Macher Kalia (Bengali Special Fish Curry)

Macher Kalia is one fish curry that Ma (my mother) used to prepare on special occasions when she got bored of consuming the same old simple tomato-based light stew-like gravy. This is actually a Bengali dish and not an ethnic Assamese one.

Ma had many Bengali friends during her college days so she was acquainted with many such dishes. She also learnt some good Assamese-Mughlai dishes from her Assamese-Muslim friends, which I will post soon.

This curry is prepared with normally the Rohu fish, which is a river fish and sweet. It belongs to the Carp species of the fish family. In Assamese, we call it Rou whereas in Bengali it is Rui.


Rohu fish pieces – this is the way it is usually given by the fish monger.


Fish being pan-fried before using in the curry

This post is in memory of Ma’s special fish curry.

Macher Kalia

1 cup = 250 ml
Recipe source: Food Lover’s Own World

  • Rui / Katla mach (Rohu or Katla fish) 4-5 pieces (pieces should be little more than 1″ thick)
  • Potato – 2 medium (cut into quarters)
  • Onion – 1 large, grind to a paste
  • Ginger-garlic-chilli paste (1″ ginger piece, 2 fat cloves of garlic and 3 green chilli peppers, ground to a paste)
  • Tomato 1 large (pureed)
  • Turmeric powder, as required
  • Salt and sugar, to taste
  • Whole Cinnamon – 1-inch piece
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 2 cloves
  • Garam Masala powder – 1/4 tsp
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 Dry red chilli pepper
  • Oil, preferably Mustard oil – 6 to 7 tbsp
  • Ghee/Clarified Butter – 1 tsp
  1. Clean & wash the fish and drain it. Leave it for sometime on a strainer or wipe it dry with paper towels.
  2. Marinate the fish pieces with salt and turmeric.DSC_0088
  3. Wash the potato quarters and marinate the same way.
  4. Heat oil in a shallow pan – I use a non-stick pan. Fry/Sear the fish pieces to a nice golden colour. Flip on the other side. Drain on tissue paper when done.DSC_0115 DSC_0124
  5. Do the same with the marinated potato quarters. Fry to a nice golden colour and drain on absorbent tissues.DSC_0133
  6. Now prepare the curry: To the remaining oil, add the whole spices – cardamom, cinnamon and cloves. Add the bay leaves and the dry red chilli pepper.DSC_0138
  7. Add sugar and caramelise.
  8. Add the onion paste and saute till the raw smell is gone and it changes to a nice brown colour. Take care to keep stirring so as not to burn it to avoid the paste turning bitter.DSC_0146 DSC_0147
  9. Now, add the ginger-garlic-chilli paste and fry it till the oil separates.DSC_0148
  10. Mix 1/4 tsp turmeric powder with 2 tbsp of water and add to the pan. Cook till the water evaporates.
  11. Add the tomato puree and cook it till the raw smell is gone and oil separates from it.

    I added chopped tomatoes in place of puree hence the image. But puree is preferred.


  12. Add the fried potatoes and salt and mix well. Cover the pan and cook over low heat for a few minutes.DSC_0155 DSC_0159
  13. Add 1 and a half cups hot water to the pan and bring it to a boil. Cook covered over low heat for about 4-5 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked.DSC_0161 DSC_0164
  14. Add the fish pieces to the gravy and cook it for 2-3 minutes so that they absorb the flavours of the gravy.DSC_0165
  15. Once done, turn off the heat and add ghee and garam masala powder. Cover with lid and let it stand for sometime to infuse the flavours.DSC_0168
  16. Serve with steaming hot boiled rice.

I hope you will try out this recipe and let me know how it turned out. I will come back with more recipes.

2 thoughts on “Macher Kalia (Bengali Special Fish Curry)

    • Thanks so much Agomonee for stopping by and appreciating my blog. 🙂 I just started being active this July although it was lying around for a the past few years. 😛 Hopefully, I can continue this pace :D. Do drop by again. I promise to come up with more great ones 😛


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