Fish cooked in mustard gravy( Macher Jhaal) 

Traditionally, Bengal has been renowned for its extraordinarily fertile agricultural land and production of paddy. At the same time, the rivers of Bengal are an apparently inexhaustible resource of different varieties of fish. That is why, since the ancient times, rice and fish emerged as the staple food for the Bengalis. Each variety  of fresh water fish involve a different way of being cooked and different set of masalas. In one of my previous posts, I have mentioned how to make a mustard paste. The mustard powder I have used in this particular recipe is a dry mix which can be kept in the fridge for years.This fish known as Rui in Bengali  and comes in all sizes begining from 500 gms to 10 kgs or even more.

Serves 2


  1.  4 fish pieces(any size – Ask your fishmonger to remove the scales and cut the fish into slices)
  2.  2 tbsps mustard powder
  3.  1 large tomato grated
  4.  2 dry red chillies deseeded
  5.  1 fresh green chilli
  6. 1 tsp turmeric powder or as required
  7.  1/2 tsp nigella seeds
  8.  200 ml of water
  9.  2 tbsp mustard oil or any oil of your choice
  10. Salt to taste.


  1. Take 50 gms of  whole yellow mustard, 25 gms of whole black mustard, 2 dry red chillies and grind it to a fine powder and store it in an air- tight jar and keep it in the fridge.
  2. Take 2 tbsps of the powder we made in a bowl. Add 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, the grated tomato and salt and mix well with 200 ml of water.
  3.  After that, marinate the fish with 1/2 tsp of salt and turmeric powder each for around 10 mins.
  4. Take  2 tbsp oil in a non-stick wok and heat it. When hot, add the nigella seeds and put the fish gently into the oil protecting youself and your kitchen by keeping the lid very close to the wok and parallel to your body, almost like a shield. This is done to ensure the hot oil doesn’t spill out. Lower the flame.
  5. Put all your fish one by one.Cover and fry for 2 mins on one side and 1 min on the other.
  6. Add the mustard mix and cover and cook for  10 mins on medium heat.
  7. Add slit green chillies and serve. This will give you a sticky mustard gravy. You can add more water while making the mustard mix to get a consistency of your choice.
  8. It is very important to fry fish in nonstick wok or else you may require lots of oil to deep fry the fish. If there  is less oil fish tends to stick to the pan and you would get  a fish mishmash.
  9. It is normally eaten with plain rice.

Many other alternatives for fish would be tofu, cottage cheese, okra,eggplant, potatoes, and urad dal or mung dal kisses ( bori or vadi) .

    19 thoughts on “ Fish cooked in mustard gravy( Macher Jhaal) 

    1. Ki darun lagche! Mone hoche chobi theke tule kheye ni! Ami mustard seeds banalei teto hoye jaye keno bolo to? Ebar tomar moto kore powder banabo! Thank you for the recipe!

      Liked by 1 person

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