Mustard Fish/ Chicken

I have a very deep connection to the city of Calcutta, which is in the eastern part of India. My grandmother – Mataji, lived there for most of her life and she always served the simplest but most amazing food.

I just love the food in Calcutta – everything is delicious from the street food to home food.  The fish especially is truly something to die for! Here is my family’s version of a very popular fish curry dish called Macher Jhol ( which means spicy fish). In our home, we call it Mustard Fish.

You can substitute chicken for fish , if you would like.

Mustard Fish

Mustard Fish

2 pounds of any whitefish cut into thick  2 inch cubes or chicken cut in cubes

1 tablespoon panch phorun ( available at Indian grocery stores)

Pinch of asofetida (hing)

2 bay leaves

2-3 whole red chilies

1 teaspoon turmeric (haldi)

1 teaspoon coriander powder (dhaniya)

1 teaspoon amchur (dry mango powder)

3 tablespoons mustard oil ( available at Indian grocery stores)

1 cup chopped cilantro

Grind together:

6 cloves garlic

1 inch ginger

4 plum tomatoes

1 onion

Grind together:

¼ cup white mustard seeds (rai)

1 tablespoon jeera

3 tablespoons water


  • Heat mustard oil to smoking point
  • Add the panch phorun, bay leaves and pinch of asofetida.
  • Add whole red chili
  • Cook for a minute.
  • Add salt to taste.
  • Add 1 teaspoons turmeric.
  • Add 1 teaspoon coriander powder (dhaniya).
  • Add 1 teaspoon amchur and chili powder to taste.
  • Fry the mixture well.
  • Add the ground tomato and onion paste.
  • Cover and cook well for about 15 minutes.

Mustard Fish

  • Add the ground mustard paste.
  • Cook for 10 minutes.
  • Add the cubed fish.

Mustard Fish

  • Add 2 cups of water.
  • Cook well until the fish is cooked and the curry thickens a bit.
  • Add chopped cilantro and serve hot with white basmati rice.

Mustard Fish

One thought on “Mustard Fish/ Chicken

  1. one of the things i loved most about bengal was the food… particularly the fish. have spent 20 years in rural bengal and assam… miss the fish real bad, but try to make do with what i can get here.
    can anyone give me a special recipe for dried fish and dried river prawns?

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