Spicy Bengali Fish Curry

Post image for Spicy Bengali Fish Curry

by Sara on January 31, 2011

My friend Lani has been generous agian for teaching me such a flavorful & tasty Bengali fish curry. I found this recipe to be very simple to make yet the results are mouthwatering! Below is her version of the recipe and its origin. Thank you Lani for your contribution!

As much as Bengalis, originally from West Bengal, India or Bangladesh, love their meat dishes and kababs, they are most well-known for their love of fish. The endless variety of fish and prawns caught from the mighty rivers of that region provide a staple food for the population.  The love of this healthy protein is carried in the hearts of Bengalis wherever they live around the world.  Even my own parents take their fish very seriously!  When living in New Jersey, I remember my dad, every spring season, would drive miles and miles to meet up with an old fisherman who caught American Shad, which is as close to the famous Bangladeshi “Hilsa or Ilish” as he could get.  He would buy at least 40 large fish and freeze them and of course share it with those who shared the same passion!

Above are some of the  pictures taken by Lani’s husband Dr. Siddique on there recent trip to Bangladesh

The recipe below is as simple as a true fish curry can get. My parents taught me to add potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, cauliflower, mustard seed paste and even lentil dumplings (bori) to their fish dishes, but I’ve provided the basic recipe that can be embellished as you wish.  The credit for this recipe and learning proper preparation of fish goes to my sister-in-law, Tania, who taught me to wash the fish thoroughly and use lots of onions and oil. Don’t be alarmed by the amount of oil, as it is needed to properly sauté the onions and create a nice gravy. The oil can be skimmed off later. Fish steaks are preferable to use, just watch out for the bones!

This recipe will transport you to green, peaceful,  rural Bengal.

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Shauna January 31, 2011 at 3:29 am

Yum! Spicy Fish Curry looks delish!

Linda January 31, 2011 at 3:30 am

oooh spicy and good! :)

Tabu January 31, 2011 at 3:32 am

Damn, this fish curry looks good! I’m gonna make this soon!

Nisrine|Dinners & Dreams January 31, 2011 at 3:35 am

Such pretty pictures of Bngladesh. I love curry but have never had it with fish.

Olga @ MangoTomato January 31, 2011 at 3:37 am

looks so flavorful!

manju January 31, 2011 at 4:10 am

mmmm…great fish curry! pics are superb!

Jenna January 31, 2011 at 4:47 am

Spicy Goodness! Love the pics!

Nadia January 31, 2011 at 5:45 am

wow, Dr. Siddique’s pics are beautiful! I love this fish curry, very beautiful. Bengalis are known for their fish dishes, so I’m sure this is delicious!

Prerna@IndianSimmer January 31, 2011 at 5:48 am

Oh wow, your frnd is an excellent photographer! LOVE that shot of the beautiful kid :-)
And that is one awesome looking fish curry!

meeta January 31, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Lovely lovely pictures and a post that really made me smile. I am loving the heat and warmth this curry has.

Kulsum at JourneyKitchen January 31, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Such a lovely curry Sara. Love the pictures and the post.

Jamie January 31, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Beautiful photos! The rare times we cook fish at home husband usually makes tagine but this is such a wonderful, flavorful alternative I must show him the recipe. Sounds so delicious!

foodwanderings January 31, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Greay fish curry!! Love the pics Sara!! Funny I got the same spice box, but no surprise there:). Great post as always. Shulie

katelyn January 31, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Lovely Curry Dish! yummo!

Ameena January 31, 2011 at 4:59 pm

A good friend of mine is from Bangladesh and makes something similar to this…it looks amazing Sara!

And I am impressed your dad would not only drive far away to purchase 40 fish but had enough freezer space to store them. :)

Soma February 1, 2011 at 1:24 am

I had to come running here as soon as I spotted this in the reader. a taste of my home.. and I am getting emotional and nostalgic. I have never been to Bangladesh, but there is not much difference between West Bengal and Bangladesh and right now I want this with some plain white rice!

marla {family fresh cooking} February 1, 2011 at 2:40 am

Oh how I love being transported to Bengal with this beautiful fish curry. At first I thought it would be difficult, but the ingredient list is very accessible to all! Great photos!

Jeanne @ CookSister! February 1, 2011 at 10:43 am

What breathtaking pictures! Together with the aroma of the curry (which i can almost smell through my screen!), this post transports me to another place. Thank you!

Karen Schuld February 1, 2011 at 1:17 pm

love your recipes — fish curry is a favorite

Lael Hazan @educatedpalate February 1, 2011 at 1:22 pm

What a wonderful tour through the photos, simply beautiful. Of course the fish stew looks delectable too, maybe I could learn to brave the heat.

Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen February 1, 2011 at 1:38 pm

It’s always great to get the history of a dish and learn more about the culture and it’s origins. I really loved looking at those photographs.

Sue @ JustforLicks February 2, 2011 at 2:20 am

Of all of the things I could have for dinner tonight, I’d choose this. It looks like the perfect meal. Beautiful pictures.

Sara February 2, 2011 at 7:13 am

Thank you ALL for your sweet comments and visiting my blog! xoxo

Faith February 2, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Such gorgeous pictures, Sara! I would love to visit Bengal. The curry sounds amazing too!

rebecca February 2, 2011 at 9:25 pm

yum adore fish curries :-) wow wow

Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. February 2, 2011 at 9:28 pm

amazing recipe and photos! wonderful!

sharizat February 3, 2011 at 1:54 am

it sounds delish! so simple too! must try! i’ve been contemplating a fish dish :)

Bria @ West of Persia February 3, 2011 at 3:09 am

That’s a great story about your dad. The fish looks fabulous!

Deeba February 4, 2011 at 9:24 am

Great story, so much connect, and lovely spicy fish curry. YUM!!

Robyn | Add a Pinch February 4, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! The recipe and the photography.

Lora @cakeduchess February 4, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Lovely post bella Sara. This fish curry is fabulous !Incredible photos. You can come defrost here and make this for me and I will make you a crostata:)Deal?xx

Rosa February 4, 2011 at 3:54 pm

What gorgeous pictures! That dish is awesome. I am a sucker for curries.



Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking February 4, 2011 at 7:25 pm

Sara, this fish curry looks delicious and your photography is just stunning. Thanks so much for sharing. I’m so glad to have found your beautiful blog and look forward to seeing more! :) – Georgia

Carolyn Jung February 5, 2011 at 5:38 pm

I feel like I just took an exotic trip just looking at these lovely photos. The curry dish sounds great, especially those lentil dumplings.

shayma February 12, 2011 at 1:15 am

beautiful photos, Sara- and such a gorgeous dish. i love hilsa- spent a few years in Dhaka. lovely, fragrant dish, Lani. xxx shayma

Jitendra May 17, 2011 at 11:33 am


Sumayya Jamil January 21, 2012 at 8:47 pm

wow stunning in every way – gorgeous photos and I adore this fish, my aunt is from bengal and this was a regular in her home – adored it – S x

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