Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Fishy Fishy Bong Bong or Doi Maach


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The title might sound ludicrous but I couldn’t just get it out of my head. Since the last couple of days this is the line that hums in my mind. You know how it happens, when a particular phrase gets into your system and you just can’t flush it out. The same thing happened when I read Seemas post on “Tindora in Coconut Gravy” aka "Huli Menasina Kodilu". I loved that name. It kept on reminding me of movies like “Hassena Maan Jayegi” or “Hum apke Hain Kaun” and though I don’t know ABC of Kannada I kept on humming that name to myself.

On another note, I went and watched “Casino Royale” at the theatres with D last night. Yeah went and watched it with D my legally wedded husband so what is so surprising that I have to write it in my blog. That’s because this is the first movie we watched in the theatres all by our self (barring the numerous other people in the same theatre watching the same movie) sans my little daughter. A big step for parent kind, so I better chronicle it.

Doi Maach (ch as in chair)or Fish in Yogurt Sauce is a typical Bengali dish which is light, easy to prepare and yet is a favorite as a dish you would serve your guests on those special occasions. I made this with Rohu (a fresh water fish from the carp family) or Rui Mach , which I procured from my Bangladeshi Fish seller. You can also try with other fish like carp, buffalo carp, fresh water bass. Salmon should also be a good bet.If the fish is very fresh and firm as in back home, my Ma or Ma-in law does this without frying the fish. I however always lightly fry the fish and I am presenting here that version

Get this recipe in my Book coming out soon. Check this blog for further updates. 

What You Need
Fish(Rohu or Rui) – 8 pieces large
Onion ~ grind to paste about 2 medium ~ about 5-7 tbsp heaped
Ginger ~ 2 - 3 tsp paste
Yogurt ~ 1/2 cup
Turmeric Powder ~ ½ tsp
Red Chilli Powder ~ ½ tsp
Green Chillies ~ 8 cut in slits

Whole Garam Masala
Elaichi or Cardamom~ 5/6
Laung or Cloves~ 5/6
TejPata or BayLeaves~ 3
Dalchini or Cinnamon Sticks ~ 1” stick

Sugar ~ 1tsp

How I Do It

Clean the fish pieces and lightly rub with salt and turmeric. Keep aside for half an hour
Grind the onion to a fine paste.
Heat Oil in Kadai/Frying Pan.
When the oil is sufficiently hot, add the fish and lightly fry till light golden. Take out the fish and keep aside. If you are a fastidious cook you would put them on a kitchen towel to drain the oil.
In a bowl add 1/2 cup of yogurt/curd and add about 1/3 cup of water and beat till its smooth in consistency. Add to this 1-2 tsp of ginger paste, 2 tbsp of onion paste, ½ tsp of red chilli powder, a little of turmeric powder for the color and beat.
Heat Oil now for cooking the gravy
Add the coarsely pounded whole garam masala
When they start sputtering add the remaining onion paste
Add about 1 tsp of sugar and fry the onion paste till the oil separates and the onion turns a light brown
Add about 1 tsp of ginger paste and the green chillies and sauté well
Now take the Kadai/Frying Pan off the heat and give it a couple of minutes to cool
Add the beaten yogurt/curd and mix with the masala. If you add the yogurt directly when the utensil is on heat the curd may curdle so you need to do this
Put back the Kadai/Frying Pan on heat.
Add salt as required .Add about 1/2 - 2/3 cup of water at this point. depending on how much gravy you need you might need more or less water.
Simmer on low heat till the gravy comes to a boil
Add the fried fish pieces, they should partially submerge in the gravy. Let it simmer till the excess water dries off and the gravy is thick, smooth and coats all the fish pieces. The texture of the gravy should be silky smooth because of all that yogurt. Note: the gravy will not dry off totally but will be thick and not watery
Garnish with raisins if you want
Add a tsp of Ghee if you are lean or your guests are and you don’t have to worry about mundane things like your blood lipid level or you just don’t care and want your doi maach to taste just right.

Update on 02/22/09: I have seen two comments which say they found the ginger to be more. Now when I make this fish, the fish pieces I used are pretty large so I add some water (about 2/3 cup) to the gravy and let the gravy simmer on low heat till I get a silky consistency. Also we always have this with rice. Maybe for these reasons we don't find the ginger to be too much and it suits our taste. You are always welcome to make changes to suit your palate and you can reduce the ginger if you want


Enjoy this dish with white rice or pulao. You can serve it for either lunch or dinner.

I am sending this recipe which is a traditional Bengali fish dish as an entry for the FAHC campaign. The very well known food blog My Dhaba by VKN has embarked on a group book project 'You Can Cook for FAHC Campaign', as a mission to fight against global poverty. I am pleased to support this effort and urge all food lovers to contribute. Many of you must have already contributed, if not please do, GO HERE and check the details

I do sincerely hope this project is succesful and is able to help in it's own way towards feeding a hungry child.
Trivia:In Bengali wedding there is a ceremony which precedes the main wedding. This ceremony is called "Gaye Holud" meaning applying a paste of turmeric & oil to the bride & the groom in their respective homes. The groom's side sends the turmeric paste for the bride to her house and along with that sends a hoard of other things like sweets, spices, clothes, utensils etc. The fish being an important part of a Bengali life a huge whole Rohu fish decorated and sometimes with a small nose ring is sent over to the brides place.


  1. Yet another otherwise (probably) delicious recipe I must fore go. :(

    Hope you enjoyed Casino Royale - I thought you were going to somehow work the Bond angle into this post !

    Happy New Year !

  2. Bongo
    Now that you say it I want to rename my post to
    "Fishy Fishy Bond Bond"
    How was the Beer Chicken ?

  3. fishy fishy bong bong? i could die laughing, sandeepa ... it's really punny. and i did see that fish all decorated and being sent off to the bride's house on a series called The Great Indian Wedding - they even put a bindi on it, I don't remember the nose ring, though ... it was cute and sort of surreal at the same time - like, could I be really seeing something like this? But that's what Incredible India is all about! Happy New Year!

  4. Hi Sandeepa that's a really good name you choose.. I really like humming it "Fishy fishy bong bong". I never tried fish curry with yogurt...will try it. I also have a recipe of fish curry in my draft will be posting it soon.

  5. Sandeepa love your singy song fish name and the fish dish sounds delicious. It is indeed a big step, how was Casino Royale, no such luck for us, have to wait for it on DVD.

  6. Hi Sra
    Where did you see "The Great Indian Wedding" ? I haven't seen wedding from other regions from India except the North and would love to see this show.

    This fish curry kinda suits other palate not accustomed to Bengali food well

    "Casino Royale" was unlike any other Bond movie, do not wacth it as "another" Bond flick. good you can watch movie at home, even that happens rarely.
    How old are the kids ? Can they go to the theatres with you to watch some non-kiddie movies ?

  7. Many thanks for supporting the FAHC project, as you may or may not know, I am managing the FAHC project and all the contributions are really welcomed. Send in more if yo wish. Hey Fishy Fishy looks great even though I don't eat fish...~grin~...Take care and thanks

  8. Your presentation is really nice...even though I don't eat fish, but after looking at your creation, I can think of changing my mind :)

    Happy New Year!

    Love, Nidhi.

  9. Hilarious title, Sandeepa..:)

    First time commenting here and must tell that you have a great blog going here and look forward to learn more about Bengali cuisine. Love fish - only mackarel though..:)

    May the new year usher in happiness and blessings to you and your family!

    Happy New Year!!


  10. I love Doi Maach and yours looks EXACTLY like my mother's probably tastes like that too. No kidding.....BTW, love the traditional Bengali recipes on your blog and your write-ups.

    If you have any nice salmon recipes, do share them. I only make it with sorshe bata and would love some new recipes.

    Wish you and your family a very Happy New Year!

  11. Hi, think I saw it either on Discovery Travel or on NDTV Profit, am not sure.

  12. oh my, can't stop laughing :D
    Love your recipe and your dish, beauitful!
    And happy new year!

  13. DiliPJi
    Appreciate your help for FAHC.. Kudos to you

    If you eat non-veg try fish once

    Sailaja, Sj, Gattina
    Thanks so much


  14. Awesome recipe, I wish i could fly over to your place right now..:) sandeepa, great looking pic. wishing you and your family a happy new year with lot's of cheer :)

  15. We love fish. I haven't tasted many Bengali dishes but always wanted to taste them. Your blog looks great.

  16. Lera, Shilpa
    Do try this. It's easier than any other bengali fish curry

  17. Many thanks Sandeepa for this exotic offering in the group book project. Let me proudly tell you that this is the first fish recipe that we received at the project.

    Here is the update...

    Total contributions received so far - 62
    Goal is 365 recipes, all from public domain, written by 300+ authors.

    So, as you can see we are reaching the target slowly but steadily...

    Happy seasons greeting! Wish you a great year ahead. Cheers!

  18. Hi Sandeepa,

    This is my first time visiting your site. I am also a bengali from Calcutta living in US now, Maryland to be specific.

    Needless to say, I absolutely loved your fish recipes. I read the Malaikari and Doi Mach and couldn't help writing back to you.

    A very quick question, can you let me know some bangladeshi fish store in NJ. I couldn't find any such store in MD and wouldn't mind the drive to NJ for fish!! Such a big fan of fish :o)

    Thank you so much!

  19. Can you please post the recipe for Shorshe Chingri Bhape?
    Soybean Sprouts diye Mocha was delicious! brilliant idea! Thanks a lot.. won't miss mochar ghonto any more.

  20. Hi Sandeepa,
    I made this dish.. and its awesome!!!!! Can you post some recipes on Tangra fish?

  21. hi sandeepa, i am very happy to come across your site.i also live in US, Marylandeverything is good here unfortunately i have not found any good fish, i generally buy tilapia from gandmart but it has a peculiar sea water smell which is very diffetent from what we ate in dying to eat good bengali food and good fish..can u plz tell me where u get yr fish from?

  22. Hi!
    Great pic as well as recipe.
    Just to let u know if u add half a teaspoon of besan with the curd, it won't curdle while adding.

  23. Hi,

    I tried this dish the other day. In the first go, it had a very strong taste of ginger. Is that how it is supposed to taste? (Am relatively new to bengali cuisine) I then added a bit more curd with besan. After this , it was very delicious.

  24. Thanks for the recipe.

    I tried it last night using salmon filets and it turned out very tasty.

    I love Indian food, but I don't have much experience cooking it. I can say that this recipe is very easy to cook once you get all the vegetables prepped.

  25. hi
    I am also a bong & I loved the title Fishy fishy bong bong & paln to quote it . Me & my daughter had a hearty laugh when we read the title . I love doi machh ahve always loved all my life . Send us some recepie of mourala machh

  26. Hi Sandeepa Boudi (since you are probably my sister-in-law's age),

    I made the doi-maach this morning. An aunt of mine used to make this and it compared to no one else's doi-maach - not even my mother's - and I miss eating it terribly. Yours looked like my aunt's so I gave it a shot. It came out perfect - the same smell and silky smoothness of the yoghurt! I am a good cook, but I learnt most of my cooking away from home and mostly either from Punjabis or from cookbooks.

    But thanks again. I will keep making this. By the way, the Rui maach that I bought came already in pieces but the scales were still on. Do you know an easy way to de-scale the fish pieces?


  27. Very Nice blog.....the fish recipes brought me here :-)
    Tried the Doi Mach, and it seems that another comment was correct--need to lessen the ginger paste, maybe half of what is mentioned.
    Otherwise, it was tasty!

    good luck with the blog!

  28. hi i like all ur bengali a fish lover ...who alwiz lookin for new recipes....surely will try tis recipes...sounds yummy...tcr

  29. Hmmmm...looks nice! Maybe I should go and start cooking now that I've gone through every single word of every comment and post...sighh..

  30. Hey,
    I am commenting for the first time but am a regular reader of ur blog...

    Really love to go through the recipes and have tried a few...
    Mostly my family has loved them
    Thanks to You :)

  31. Hey! I'm a regular visitor of your blog. Just to let you know, my hubby is bengali...and I just love Bong food (except when it becomes too sweet). Cooking is my passion! My MIL is a great cook but.. she doesn't really like to share her recipes. So, I decided to learn on my own and refer to people like you who've done such a great job of posting authentic recipes!! I've tried a number of your recipes and totally loved it!! I just tried Doi Maachh last night and both hubby and I absolutely loved it! Keep up the great work..:-)

  32. Recipes are very delicious, but laborious too. It makes me so hungry, but on an internship in France, with the limited amount of resources, Bong dil maange doi machh! At the same time, with very limited skill of cooking, is there any way of easy and delicious cooking?

  33. Hi there, I came across your blog just today while I was hunting for a doi maach recipe. I used yours and it came out terrific (i tried it with rawas, its called the Indian salmon in Mumbai, tastes like Gurjaoli)! Thanks and looking forward to trying out more stuff from your blog!


  34. Delicious! I am away from home and I wanted to cook doi mach just like my mom :) But because of difference in time zone it was not possible to ask. So I found this one! And it does tastes the same :D So happy! Thanks so much. Regarding ginger paste, I have found out that home made paste requires less than store bought ones. I use the store bought one. May be that why the difference in quantity?

  35. Hi! I made this recipe and it turned out great. I have been trying to find a good Doi Maach recipe for a long time and this has been the best so far. Thanks

  36. This looks awesome, and you make it sound simple...DH is getting enthusiastic to make Doi maach since my reading this post to him! Loved the title, can't help similing everytime I think of fishy fishy bong bong!!! :-)

  37. just finished making it... THIS TASTES AWESOME!!!! authentic... like ma used to make it :) Thank you for the recipe! The whole garam masala and mustard oil does the trick for sure! Isn't there a doi maach version with yellow mustard seed paste? What is that called? Could you post it?

  38. Amar ei Page ta dekhar permission nei :(

  39. Hi! Loved your article on Bengali cuisine at Sailu's Kitchen. I follow both blogs but was surprised to find the cross-connect article. Your hearty description of bengali lunch/ dinner main course brought back vivid memories of the same that my Ma used to serve in my childhood. I am particularly looking for a panchmahal tarkari recipe that ma used to make without panch phoron. If you have anything in your treasure chest do share...

  40. Hi Sandeepa, pls could you help with the Doi Machh recipe. Strangely, I'm unable to view it. It is not happening for any other recipe page, just this one. Pls help. Thanks!

  41. Hi Sandeepa, strangely I'm unable to view the Doi Machh recipe. This is not happening fo Please could you help with the same

  42. How does one get this recipe? What is your book called and is it available on Amazon?


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