Friday, November 30, 2012

Rui Mach'er Kalia- Another Spicy Rui Fish Curry

We do get frozen whole Rui Fish here from Bangladeshi food stores but many times the incidents that were associated with fish buying in India is missing. Actually I do really miss the whole process of buying fish from local fish markets in Kolkata. Even bargaining with them and then checking on various parameters for freshness of the fish body. I mean the whole chaotic process of buying fresh fish from fish vendors in India.
In UP, where I have spent my entire life except after marriage, our grandparents had fixed “machwali”, who would turn up every alternate day in the morning with her fresh supply of fish, which she and her husband would be catching up daily, in early wee morning hours, from river Ganges. Our grandparents were so accustomed of her presence that if she would not turn up any day, they seemed to get worried for her a lot. We even used to pass on our old clothes, books and many other gifts to her kids. Over a period of time, these and many more such people had become part of our more or less, family. Recalling back, her typical fish smelling body, was enticed even more with her betel leaves/ pan-chewing habit or rather the “Gutkas”, but I as a kid , would never liked that and it used to put me off always .

When-ever, she would try to get friendly with me, her betel stained teeth created a long barricade. She would grin occasionally and seeing that I would run away, and she would always burst into laughter. But every holiday time, she would anticipate our presence and would get excited and happy to see us.
I was even skeptical of eating the fish she would be selling to us. After much persuasion by my grandparents, I would eat the fish made that day. 
But my Ma is an excellent cook, so whenever she would be making this Rui -Kalia recipe, which she herself mastered cooking over these years after her marriage to Baba, the entire home would get filled with the smell of “koshano moshla”.That heavenly feeling, aroma coming out from kitchen and cooking with the fresh catch for the day, whether it’s “Rui” or “Katla” was much appreciated, eaten and cherished by our family. 
Trying to re-create that old recipe with frozen Rui fish and with limited means, is like asking for “jeera - unth ke muh mein.” Anyways (I am not camel) and jokes apart, cumin powder is essential, so is coriander powder and if possible freshly churned spices or paste made over sheel-nora is the key to fragrant and scrumptious Rui Mach’er Kalia.

Now to the recipe
Rui Mach'er Kalia-(A Spicy, gravy based preparation of Rui /Rohu Fish) 
Recipe requirements( serves 3-4 )
  • 5-6 Rui/Rohu fish pieces
  • 2 medium size onions
  • 5 large grated garlic
  • 4 tsp of grated ginger
  • 2 medium size tomatoes
  • ¼ cup of peanuts or cashews
  • Seasoning and tempering/phoron
  • ½ tsp of cumin seeds
  • 3-4 tej patta
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 2 cardamoms
  • 1 tsp of turmeric powder and little bit more to marinate fish pieces
  • 2 tsp of red pepper powder
  • 2 green chilies (adjust hotness according to personal taste)
  • 2 -3 heaped tsp of coriander powder
  • 1 tsp of cumin powder
  • 1 tsp of salt and little bit more to marinate fish pieces
  • 1 tsp of freshly churned garam masala
  • ½ cup of mustard oil
  • Two pinch of sugar
  • 1 cup of finely chopped coriander

  • De-scale fish pieces( no need to do if you are based in India, you already do get de-scaled fish pieces from your fish mongers).Wash them very well in water and discard water , pat them dry if possible otherwise not compulsory. Sprinkle turmeric powder and salt, rub all it over the fish pieces, leave aside for half an hour.
  • Meanwhile fish is marinating, make a smooth paste of onions and cashews or peanuts (soak them in water for half an hour so that they go soft and easily can be made into paste with onions), then again make smooth puree of tomatoes separately. Peel and grate garlic and ginger.
  • Heat up a saucepan or Kadai /wok; add in mustard oil, fry fish pieces each side for 5-6 mints, till they turn nicely brown in color.
  • Now in that oil left after frying fish pieces, add in cumin seeds, tej patta, cloves, and crushed cardamom.
  • Add in grated garlic and ginger, fry it for 2-3 mints or till the rawness is gone.
  • Now add in onion paste, keep on frying for 3-4 mints. Add in all the dry ingredients- turmeric powder, red pepper powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, salt and sugar. Add in tomato puree to this with ½ cup of water.Add in slit green chilies now.
  • Let it all cook and fry for 5-6 mints at medium-high flame or the entire masala becomes somewhat dry. When the oil start to appear at the sides of the fried masala or “rang dhorano koshanor por “ in Bengali  , about after 10-12 mints, then add in 2 cups of water. Let the gravy come to one strong boil.
  • Add in fried fish pieces and garam masala.Cover the saucepan and let it simmer for 10 -15 mints at medium-low flame. Add in mustard oil at last when the entire gravy turns somewhat deep in colour and semi-dry, “makha-makha” in Bengali. Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves.

Note- Salmon, pomfret, bhetki,Carp, sea bass all the firm fish can be replaced with Rui/Rohu fish.Many times I tend to add small cherry tomatoes in place of plum tomatoes. And make this fish curry in mustard oil for that authentic Bengali touch.

Happy Cooking and Have nice weekend Everybody!


  1. Never had fish like this , it looks so good, i think all your fish dishes looks good here and i wish i was living next to you for eating them.

    1. Thank You Finla, even I will love to have you around :-)..all your baked goodies make me crave for them ..hugs

  2. wow, it looks so authentic...can't tell any difference between desh e yaa bidesh e ranna kora rui maacher kalia. The pieces are cut fine too...where do you find Rui maach?

    1. Joyeeta,
      Desh e hole Koda r Khunti diye ranna kori,eyikhane-bideshe saucepan/wooden spatula diye :-)..We do get rui Fish or Hilsa fish from Asian/Bangladeshi stores here..Although most of them are on the other end of our place of living,kinto majhe-majhe giye ami ek sathe buy korey ene rekhe di fridge e..kemon acho?..

  3. Never tasted this fish, curry looks fingerlicking and droolworthy. Btw regarding ur q'n about barley flour, i prepared myself Jaya, just dry roast a cup of pearl barley and grind it and sieve it,your barley flour and barley rava is ready.

    1. Priya
      Amazing how you do everything from scratch..thank you for sharing about Barley flour, will try to do it someday..hugs

  4. I Love Macher Kalia and make it in a very similar manner except I use posta dana (ground poppy seeds). Can you let me know how to make Kashundi ? harry@harryzspces.com

    1. Harry,
      Thanks for your words here..Posto can be nice addition , but we generally don't add it ...I have never made kashundi myself..now that you asked me let me tell you my grandmother never made kashundi in home because -that it was considered a taboo ..long journey's were never made with kashundi and all that ..dont ask me reasons here but this is absolutely true.kashundi preparation is a long task...second it was told that kashundi making is always done on special days of a particular month and by special people especially ladies with many following strict customs..commercial kashundi available these days are much better option as compared to home-made ones...although there are ample recipes out in net for kashundi making ..something I would never make on my own as I also like to follow old school of thoughts...regards

  5. Yes a machliwali comes to my parents' place till date :-)
    Frozen fish is no match for that fresh river Rohu...your kalia looks yum.

    1. Sangeeta,
      I really like that .that means still these machliwali have great days out :-)..Absolutely frozen fish is no match with fresh rui/rohu..thanks

  6. Ummm drooling ,,,we get fresh rui here,,I guess it's rohu right ? Will try this curry,,,.thanks for the recipe,,..


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