Recipes from Bengal, India: Bengali Fish Curry

Recipes from Bengal, India

Bengali Fish Curry

Country: Bengal India
Course: Main
Makes: 4-6 servings

For the spice mix:

  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 dried hot red chiles
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 2 green cardamom pods
  • 1-inch cinnamon stick

For the fish:

  • 2 lbs firm white fish, cut into bite-sized pieces (I used cod)
  • 3/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp canola oil

For the sauce:

  • 3/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated and peeled
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Indian bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup plain whole milk yogurt


  1. Put the spice mix ingredients in a grinder or mortar and pestle and crush to a fine powder. Set aside.
  2. Cut the fish up into chunks and place in a large bowl with the salt and turmeric powder. Toss until all your fish pieces are a nice yellow color.
  3. Heat the canola oil and fry the fish until it is lightly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  4. Add a little more oil to the pan (if needed), then add the chopped onions. Saute until translucent.
  5. Add the ginger, garlic and bay leaf and cook for one or two minutes. Then add the spice mix and cook for another couple of minutes.
  6. Pour in the water along with the salt and sugar. Then take the pan off the heat and add the yogurt, stirring until all the ingredients are well-incorporated. Put the pot back on the stove over low heat and cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
  7. Return the fish and any juices to the pot and continue to cook over low heat, for five minutes or until the fish is cooked through. Take out the bay leaf and serve over steamed basmati rice.