Friday, October 11, 2013

Tilapia Fish Curry with coconut milk and Sharodiya Shubecha

Today is Shashti, the eternal  and mighty “Karonamoyi” and Anandamoyi” has arrived in her paternal home with all her children- Shri Ganesh, Shri Kartik, ma Lokhi and ma Saraswati .And with this every Bengali is busy with Durga Puja celebrations. Here wishing everyone a very Happy Durga Puja and Nabaratri.Sharodiya Shubecha O preeti sobaike, boro der pranam and Choto der sneho.

Well let’s hope you all enjoy and celebrate with your near and dear ones and may this phase bring you all, peace, love, prosperity and good health.
Since today is Shashti , “bodhon “ day, usually niramish preparations is done in our home, which I did exactly..

                   ( Aloo-green beans chorchori , Chick -pea Sundal, Luchi and Malpoa- a niramish platter ) 

But then this recipe of Tilapia fish curry, was saved in draft since eternal, and fish is considered "shubho" for any good occasion as well, so thought of writing it here before it goes away from my to-do-list. While grocery shopping in super-market here, I happen to get these Tilapia fish whole, as at that time fish-mongers were running some offers on fish , and I whole-heartedly grabbed them. And it was looking so fresh and red, which gave me even more temptations. Don’t get me wrong, that how could I always write about my grocery shopping extravaganza  , but trust me we do run our home on budget where quality matters rather than quantity.Anyhow, these fishes were fresh and looking great that I decided will do a quick “garama-garam” fish fry with them. And I did that exactly, after that just thought of making a fish jhol, which should be more of “jhaal” rather than a “patla jhol”.So thought of using left-over half can of thick coconut milk which was resting in fridge,something on the genre of Goan fish curry. And here is a very Goan-Bengali cuisine influenced Tilapia fish curry ready to be served.
Actually back home in India, Tilapia may not sound very intriguing to many, as when Rui/Katla/bhetki as paka mach is easily available, who is going to lay their hands on down-market Tilapia. But honestly if you ask me it's all about developing taste for any kind of food. And then there are people like us who do get fresh , red Tilapia here in abroad , so they generally do grab them when ever that’s available to them and we do not ever regret on that as well. I would say something is better than nothing.

Now to the recipe for Tilapia mache’r Narkol Dudh diye Jhaal
Red Tilapia Mach’er jhaal with coconut milk
Recipe requirements

  • 2 Red Tilapia fishes each cut into three pieces
  • 1 large white onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • ¼ inch ginger root
  • 1 tsp of turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp of red pepper powder
  • 1 tsp of coriander powder
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 2 tej patta/bay leaf
  • ¼ can of coconut milk
  • 2 tbs of desiccated coconut or fresh scraped cooconut
  • ½ tsp of garam masala freshly grounded
  • ½ cup of mustard oil
  • 2-3 green chilies (optional)
  • Coriander leaves for garnishing


  1. Wash and clean tilapia fish.Remove all scales with the help of potato peeler or with a serrated knife. Now cut into three portions, of course in India, fish mongers generally do that already.
  2. Dry roast some cloves, cardamom and cinnamon over low flame and then dry grind them to make freshly home-made garam masala.Use half a tsp in this fish gravy.
  3. Now smear turmeric powder and salt over each portion. Keep it aside for half an hour.
  4. Now heat up a saucepan/kadai.Add about 3-4 tbs mustard oil, then add in fish portions. Fry each side for 3-4 mints or till they turn crisp and brown.
  5. Now make the gravy for this fish curry.
  6. Chop finely onion, ginger and garlic.
  7. In that oil itself, add more oil, now add tej patta/bay leaves,ginger and garlic. Fry them till the rawness is gone and garlic, ginger turns slightly towards brown in color.
  8. Now add in finely chopped onions. Add in desiccated coconut or freshly scarped coconut whatever is available to you readily. Keep on stir/fry for 6-7 mints or until onions starts to shrink and go slightly brown along with desiccated coconut. Both of them will provide the sweetness that is required in this gravy so no need to add extra sugar in this.
  9. Now add in finely chopped tomatoes. Add in salt, turmeric powder, red pepper powder, garam masala and splash some water so that the dry masala ingredients don’t burn out, or better make a smooth paste in a cup with some water with all the ingredients, and then add in this paste to the properly stir/fried onion+ginger+garlic.
  10. Keep on stir/fry till tomatoes shrink in size and release water and the oil separates out about 10-12 mints at med-high flame, splashing some water in between.
  11. Now add in coconut milk, with 1 or 1 and half cups of water. Slowly release the fried fish portions. Cover the pan and let it cook at med-low flame for about 10-15 mints. Once the gravy starts to become thick, stop the flame and then take it off. Sometimes I do add slit green chilies to make them even more hot and spicy. Even I have tried adding yogurt at the end to make it more savory and balance of the hotness.But if you don’t feel like adding then no need to add both.
  12. Garnish with fresh chopped coriander leaves. It goes very well with warm cooked rice.


This fish curry recipe goes well with Salmon and Haddock as well.

         ( This was clicked way back in 2008, picture from archive, Chalta-Bagan Durga Puja in Kolkata) 

Sharodiya Shubecha O Preeti Sobaike.........


  1. Looks like you are enjoying the festival time. Yet another delicious fish curry.

    1. Actually we are trying to but somehow missing the hustle-bustle that accompanies this festival in India and Dashehra is a big thing there..hugs

  2. Oh I love telapia mach...but I like the black ones that you get back home, not these red ones...tesco te majhe majhe telapia fillets pawa jai, ami ogulo bahai...tomar post dekhe amar ekhon telapia maach diye bhaat khete ichee korchee :-)

    1. Tahole ami ek juri daar pelaam :-))..amar black ones ta o Bhalo lagey ..eyi red ta bodhaye hybrid ones ..kinto mondo noye ..bhalo he lagey besh bhaja-2 korle ...Tilapia fillet ami onek baar use korechi ...tesco and morrison e bhalo offer thakhe and mach ta dekhlaam fresh he hoye ....nao baniye felo mach'er jhal ...khub bhalo thekho ....hugs and smiles

  3. Am just drooling over that delightful and fingerlicking fish curry..Love the addition of coconut milk to the curry.

  4. Love the whole tilapia cooked in coconut milk. Darun hoyeche dekhte. Tomake o shardiya shubhecha. Tomar pujo kemon katlo?


Thank you for taking out some time from your busy schedule to post here.Please Do not spam this space.