Sunday, March 13, 2011

paturi maachh .... mustard flavored fish wrapped in banana leaf

I promised more non vegetarian recipes and here i am with a healthy fish recipe . We love fish in mustard seasoning and whenever i have a few fresh and clean banana leaves i make this paaturi . A bengali specialty i learnt from my bong friends . I like the hilsa fish made this way too , hilsa has a very different flavor but rohu is the most easily available here around my place so i used rohu this time .

This recipe is a quick one but if you count the time taken in priming the banana leaf and making the paste it may sound a bit intimidating . Believe me , it is fun to wrap the fish in parcels and steam them or microwave them , as i did .

Make a paste of mustard seeds , turmeric powder , green chillies and a few cloves of garlic , add salt and some mustard oil to the paste and pour it over the fish pieces...

For 4 large pieces of fish ( 400 gm) 2 tbsp of yellow mustard seeds , 3 green chillies , 3 cloves of garlic , 2 tsp of turmeric powder , salt to taste and 2 tsp of raw mustard oil. A table spoon of lemon juice makes the seasoning well balanced.

I prefer large fillet or the portions with less bones for this recipe , any parts of any fish will be suitable though...larger fish are better suited.

Some freshly grated coconut is a nice addition if you are wary of the piquancy the mustard provides to this dish... 

 Coat the pieces well and wrap them individually into the banana leaf pieces . Place a slit green chilly inside each parcel and place all the parcels in a microwave safe bowl with lid.

You need to prime the banana leaves to wrap them conveniently. They get torn otherwise. Heating them over gas flame is one of the things traditionally done. I just cut them in convenient sized pieces and microwave them for 30 seconds . The edges shrink a bit and the leaves are warmed , this way they can be wrapped around the fish without getting torn.

For a single parcel , a ceramic bowl will be alright with a plastic lid to cover it...I make individual servings in the bowls and serve them as it is.....

The parcel opens to release a nice piquant aroma of mustard . This paste of mustard and other seasonings does some kind of magic to the fish....

Many people believe in the magic of mustard to the fish . I am not the lone admirer of the marriage of mustard with fish.. Although i like the coconut milk magic to the fish too and many more seasonings ....this is not the only one i like as a fish seasoning.... oh .... but i am not undermining my own preparation . The recipe is a bengali classic ....

Just wanted to say that this is one of the many favorites i have in my repertoire ...a true blue foodies dilemma you know :)

Every bit of that mustard seasoning is worthy of finger licking... The banana leaves impart a subtle flavor to it and it has to be eaten to believe .

Addition of some coconut paste along with the mustard paste will mellow down the piquancy of mustard if you are one of those whose face turns red and forehead sweats with exposure to this much quantity of mustard... I was one of those some years i am a convert to mustard.....


  1. Can I have a veggie version of this :)? I love this flavour of mustard, but difficult to have fish.....

  2. looks delicious and awesome...

  3. Yes , the most interesting veggie versions are tofu and paneer . Cauliflowers , flat beans and sliced plantains are all very good this way...

  4. Its a wonderful recipe.....its called machha patua in Oriya!!! You can even make it without the banana leaves ( incase you dont find some )...

    Thanks for posting it....lot of people would like to try it out!!

  5. Thank you AOF...yes this fish can be prepared without banana leaves too . On that case it will be called bhapa machh in bengali and probably bhapa machha in oriya :)

  6. very interesting rcipe but can i ask you that if can use silver foil instead of leaves? how is that?

  7. Yes it can be wrapped in foil and steamed in a steamer too . For MW it can be cooked in a bowl with lid.

  8. this recipe is very new for me...thanks for sharing.

  9. Well i dont eat fish :( so i will give this one a miss


  10. Make it with chicken breasts if you don't eat fish. Mustard is a great flavor and you would like it for sure..

    This recipe can be made with prawns too...

  11. Oh Sangeeta you have created the same magic like we create at home. Iilish/ hilsa fish in this preparation tops in fish variety. Too Good

  12. I have always wanted to try this dish. I remember seeing this one of the Madhur Jaffrey's show. Now I got the recipe. Will try it for sure.

  13. Nice recipe with low oil ..will try it for sure...Can you pls tell me for how much time the fish is to be steamed ?

    1. Five to ten minutes(depending on the size of fish steak) if you are using a steamer and two minutes per big piece of fish in MW if done separately. Advisable to MW them individually and not kept together in a bowl. Steamer can have them all together.
      o check if the fish is done, you can prick a toothpick in the parcels, it should pierce easily.