" (steamed Saga+ chopped Garlic+ Pithou (rice powder)sallow fried on Tawa with little oil...)

    Happy cooking and regards

  34. Hi Somoo, looks LOVELY !...I love the use of Ginger Garlic paste combined with the Garam Masala...such an amazing combination...makes for a fantastic curry ! grandma loved fish head...made into a SPICY curry ...she used to say it was the best part of the fish :) !

  35. Ushnish - cool. I am so glad it turned out good... Tell me how the pitha turns out too.
    Nat - I was wondering who it was - figured it out... Yep fish head is the best part of the fish. It is tricky eating it though...

  36. Arisha is scheduled for sunday...cross your fingers...rice is being soaked,

    Mu MIL bahi details paili...thanks, Cuttack-re sanga ku kahibi jaldi pathei ba-ku. Na hele mu jebe jibi ( Dec) nei asibi

    Mo Dahi BaDa blog ta PaDhiba...recipe not important, the back ground reflects some puruna smruti.
    Have a nice weekend

    Aji Rahili

  37. My MIL will be happy I am sure...
    I will be posting her recipes when she comes over soon...