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13 Bengali Fish Recipes That Show You Why Bengalis Are Obsessed with Fish

Like we've said before, Bengalis really know their food. And one of the biggest stereotypes about Bengalis is their love for food, and their love of fish. We won't deny that stereotype because we really do love our fish, and why wouldn't we? Not only is it healthy, it's also delicious and versatile. Instead of waxing eloquent about fish though, why don't we just show you, so you can partake of its magnificence yourself?

Here are 13 amazing fish dishes that will prove to you why Bengalis are so obsessed with fish.

Chingri Malai Curry or Prawns Cooked in Coconut Milk

Source: Source

Ingredients:

1/2 kg prawns, deveined, cleaned

5 tablespoons onion paste

1 large clove of garlic, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon ginger paste

6 green chillies, slit

500ml coconut milk

4 bay leaves (tej patta)

4 pods of cardamom (elaichi)

6 cloves (laung)

2 small sticks cinnamon (dalchini)

1 teaspoon red chilli powder

1 teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)

Salt, to taste

Sugar, to taste

Method:

Marinate the prawns in turmeric and salt, and set aside for 30 minutes.

In a large wok, add a little oil. Fry the prawns for a few minutes, till they turn golden in colour. Remove, and place on a plate lined with paper towels.

In the same oil, add the garlic. Once fragrant, remove the garlic, but leave the oil in the wok. Add the bay leaves, and saute lightly.

In a pestle, add the cardamom pods, cloves, and cinnamon, and pound coarsely. Add this to the wok. Once it starts crackling, add the onion paste. Add a little sugar, and fry till the onion turns brownish in colour, and till the oil has separated. Add the ginger paste, and cook the masala. Add the coconut milk, and about 1/3 cup of water. Add the red chilli powder, a little turmeric, and salt. Add the green chillies, and mix to combine the gravy well. Let this simmer on low heat, covered, for about 20-25 minutes.

Once you see oil rising to the surface, add the prawns. Continue cooking covered, till the gravy thickens to the consistency you want. Check seasoning, adjust if required.

Serve hot, with rice.

Shorshe Bata Ilish Maachh or Hilsa Cooked with Mustard

Source: Source

Ingredients:

600gm hilsa

3 tablespoons mustard oil

2 tablespoons mustard seeds

3 teaspoons poppy seeds (posto)

6 green chillies, slit

4 tablespoons ginger paste

1 tomato, chopped

1 teaspoon paanch phoron (Bengali five spice mix)

1 teaspoon red chilli powder

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

Salt to taste

Note: The Bengali five spice mix consists of equal quantities of fenugreek or methi seeds, nigella seeds or kalonji, cumin seeds or jeera, black mustard seeds or rai, and fennel seeds or saunf.

Method:

Marinate the fish in salt and turmeric, and set aside for 15-20 minutes.

Soak the mustard seeds and poppy seeds in a little water. Grind them to a paste.

In a large wok, add mustard oil over high heat. Add the paanch phoron, and let it splutter. Turn the heat down, and add the ginger paste, mustard-poppy paste, and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the turmeric and red chilli powders, and stir to make sure the masala is combined well. Add the marinated fish, green chillies, and salt. Add the tomatoes, a little water if it looks too dry, and cook covered on a low flame, for 3-5 minutes.

Check after 5 minutes to make sure the fish is cooked, and the gravy is at the consistency you want.

Serve hot, with steamed rice.

Gondhoraj Maachh or Fish Cooked with Gondhoraj Lime

Source: Source

Ingredients:

500gms rohu

400ml coconut milk

1 tablespoon cashew nut paste

1 tablespoon onion paste

1 teaspoon ginger paste

1 Gondhoraj lime

2 leaves of Gondhoraj lime

1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

1/4 teaspoon cumin powder (jeera)

1/4 teaspoon black pepper powder

2 green chillies, slit

1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder

2 tablespoons mustard oil

Salt, to taste

Note: This dish can be made with kaatla or bhetki as well.

Method:

In a large wok, heat the oil on medium heat. Turn the heat on low, and add the onion and ginger paste, and fry for 2-3 minutes or till they change colour. Add the turmeric and cumin powder, and mix together. Continue cooking on low heat for 1 minute.

Add the fish, cover with the masala, and cook. If the fish starts to stick to the bottom of the pan, you can add 1-2 teaspoons of milk to prevent it from sticking.

Add the cashew paste, green chillies, and black pepper. Cook covered for 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk, lime leaves, salt, and mix together. Cook covered, till the consistency of the gravy is to your liking.

Squeeze the juice of the gondhoraj over the fish, and serve hot, with rice.

Macher Muro Diye Moong Dal or Lentils Cooked with Fish Heads

Source: Source

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons mustard oil

200 grams moong dal or split green lentils

1 katla or rohu macher matha or 1 rohu or katla fish head

2 green chillies

2 tablespoons ginger paste

2 bay leaves

Salt, to taste

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

Method:

In a pressure cooker, add 1/2 teaspoon mustard oil, and roast the moong dal. Add 1 and 1/2 cups of water, and cook for 4 whistles.

Cut the fish head into 2 halves, and marinate in salt and turmeric powder for about 15-20 minutes.

Fry the fish heads in mustard oil, and set aside.

In a large wok, add oil, and heat it. Add bay leaves, green chillies, and fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the ginger paste, and a little water. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Add turmeric powder, and mix well. Cook for 3 minutes. Add the pressure cooked dal. Add the fried fish head pieces, and stir. Cook covered for 4-5 minutes.

Serve hot.

Rui Posto or Rohu Cooked in a Poppy Seed Paste

Source: Source

Ingredients:

250gms rohu

1 tablespoon poppy seed paste

1 tablespoon garlic paste

1 tablespoon mustard paste

1/2 tablespoon red chilli powder

1 tablespoon turmeric powder

5 tablespoons mustard oil

1 tablespoon salt

1 large tomato, chopped

Note: This dish can be made with bhetki as well.

Method:

Marinate the fish in salt and turmeric for 15-20 minutes.

In a large wok, add mustard oil, and shallow fry the fish, till the outside is crispy and golden-brown. Set aside, on a plate lined with paper towels.

In the same wok, add the chopped tomato, garlic paste, poppy seed paste, and mustard paste. Stir fry on low heat, till the oil leaves the masala. Add 1 cup water, the fish, season with salt, and mix to make sure the fish is completely coated in the masala. Cover, and cook for 15 minutes on a low flame.

Serve hot with rice.

Tok Maachh or Fish Cooked in Tamarind

Source: Source

Ingredients:

500gms rohu

1 and 1/2 teaspoons mustard paste or powder, soaked in warm water

2-inch piece of tamarind, soaked in 1 cup warm water

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1/2 teaspoon paanch phoron

2 green chillies, slit

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Mustard oil

Salt, to taste

Method:

Marinate the fish in salt and turmeric for 20-30 minutes.

Take the tamarind pulp out of the cup, and add 1 and 1/2 cups more water to the tamarind stock left.

In a wok, add mustard oil. Once hot, shallow fry the fish. Set aside.

In another wok, add mustard oil. Once hot, add the paanch phoron, and green chillies. Once they start to splutter, add the tamarind stock. Add salt and sugar to season, and a little turmeric. Mix so everything is well combined, and let it simmer for 3-4 minutes on low heat. Add the fish to this, and mix well.

Add mustard paste, and let this simmer for 10-12 minutes.

Daab Chingri or Prawns Cooked in Tender Coconut

Source: Source

Ingredients:

1 tender coconut

500 gms prawns, deshelled, deveined, cleaned

3 tablespoons mustard oil

Salt, to taste

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 large onion

6 garlic cloves

1 tomato

1-inch piece of ginger

4 green chilies

3 tablespoons mustard paste

Method:

Make a small cutout on the tender coconut, and keep it to use as a lid later. Drain the coconut water, and make sure you use one with malai or coconut meat inside.

Marinate the prawns in salt, turmeric, and 1 tablespoon mustard oil.

In a blender, add the onion, garlic, green chillies, and tomato. Make a smooth paste.

Add the mustard paste to 3-4 tablespoons of coconut water, and make a paste.

In a wok, add 2 tablespoons of mustard oil. Once hot, add the paste you made with the onions, garlic, green chillies, and tomato. Stir fry till cooked, till the masala releases some water. Add the mustard paste and coconut water mixture, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the prawns, and cook for about 4-5 minutes, or till the gravy has thickened.

Pour the prawns and the masala into the tender coconut. You can add more green chillies if you want. Cover the coconut with the piece you had saved to use as a lid. Place in the microwave, and cook for 10-15 minutes.

Take the lid off the coconut, and check to see if the prawns are soft. If you want, you can cook it for a further 5-7 minutes.

Serve hot, with rice.

Note: If you don't have a microwave, you can place the coconut into a pressure cooker, and cook for 3 whistles.

Ilish Bhape or Steamed Mustard Hilsa

Source: Source

Ingredients:

500gms Hilsa fish

4 tablespoons mustard paste, soaked in lukewarm water

4 tablespoons curd

3 tablespoons grated coconut

1 and 1/2 tablespoons poppy seed paste

Salt, to taste

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

4-6 green chillies

1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder

4 tablespoons mustard oil

Method:

Make a paste, using the mustard paste, 1 green chilli, and 1 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

Marinate fish with salt and turmeric, and leave for 10-15 minutes.

In a bowl, add the mustard paste you made with the green chilli and salt, the poppy seed paste, grated coconut, curd, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, and 3 tablespoons mustard oil. Mix well. Check for salt. Add 1 cup water to this paste, and mix well.

If using a microwave, rub some oil in a microwave-safe bowl with a lid. Add half the mixture to a bowl, add the fish, and pour the rest of the mixture over the fish. Add 1 tablespoon mustard oil over the fish, and add the remaining green chillies. Cover tightly with the lid. Put this bowl in a bigger bowl with 5 cups of water. Cook for about 20-25 minutes. When removing the lid, be careful.

If not using a microwave, repeat the same procedure, except putting everything in a steel bowl with a tight lid. Put 5 cups of water in a pressure cooker, and put the shut steel bowl in the cooker. Cook on medium heat for 2-3 whistles.

Serve hot, with steamed rice.

Chitol Maachher Muitha

Source: Source

Ingredients:

1 kg chital fish

1 cup vegetable oil

4 potatoes

3 tomatoes, roughly chopped

4 onions, roughly sliced

3 tablespoons ginger paste

5 green chillies

3 tablespoons garlic paste

3 bay leaves

2 teaspoons cumin paste

2 tablespoons ghee

1 teaspoon garam masala powder

Salt, to taste

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

Method:

Make a paste with the 3 green chillies and the ginger paste, by blending the two together.

Clean the fish well, and scoop out all the flesh, separating it from the bones.

Boil all the potatoes well, and mash them.

In a large bowl, add the mashed potatoes, fish, 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of the ginger-green chilli paste, garlic paste, 2 onions, and salt. Mix together, and make small balls of this mixture.

In a large pan, add the vegetable oil. Once hot, deep fry the fish-potato balls, and then set aside.

Get rid of most of the oil, and add the bay leaves, remaining onion slices, and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, and stir fry for 3-4 minutes. Add the remaining ginger-green chilli paste, turmeric powder, cumin paste, and mix well. Cook for 3-4 minutes, and add 1 cup of water. Let it come to a boil, and season with salt.

Add the fish pakoras to this, along with the rest of the green chillies. Let it simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Add ghee, and garam masala powder. Check seasoning, and mix everything together. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, and serve hot.

Muri Ghonto

Source: Source

Ingredients:

1 big fish head of rohu or katla

6 tablespoons mustard oil

100 gms basmati rice, washed

Salt, to taste

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 tomato

2 potatoes

2 medium-sized onion

2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste

3 green chillies

1 teaspoon garam masala powder

2 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon cumin seed

Method:

Cut tomatoes, onions, and potatoes into small pieces.

In a blender, add the ginger-garlic paste and the green chillies. Make a paste.

Cover the fish head pieces with salt and turmeric powder. Fry and set aside.

Fry the potato pieces with salt and turmeric powder, and set aside.

In the same wok that you fried the potatoes and fish head in, add 1 tablespoon oil, and add bay leaves, cumin seeds, and saute. Add chopped onion, and fry till lightly browned. Add the tomato as well, and fry. Add the ginger-garlic-green chilli paste. Cook for 1 minute, and then add the rice. Mix everything well, making sure the rice is coated in the masala, and then roast this for 5 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup water, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring to mix everything well. Add the fried fish head to this mixture, and stir to mix. Add 1/2 cup more water, stir to mix, and cover with a lid. Cook for 4-5 minutes, till the potato and rice is cooked. Add garam masala powder, and mix properly. Cook for 3-4 minutes more, and serve hot.

Aam Kashundi Chingri or Prawns Cooked in a Raw Mango and Mustard Gravy

Source: Source

Ingredients:

250 gms prawns, deveined and cleaned

3 tablespoons grated coconut

1 and 1/2 tablespoons mustard seed paste

1 raw mango, grated

4-5 green chillies

3 tablespoons mustard oil

1/2 teaspoon chilli powder

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

Salt, to taste

Sugar, to taste

Note: You can use kasundi for this recipe if you have any. Just substitute the mustard seed paste with 3 tablespoons of kasundi.

You can also cook this with crab meat.

Method:

In a blender, add the mustard seed paste, with 1-2 green chillies, coconut, and 1-2 tablespoons water. Blend, and set aside.

Marinate the prawns in salt and turmeric. Set aside.

In a wok, add oil, and once hot, add 1-2 slit green chillies. Once it splutters, add the prawns. Saute on low heat till the prawns change colour slightly, for about 2 minutes.

Add the grated raw mango, a pinch of salt, and keep stirring with a light hand. Cook for about 2 minutes, till the mango stops smelling raw. Add the mustard paste, and turmeric. Mix well, and cook on low heat for about 2-3 minutes. Add 1 cup of water, and check seasoning. Add salt, sugar, and red chilli powder, if it needs any. Cover, and let it simmer on low heat, till the water has evaporated, and there is a thick gravy coating the prawns.

Bhetki Maachher Paturi or Bhetki Steamed in Banana Leaf

Source: Source

Ingredients:

1 kg bhetki

2-3 big banana leaves

1 cup grated coconut

2 tablespoons mustard paste

4 tablespoons mustard oil

Salt, to taste

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

10 green chillies, blended to a paste

Thread

Method:

Make sure the bhetki is cut into medium-sized pieces, and is boneless.

Take the banana leaves, and cut them into rectangles which are big enough to wrap all your fish pieces in.

In a bowl, mix the grated coconut, mustard paste, green chilli paste, salt, turmeric powder, and 2 tablespoons of mustard oil.

Put one banana leaf flat on a dish, rub the fish piece with 1 tablespoon of the paste on both sides, and put on the leaf. Fold the banana leaf over the fish to make a parcel, and tie it with thread. Repeat the process for all the fish pieces

Heat a flat-bottomed frying pan coated with a little mustard oil. Place the wrapped fish parcels on the pan, and roast for 5-7 minutes, covered. Flip the fish after 5-7 minutes, and roast the other side for 3-4 minutes.

Serve with hot rice.

Doi Maachh or Fish Cooked in a Curd Gravy

Source: Source

Ingredients:

1 kg of rohu fish, cut into medium-sized pieces

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 and 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder

4 tablespoons mustard oil

1 bay leaf

1/2 inch cassia or cinnamon

4 cloves

4 to 5 green cardamoms

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

2 teaspoons ginger-garlic paste

1 onion, blended to make a paste

500gms curd

Salt, to taste

Method:

Marinate the fish in 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1/4 teaspoon red chilli powder, salt, and 1 teaspoon mustard oil for 15 minutes.

Whisk the curd in a bowl, and add the remaining turmeric and red chilli powder. Set aside.

In a large wok, add 2 tablespoons of mustard oil, and wait till it's hot. Once the oil is smoking, add the marinated fish pieces, and fry for 2 minutes on each side, till they become golden brown. Remove, and set aside on a plate lined with paper towels.

In the same oil, add the bay leaf, cumin seeds, and the rest of the whole spices. Saute on a medium flame till they become fragrant and change colour. Add the onion paste, and saute till lightly browned. Add the ginger-garlic paste, 2 tablespoons of water, and cook till light golden in colour, and the oil rises to the top.

Turn the heat to low, and add the whisked curd and spice mixture. Stir gently, and let the gravy simmer for 10-12 minutes till the oil rises to the surface. Check for seasoning, and add the fish pieces. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.

Serve hot, with rice, and lime wedges on the side. 

Enjoy the fish, and make sure you keep a bottle of Gelusil ready. 

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