Flip Cookbook

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Fish in Mustard Sauce

The region of Bengal has such a strong identity and culture. Often overshadowed internationally by the rest of India and Pakistan, this is the home of artistic giants like Rabindranath Tagore, Asia’s first Nobel laureate and composer of India’s and Bangladesh’s national anthem.

When it comes to fish, the Bengalis have their stuff down. If you ever meet a Bengali, you would probably be right if you guessed that they’ve just eaten fish in their last meal. Given their love for fish and my need to expand my fish preparation beyond the grill, this recipe crossed my path quite naturally.

Although the fish is cooked in freshly prepared mustard paste, the end result is a mellow flavor with a bit of spice. You can eat this as a curry with rice or simply eat the fillets covered with the delicious veggies and sauce. Enjoy!

Fish in Mustard Sauce

Makes: 2 – 4 servings
Ready in: 35 minutes (20 minutes marinating + 15 minutes prep and cook)


  • 0.75 pounds of white fish (I used cod)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (divided)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric (divided)
  • 2 tablespoons brown mustard seeds
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 2 green chilies
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • cilantro (coriander) to garnish (about 1/4 cup chopped) (optional)


1. Place fish in a single layer in a container. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon turmeric on the fish. Rub it in using your fingers.

2. Using a blender, grind the mustard seeds, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon turmeric with 1/4 – 1/2 cup water to form a fine paste. Congratulations, you just made your very own mustard! Please note that this tastes very strong – but don’t worry, the taste will mellow out with everything else we’re going to do.

3. Pour the mustard paste onto the fish. Lift the fish and allow some of the paste to coat the bottom of the container so that both sides of the fish are covered. Cover the container and allow the fish to marinate at room temperature for at least 20 minutes. If you plan to marinate for longer, place the container into your refrigerator. You can marinate for hours.

4. Slit the green chili in half.

5. Dice the tomato.

6. Heat the olive oil on high heat. Add the green chilies. Stir while it fries for about 20 seconds.

7. Add the tomatoes and stir-fry it for another 20 seconds.

8. Add 1 cup water and bring to a boil.

9. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the fish and the sauce. Stir the sauce a bit (not too much) to mix it with the tomatoes. Allow the fish to cook for 5 minutes. You may want to use a splatter screen.

10. Flip the fish and allow it to cook for about another 3 minutes until it is cooked. Fish should flake easily with a fork when done.

11. Serve hot garnished with cilantro. Eat it as a curry with rice or if you’re on SCD, eat the fillets with a side of vegetables like sautéed spinach.

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8 Responses to Fish in Mustard Sauce

  1. Rita says:

    Sounds like a easy take on a well-loved Bengali recipe. But you should correct the intro about Bengal that you have here because it’s absolutely wrong! Bengal is not a country. Pre-partition, it was the kingdom of Bengal, a part of India. A region much coveted by the British and the birthplace of the British East India Company. After partition, Bengal was divided up into West Bengal, which is a state in India and East Pakistan. Then East Pakistan had a war of independence and became the country we now know as Bangladesh. Bangladesh is a Muslim country but both West Bengal and Bangladesh share in their culinary traditions and the love of fish, and seafood in general, is common to both.

    Check for more details of this region here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bengal

    • Raj says:

      Hi Rita! Thanks for the clarification! I updated the post. This definitely is an easy way to incorporate a popular Bengali flavor. I hope you enjoy it.

  2. Rita says:

    Sorry, I didn’t see that you’d already linked to the wiki page, but if read the information on the page, you’ll see what I mean.

  3. Tracee says:

    This looks so good and colorful. I love spicy flavors with fish.

  4. Jayu says:

    I will recommend this one to my bengali friend Sudha! Looks very tempting if you are fish lover.

  5. Jaspreet says:

    This is a great recipe, have always wanted to learn the bengali way of cooking fish. Do post some more..thanks!

  6. Pingback: Mustard-Seasoned Meals You Must Try | Yummly

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