Two Quintessential Bengali Style Fish Recipes

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Anumita, our Managing Editor, shares two quintessential Bengali style recipes, in the weekly column, exclusively in .

Fish is a quintessential food for most of the people that live along the coasts and on the banks of rivers. The availability of fish from the waters help to supplement the dietary need. The state of Bengal has both water bodies, making Bengalis ardent fish eaters.

On my trip to Kolkata, Ma cooked a different recipe of fish dishes. But, I seem to like the everyday Maach Bhaja (fried fish) and Maach er Jhaal (fish in paste)Both these recipes are easy to make and do not take much time.

A typical Bengali lunch comprises of hot rice with daal and maach bhaja, with a vegetable and maach er jhaal.

Here are the recipes for Maaj er Bhaja and Maach er Jhaal, hope you will enjoy it as much as I do.

Maach Bhaja


Prep Time: 10 mins                                        : 10 mins

For: Side Dish                                                 Cuisine:  Bengali

Labeo Bata Fish (small fish) – scaled and gutted (as many required)

1 tbsp – powder

2 tbsp – salt

1 tbsp – red chili powder

½ cup – mustard oil

Scale and gut the fishes.

Sprinkle salt, turmeric and chili powder on the washed fish.

Rub the dry .

Heat the oil in a nonstick pan.

Place the fish in the oil and fry one side. Flip and fry the other side.

Fry until crispy and brown.

Serve hot with daal and rice, or enjoy these with dips, sauces and salad.

Maach er Jhaal

Prep Time: 5 mins                                                  Cook Time: 15 mins

For: Main Course                                                   Cuisine: Bengali 


250 gms – Rohu fish (scaled, gutted and scaled)

2 tbsp – turmeric powder

2 tbsp – salt

2 tbsp – chili powder

½ cup – mustard oil

1 tsp – kaalo jeere ( seeds)

3 – green chilis

2 tbsp – mustard seeds paste

Few sticks of coriander leaves


Clean fish and rub turmeric, salt and chili powder.

Heat oil and lightly fry the fish.

Move the fish to the side and put the onion seeds and green chili in the oil.

Add a little more salt and turmeric and the mustard paste.

Move the fish around and add water.

Lower the flame. Cover and cook for 10 mins.

Once done sprinkle coriander leaves and green chili and serve hot with rice.

Enjoy the quintessential Bengali lunch.

©Anumita Chatterjee Roy

Photos by the author

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Anumita Chatterjee Roy

Anumita Chatterjee Roy

Anumita Chatterjee Roy is an artist at heart. She has an eye for the unusual. Her naturescapes make her the quintessential Romantic. She paints, is passionate about photography, creates word images in her verses and loves to write. She cooks delicacies and is a foodie. Born in India, she was brought up in several countries. These strengthened the global citizen in her. She now lives in the Columbus, Ohio, with her and two sons.
Anumita Chatterjee Roy

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