Friday, June 12, 2009

sarson wali machhli | fish cooked in mustard seeds gravy...

 Sarson wali machhli or any mustard seeds gravy is something synonymous with Bengali food but it is an integral part of UP food too. There is difference between the way it is cooked in Bengal and in UP though, in a Bengali sorshe jhol the taste of the mustard is prominent n the curry is a bit milky in appearance  but in UP it becomes fused with garam masala and amchoor and the curry becomes brown n rich in color. I like it both ways. Both the curries are very distinctly different in the final bouquet of flavors.

Actually I started eating fish much later in life and learned to cook fish from Bengali friends of mine, and that was my first preference for a long time, but then I learned the way my mom and grandmother used to cook it too. I love this curry both ways now.

you need for this preparation i used a large fish (cooking process differs with the size of the fish )....I used 4 large pieces (steaks) of fish weighing about 500 gm total. 

Any fish will be fine but Rohu or Catla (river fish) are more suitable for this curry. Rub some salt and turmeric powder to the pieces and let it rest for half an hour.

masalas needed are .....

mustard seeds 2 tbsp,
turmeric powder 1 tsp,
curry powder 1 tbsp,
garam masala powder 1 tsp,
ginger garlic n green chilly paste 3 tbsp,
paste of one big tomato,
cumin seeds 1 tsp ,
salt to taste
and oil to fry ,
amchoor powder 1 tsp or more ........
green coriander leaves to garnish

to proceed........heat oil in a shallow pan and fry the fish pieces both sides until golden brown and keep aside .

Make a fine paste of mustard seeds with some water using the chutney jar of your mixie...add some water to the paste and decant it for a while, pour the paste in a cup discarding the skins (which settles down in the jar) alternatively the paste can be passed through a  sieve, keep aside...

Now empty the pan just keeping 2 tbsp of oil into it, throw in the cumin seeds and let it splutter, add the ginger garlic green chilly paste and fry till oil separates...throw in the powder masalas...fry for a minute and add the mustard paste...mix well n cook for a while ...then add the tomato paste to the pan......add salt and cook covered on medium heat till oil separates again.

Now add about 1.5 cup of water to it...more or less depending how thin or thick gravy you want...let it boil and drop in the fried fish pieces...cook covered till oil separates and the fish is done...throw in coriander leaves and put off the flame and keep the pan covered for 5 minuted so that the coriander leaves infuse their flavor into the curry.

Serve hot with boiled rice, with some salad n papad on the side....

Machhli chawal was a comfort food in our household but now I make it rarely as fish is not readily available in our locality. I miss the days when a machhli wali used to come to my doorstep when we were in Dhanbad, Arvind's previous posting. Small towns have their own charm and fresh produce is one of those lovely things that you get without any extra effort.


  1. Hey sangeeta what's up. Just passing by to say hello. Nice blog you've got here. If you need any help well you know how to contact me.:-)

  2. Fish curry looks very delicious! Glad to see your mom's recipe. Mom's recipes are always special!

  3. I am sorry but I donot get exactly what you do with mustard seeds? Are you supposed to put them in with other powders? Please clarify. Thanks,

  4. I am sorry for a late reply anonymous ..i have corrected the mistake and now it's clear that mustard seeds has to be made into a paste n added after the powdered spices.
    Thank you for dropping by n for pointing out a mistake....

  5. Thanks sangeeta I will try to make as in heat of Delhi fish is a cool option.
    Sangeeta Dhaor

  6. I m making the fish mustrad curry for my mom hope it come with good news

  7. I m making this for my mom hope it come with good news.