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Bengali Fish Curry

A simple, delicious Bengali fish curry that is traditionally made using Chitol fish, re-created using Lady fish or Whiting. The combination of mustard seeds with kalonji (onion seeds) and other spices and aromatics lend an earthy flavour to the curry that is just perfect with steamed rice.

Bengali fish curry
Bengali fish curry


  1. Clean the fish well. Add 1 tsp turmeric powder and salt, rub well into the fish and keep aside for 10 minutes.
  2. Heat mustard oil in a pan and shallow fry the fish till half done. Remove and keep aside.
  3. In the same oil, fry the potatoes till almost done; remove and keep aside.
  4. You can use the same pan for preparing the curry (there should be around 3-4 tbsp oil to prepare the gravy so add more oil if necessary).
  5. Add the onion seeds followed by the onion paste, grated ginger and garlic. Sauté for 4-5 minutes on low heat constantly stirring.
  6. Then add the tomatoes and green chillies; sauté till the tomatoes are broken down and mushy.
  7. Next add the remaining turmeric powder, cumin powder, chilli powder and sugar; mix well and continue to sauté on low heat till the oil starts appearing at the sides of the masala.
  8. Add 1-2 cups water depending on how much gravy you prefer, season with salt and bring to boil.
  9. Add the fried fish and potatoes to the gravy; cook covered on medium heat for 5 minutes or till the fish has cooked well.
  10. Next add the garam masala, mix well taking care not to break the fish and remove from heat.
  11. Serve warm with steamed rice


  1. 1. 500gms ladyfish; cleaned (head removed)
  2. 1 medium potato; cut into long wedges/strips
  3. 1 large onion; grind to a paste with no water
  4. 3-4 garlic cloves; grated
  5. 1 inch ginger; grated
  6. 1 medium ripe tomato; finely chopped
  7. 1 tsp cumin powder
  8. 1 ½ tsp turmeric powder
  9. 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  10. ¼ tsp onion seeds/kalonji
  11. 4-5 green chillies; slit lengthwise
  12. ½ tsp sugar
  13. Salt, to season
  14. ¼ tsp garam masala
  15. Mustard oil – to fry the fish + make the curry

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