Tangra Maacher Jeere Lonka Jhol

A traditional Bengali-style fish curry recipe that gets its beautiful balance of flavours from the spice of the green chillies, the pungency of mustard and the lingering aroma of jeera. This is a recipe I discovered in my mother’s handwritten cookbook. It’s a balance of spice from the green chillies and pungency of the mustard. Any small fish can be used for this, and it will taste just as good.


  • 6-8 Tangra/ Black Catfish (Medium-Sized Pieces & Use the Full Fish)
  • 3 Tablespoons Mustard Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Kala Jeera (Nigella Seeds)
  • 1 Teaspoon Mustard Powder
  • 1.5 Teaspoon Coarse Jeera Powder
  • 4-5 Green Chillis (You Can Add or Decrease as Per Your Spice Tolerance)
  • 2 Tablespoon Coriander Leaves (Chopped)
  • Salt to Taste
  • Marinate Fish With – 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/5 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Chilli Powder


Prep: 10 minutes
Cooking: 20 minutes

  1. Wash and clean the fish well.
  2. Place on a flat tray and marinate the fish with salt, turmeric and chilli powder for 20-30 minutes. Place in the refrigerator.
  3. In a mortar and pestle, crush green chilli and jeera powder until you reach a paste-like consistency.
  4. To this, add mustard powder along with a pinch of salt and make a paste by adding water (make sure this is enough to make a gravy and adjust the salt and spice according to your taste preferences).
  5. Remove the marinated fish from the fridge and keep aside.
  6. Next, in a hot pan add 3 tablespoon mustard oil. Once the oil is smoky, add the fish and fry 3-4 minutes on each side on a medium-high flame (if the fish starts to burn, lower the flame). Remove fish and set aside.
  7. In the same hot oil, add the kala jeera and let it splutter.
  8. Next, add the green chilli, jeera and mustard powder paste in the pan and stir until oil and paste combine.
  9. Braise the masala until the oil starts to separate (keep adding spoonsful of water one at a time if you notice the masala sticking to the pan). Add 2 slit green chillies and warm water (as much required for the gravy). Cover the pan and let the gravy come to a boil.
  10. After 10 minutes, remove the lid and taste the gravy to check salt and other flavours. Make additions if required.
  11. Add the fish and chopped coriander leaves and cook on low heat for 5 minutes and then turn off the gas.
  12. This fish curry is best served with hot rice and some seasonal veggies for a well-balanced meal.