Mustard Fish

Despite having spent a substantial time in Kolkata, my love for fish happened after moving to Delhi when our neighbor introduced us to Mustard Fish cooked in Bihari style. This was very different than the pungent flavored I had in Kolkata. The enthusiasm with which she would cook it every time was infectious!

She is also responsible for getting me to like and enjoy vegetarian food specially litti chokha. Right from lemon tea, to everyday veggies to non-veg, you will end up licking your plate off. One lady who truly has magic in her hands.

She would tell me kitchen stories about her village and I would listen in awe on how normal it was to have a pond at her home and how tons of fish was harvested in one go. I remember her mentioning that cooking for 15-20 people for every meal used to be a normal day at her home. This was easy to understand since she could cook for so many people within no time!

We are now in different cities, but this dish continues to be a regular feature at home. I cherish her enthusiasm and her stories while cooking this dish.  

Serves – 6. Time – 1.5 hour


  1. Rohu Fish – 1 kg
  2. Garlic – 1 Pod medium sized
  3. Cumin whole – 1 tsp heaped
  4. Coriander seeds – 1 tsp heaped
  5. Black pepper whole – 6-7
  6. Black mustard (thick variety) – 1 tsp heaped + 1/2 tsp
  7. Red chili powder – 1 tsp/as per taste + for marination
  8. Turmeric powder – 1 tsp + for marination
  9. Fenugreek seeds – 5-6
  10. Tomatoes grated – 2 medium size
  11. Mustard Oil – Frying fish & 2 tblspns
  12. Water – 700 ml
  13. Salt as per taste


  1. Marinate fish in turmeric, red chili powder & salt for 15 minutes
  2. Deep fry in mustard oil. Use the same oil to make gravy
  3. Grind garlic, cumin, coriander, black pepper, mustard seeds, turmeric
  4. Heat oil and add fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds & chili powder & let it splutter
  5. Add salt, tomatoes, grind paste and cook till oil starts to leave the sides
  6. Add water and bring to a boil
  7. Add the fried fish and boil for another 7-10 minutes
  8. Garnish with coriander leaves


  1. This dish best pairs with steamed rice
  2. Prepare it at least 30 minutes before serving
  3. This dish should not be re-heated. Serve with hot rice and it will be perfect

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