Bengali Mustard Fish Curry

mustard fish curry in a white bowl

Mustard fish curry is white fish fillets cooked in a wonderfully spicy and flavorful mustard and chilli sauce.

  • Author: Saima
  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 12 fish fillets or 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Pan frying
  • Cuisine: Indian


  • 1.4 pound or 680 grams white fish fillet
  • 3 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric, ground
  • 1/8 tsp nigella seeds - also known as kalonji
  • 1/4 cup mustard oil, smoked or any cooking oil
  • 3-4 small green thai chillies


  1. Soak the mustard seeds in about 1/2 cup water for 2 or more hours. Grind the seeds along with one green chilli and water in a small blender to get a grainy yellow paste.
  2. While the mustard seeds are soaking, rub the fish fillets with half a teaspoon turmeric and salt. Keep it in a cool place for half an hour.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a frypan and shallow fry the marinated fish on medium heat until golden brown on both sides. The fillets need not be cooked through, just seared to seal in the juices. Remove onto a platter and keep aside.
  4. In the same frypan in which you fried the fish, add the remaining oil, nigella seeds and green chillies. After a few seconds add the mustard paste prepared in step 1 along the remaining 1/2 tsp turmeric and 1/2 cup water. Cook this curry on low heat until it thickens (10-12 minutes).
  5. Gently slide in the fish fillets into the curry and make sure they are coated with the masala completely. Simmer for 5-6 minutes until the fish has absorbed most of the masala. Serve hot with rice.


  1. If using mustard oil, it is essential to smoke it first. Heat the oil in a saucepan until it starts smoking and changes to a pale yellow color. Let it cool down to room temperature and use it for frying the fish.
  2. Use frozen fillets if fresh fish is not available.
  3. Be gentle with the fish fillets as they are delicate and can break easily.
  4. Reduce the quantity of thai green chillies if you want a less hot curry. Or use another milder variety.
  5. Nigella seeds are also optional. Omit them by all means.
  6. Adjust the quantity of water for the gravy according to your preference. If you want more gravy add more water.


Keywords: mustard fish curry, bengali fish curry