Friday, August 27, 2010

Dudh Maach -- a Milky Fish Curry

Little Sis aka LS is not a gourmand. She might be a connoisseur of food. I am not exactly sure.

Any time I sit down to feed her, she asks with utter contempt in her voice "Eta ki ?" (What is this ?). That question makes me extremely nervous. I have a feeling that she expects me to say "Lobster Thermidor" or some such thing. I cannot get myself to say it is just plain old "Khichuri" so I try to distract and in most times end up popping a Purple Dinosaur in the age old VCR.

LS loves "Chickun" though and a "Chickun Jhol" makes her eat at least a quarter of the meal with no request for complicated recipes and fine French food.

A month or so back, me being the Bong Mom and all that introduced Fish to her. I mean Fish as food and not "Oh Fishy Fishy". Only I felt very guilty telling her that it was Fish because kids seem to have this love for rainbow colored "fishies" and I thought I will tell her the truth when she is able to beat up buster next door.
So we still tell her it is "Chickun" but I know she has her doubts because she keeps asking "Eta ki" repeatedly and taking pieces out of her mouth and scrutinizing them with a microscope.

Last week I made this fish curry for her. Big Sis aka BS totally loved it and the love continues this week. About LS I am never sure.

This Dudh Maach or Fish Cooked in Milk is a great fish curry that works with most kinds of fish and every age. I mean age of the person eating it. This is my Ma's recipe and we love it so much that it gets made very often at our home. That it is quick is a huge help. The light gravy has a subtle mustardy taste but amazingly there is no mustard in the recipe whatsoever.

You know how some people will strain their mustard paste and use only the mustard water to make their gravy, well this gravy tastes almost like that, only with zero amount of prep work.

And if you are feeling queasy and creamy about milk and fish, be calm, this is no where near creamy. I use 1% Milk and the gravy is very very light.

We have done this with Rohu (Rui Maach), Ilish (Hilsa) and Tilapia Fillet. The taste is great with all. If using the Tilapia fillet you can either shallow fry or bake in the oven. Enjoy this with fluffy white rice and you will never regret it.


Dudh Maach - Fish in a Milky Curry

Note: Instead of Mustard oil I use Olive Oil or Canola for the kids who are yet to get used to Mustard and the taste is compromised only a little. So if you don't have Mustard Oil use your regular cooking oil. If you can get hold of Mustard Oil, well the taste then takes on a new dimension.

Prepping the Fish by Frying

If you are using steak pieces of fish clean the fish pieces and toss with turmeric and salt a. Keep aside for 15-20 minutes.

Heat Oil(Mustard Oil preferred) in a Kadhai or Frying Pan. Fry the pieces of fish till golden on both sides.

If you are Baking Fish in the Oven instead of frying

Toss Tilapia Filet in salt, turmeric powder and 1 tsp of Mustard (or Olive) Oil. Bake for 20 mins @350F and then broil for last 5 mins. This is my Toaster Oven setting.

If using salmon fillet, rub the pieces with salt, turmeric powder, mustard (or olive oil) and then bake at 275F for 25 minutes

Make the Curry

Heat 1 Tbsp of fresh Mustard Oil in a Pan. Temper the Oil with 1/4 tsp of Kalonji/Nigella seeds and 4-5 green chili (slit the chili if you like the heat).There will be a lot of spluttering so it is wise to cover the pan with a splatter screen.

Meanwhile in 1 cup of Milk add 1/2 tsp of Turmeric powder and mix till you get a nice daffodil yellow.

Add the milk to the pan and let it simmer till it comes to a boil. Be careful it might just froth and spill.

Now add 1 more cup of water and salt to taste, let the jhol simmer at medium heat. Once you see it bubbling add the fish pieces and simmer for 2-3 more minutes.

Switch off heat and garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves.Let the gravy soak up its flavor. Drizzle a few drops of mustard oil to jazz up if you wish.Serve with white or brown rice.


  1. I have never had a fish curry like this, and just love the color, hi hi i love that little sis is a foodie, maybe you should make her once Lobster Thermidor and see what she tells about it :-)

  2. HC

    sadly LS is NOT a foodie at all. She has no interest in the regular stuff we eat :(

  3. How do you prevent the milk from separating? A friend of mine had a chicken in milk recipe, very similar to this. Every time I attempted it, though, the milk would separate as soon as I added salt. :-(

  4. Manisha

    With Milk ? I use Cold Milk and it never separates.Is it because of the turmeric that I add to the Milk beforehand ?

    With Yogurt ? Some people say it does. Before adding yogurt, I take the pan off the heat and then wait--> add yogurt-->count to 30--> put back on heat...blah, blah

  5. Also I add salt only after adding the water and simmering etc.
    Does that help ?

  6. i have a similar recipe which is made with shol fish. will share it sometime. this dish looks great. will try it sometime.

  7. such a creamy fish curry looks super yum

  8. I was a very poor, picky eater as a kid- my mom has fed a thousand crows, I think, while trying to feed me (1 mouthful for the crow, and 1 for you etc..)..And it was not even like I hated food- I would read recipe books while eating and read the back of pickle jars. She figured I loved exotic food when she realized I absolutely loved cheese and would choose it any day over the regular idli sambhar (Her attempts to feed me became easier when Amul Cheese and Cheese spread started becoming available).

    But look at me now- I am obsessed with all food- including South Indian, North don't worry- LS might turn out to be a foodie yet..:D

  9. Sayantani

    Ami kokhono shol mach khai ni, amader bari te hoy na. Ei jhol ta kintu motamuti shob machei chole



    Yeah I hope LS will find her food too. She likes stuff she is not supposed to BTW, like lollipops ;-)

  10. never had fish curry like this before..looks really creamy, rich and deeelish!

  11. Fabulous looks fish curry, very interesting..

  12. Sandeepa,
    Lobster Thermidor "Eta Ki" , dekho ami O LS er joti holaam tahole tai na :-D..tumar Choto ta ke samne pele chotka/motki kortaam obosho O jodi korte dito :-D...Dodh mach amra konodin banae ni ..amra abaar mach khabar por dudh khae na , janina keno Ma and Ma shahuri do joni hi dudh and fish meshaye na ..keno seyi ta aaj O ami bojhte parini , oder dui jonder eyita baneye khabate hobe eyibaar..
    hugs and smiles

  13. Suman and Prya



    Amader jemon mangshor sathe dudh na bole.
    Kintu anek North Indian recipe te chicken er sathe dudb ba cream dite bole. Amar tai ektu ki rokom lage mangsho'r gravy te dudh ditey

  14. Fish curry ta really simple and dekhte darun...small kids der jonyo perfect...even amar chele gulo chickun khete khub bhalobase, seta oder stew theke hole habe na, amader regularchcken curry theke hote habe, bachchara eto quick taste differentiate korte pare na..bapre.

  15. bangali hoeo dudh machh prothom shunlam....ami narkoler dudh diye machh kori..kintu dudh diye kori ni..recipe ta mathaye rakhbo....akdin try korte hobe...tobe amar meyeo tomar chhototir moto shab khabar age eta ki bolbei...visually impressive hole taste korbe...

  16. My offspring starts every meal with "What is it?" before coming to the dining table. And he, of four years and some months, has not even had an egg because "Mamma, baby birds come out of eggs!"
    The fish curry sounds interesting, though I don't think I have ever had one in a milk gravy. Truth be told, I prefer my fish fried.

    Waiting for your food fiction, or did I miss it. Off to check older posts.

  17. Hey Sandeepa, this recipe sounds great. No powdered mustard looks like(?) Nice to see the clarification re milk/yogurt in your prev reply. I too am wary of curdling in savory dishes. Will defly try this sometime. Thanks for the recipe!

  18. Indrani

    Exactly amar choto ta shobe dui ar khabar byapare thakuma


    Ami bhabchilam aneke i ei ta kore. Amar Ma bodh hoy kono magazine theke peyeche. Eita khub halka patla khete hoy


    Bongs eat a lot of diff fish curries but they fry the fish first and then put it in the gravy. We used to eat a lot of "Bangda"(?) fry at work while in B'bay.


    You can also add a pinch of besan in the yogurt and beat it well to avoid curdling

  19. This doodh fish can be cooked with Pabda and Koi fish also.But before finishing i am adding little mustard oil to get a rich smell and taste.I love your blogs and really wait for it.

  20. This is looking like a yummy (and quick to prepare!!) fish curry! I like kalonji so much, but have never tried with fish. Your recipe is bookmarked!

  21. This is the most interesting fish curry recipe I have ever come across. Given that it seems a snap to make, I am definitely trying it.
    Ah, I would love to use mustard oil and would love to eat it again. Unfortunately my stomach doesn't agree, and there are only so many times I can tax it. :(

  22. dudh diye maachh kokkhono khai ni - but worth a think :)

  23. I think you will enjoy LS as she grows older because she will have definite opinions on what she eats ;)

    I know I know....we have to convince ourselves that there is something positive in the things these kiddos put us through!

    K isn't fussy and loves everyday food as well as "restrant" food, but she can't stand squishy food (think cooked tomato, onion skins,overcooked veggies) and food touching each other and is deeply suspicious of food inside food - nuts in muffins, sun dried tomatoes in bread, vermicelli in payasam....drives us crazy.

  24. my daughter is quite like LS. Except that she doesn't even care to ask what I've made. She just looks at the bowl and declares shes doesn't lioke it!

    I've blogged about an egg curry in milk sometime back, I'm going to tweak it to make it like your fish curry.

  25. Sandeepa I have never heard of fish preparation with milk, with coconut milk yes but not with regular one!! Have to give this a try.

    my little one stopped eating chicken when she was 2/3 when we told her it is the same chicken which she sees walking around. We slowly stopped discussing about it since chicken nugget was our savior when we went out. Now she forgot and keeps saying that we do not eat real chicken and fish.. don't know whatever she thinks, we are not talking and explaining anymore.

  26. This is as simple as simple can be.Have to try it, though I am going to tweak it by cooking the fish in entirely milk. I plan first, to let the milk boil, then after a min. add salt, and simmer till reduced to 3/4. Then dunk in the fish fillets...adn cover and simmer till done. Do u think this is going to work? Please let me know what you think...

  27. You don't want to fry the fish first ? I always fry the fish and then put in jhol like I am used to in Bengali homes.

    If you do that let me know

  28. very simple dish...gonna try it soon...the days my son doesn't drink his share of Milk i can give this to him :)


  29. Hi "Bong Mom", I am graduate student in America and I always read your blogs and try your recipes.I made Dudh Maach today and absolutely loved it. Thank you so much for posting your recipes.

  30. try korte hobe kokhono korini

  31. kokhono kori ni try korte hobe

  32. This dish has to be the simplest fish curry cooked by a Bangali. I made this for my husband and he loved it so much! We also had a fun guessing game because he could not figure out the ingredients, although he too is a good cook. I think he found it difficult to believe that fish can be cooked in milk. I have shared the recipe with my mother and mother-in-law as well. Thank you!

  33. Will definitely try it with white flaky fish like cod. I love the simplicity of it. The only time I had milk in a curry is the jhinge-motor daaler borar jhol. Machhe dudhe khaini kakhono.


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