Mustard Fish Curry

Since I’ve moved to Mumbai, I am striving desperately for reasons to like it and feel at home here; well the city is taking it’s time to return the love. That shouldn’t be a surprise though. Many like me, come with aspirations of thousand colours in this humid promising city of billion shades. It gives, gives to everyone but one at a time. It gives little to some, a lot to few. Some get just enough to pack and live out of plastic bags; eat, breed and die under the shade of fly over, by the busy road; Some ride finest of the cars, size of some of the living spaces, on the same road cursing the increasing pot holes and filth under the shade of fly over..This city takes time to love you back. 

When bigger things are taking time to get sorted, find solace in smaller ones; I remind myself the same everyday. So I look out for simple joys; walk by the beach, a nice pool to swim and yes the near by farmer’s market. This is our weekend ritual now, a stress buster. Fresh vegetables, greens and a lot of fish; big, small, prawns, squid, crabs you name it. This fish stinking market has all. A lot of fish for our freezer as well. 

Fish CurryHavent made fish curry in long time so this time it was going to be curry. Fish and mustard, i believe, were made to go with each other. They are the best duo. The sharpness of mustard never lets the fish go dull and doesn’t let you forget the taste of the curry either. This taste is marked and stamped in my palate since i remember eating fish. Not vividly but since the hazy memory of mom picking out the bones with her fingers and feeding the pearly white mash of tender fish, i knew fish is what mustard makes it.

I take my time to make this curry. Start with roasting the masalas a little bit..why? Roasted coriander, cumin and mustard give their all to the dish. Enhance the aroma and taste by hundred folds, that is why. You will thank for how your kitchen smelt. So roast coriander seeds, cumin, mustard, one or may be two dry red chili. Roast just enough that it start to release it’s aroma. Ground these coarsely, i use my mortar and pestle. Yes coarse. Add half of it to the fish along with some turmeric, red chili, lemon juice and salt.  Bind all the together with little bit of mustard oil and let the fish soak all of it and forget about it for at least an hour.Fish

Once marinated, you can go ahead and deep fry it. I however have slightly fried it here. Pat the fish in all purpose flour and fry crisp both the sides. Keep it aside and get onto gravy. Finely chop the onions and tomatoes. Grind ginger, garlic, green chili and mustard seeds, yes again.

Of course it has to be made in mustard oil. Heat mustard oil in a wok or kadhai. Fry onions till golden brown, then add ginger garlic paste. Make a paste of rest of the roasted spices, turmeric powder, red chili powder and salt with little water and add to the kadhai. Keep a note of the spices as you have already  added some spices in fish marination. Add finely chopped tomatoes and let it all cook perfectly. When done add some water and wait for it to boil. Add fish pieces and let it simmer on low flame. In a couple of minutes fish curry is done.Fish Curry
So this is how you make the fish curry which is all about mustard. First thing you notice about this fish curry is smell. The abundance of aromas hits you. The smell of fish muddled with mustard, hint of coriander and cumin with dry red chili is what your kitchen should smell like.always, if possible. The smell that makes you hungry instantly. As you bite into the juicy and soft fish your palate explores the tangy, pungent sharpness of flavors with tenderness of fish meat. Coupled with rice, this dish is something which leaves the taste on your tongue for a long long time and you crave for it so bad on a random warm day when big things need to get sorted.

Mustard Fish Curry
Serves 4
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Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
  1. 1/2 kg fish
  2. 2 tbsp mustard seeds
  3. 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  4. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  5. 1 tsp turmeric powder
  6. 1 tsp red chili powder
  7. 2 dry red chili
  8. 2-3 green chili powder
  9. 1 big onion
  10. 1 tomato
  11. 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  12. 1 tsp lemon juice
  13. Bunch of coriander leaves
  14. 1/2 tsp garam masala
  15. 3 tbsp mustard oil
  1. Wash and clean the fish thoroughly. I have used ravas or Indian salmon here.
  2. Roast coriander, cumin and 1 tbsp mustard seeds along with dry red chili. Once spices start to release aroma, take it off the flame. Grind all these coarsely.
  3. Add one tbsp of this masala in fish, half of turmeric powder, red chili powder, salt and lemon juice. Sprinkle 1 tsp of mustard oil and leave it to marinate for at least an hour.
  4. Once marinated, pat the fish pieces in all purpose flour and shallow fry till golden brown on both the sides. You can deep fry the fish if you like.
  1. Finely chop onions and tomatoes.
  2. Grind ginger, garlic and rest of the mustard seeds together.
  3. In a wok or kadhai, heat mustard oil. When heated add some cumin seeds
  4. Add onions and fry till golden brown.
  5. Add ginger garlic paste at this point and let it to cook.
  6. Add chopped tomatoes and cook some more.
  7. In a bowl make a paste of rest of turmeric powder,chili powder and salt with water. Add this in the kadhai and let it cook until masala start sticking at the bottom of the pan.
  8. When cooked, add a glass of water and let it come to boil. Add fish pieces and let it simmer for couple of more minutes.
  9. Make sure not to disturb fish pieces once in curry or you will break the tender fish pieces.
  10. Add garam masala powder and coriander leaves to garnish.
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