Vegetarian Fish Curry

Vegetarian Fish Curry

In Bengal, the region I grew up, fish is in our every meal, including lunch and dinner. Eating fish in every major meal was mandatory and somehow it was associated with being smart. As a young kid, in the lure of becoming smart, we got used to having fishes every day for the rest of our lives. That’s why there are plenty of ways these fishes are cooked just to break the monotony. These recipes start from simple sauces to long complicated and tedious sauces.

Today I am going to share a very simple yet versatile fish sauce. I called it vegetarian because in Bengal a vegetarian preparation means without any garlic or onion, and this sauce is completely vegetarian in that regard!

Any kind of white fish fillets are ideal for this curry. You can even try this with fish steaks. If you are planning to use fish steak, my recommendation will be to lightly fry the fish before as per the recipe. Here I have used Tilapia fillet, but it can be made as well with Basa, Sole, Cod, etc.

This recipe uses a very common ingredient in Bengali recipes, which is the mustard power. These days we can get pre made mustard power in Indian grocery stores, but if you cannot find such, it is easy to make. I generally use black mustard seeds, and grind them in coffee grinder. If you are making it at home it might be a good idea to soak this powder in hot water along with turmeric and salt, then strain this before adding into the recipe.

There are a few rules of thumbs for me when it comes to handling fishes. Even though I grew up eating fishes and still love to eat different fish preparations, but handling fish can be challenging. The smell of the fishes can be a major let down. In due course, I have noticed if you can handle fishes without touching, that is great, but if you do need to touch them to maneuver, then rubbing some oil before handling the fishes can save your hand from being smelly afterward. Another tip is marinating the fish in lemon juice for 10 minutes can mellow down the smell of it considerably.

There are some non-mandatory steps in this recipe, and you can try that yourself whether or not to do it. One such is, lightly frying the fish pieces with some turmeric and salt. Now this gives a nice color and texture to the fishes, and also makes the pieces less brittle, but again it is not a mandatory step, even though I like it, especially in this recipe.

This curry goes very well with steamed rice.

Serves 6


Vegetarian Fish Curry

15 minPrep Time

15 minCook Time

30 minTotal Time

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3.7 based on 3 review(s)

Recipe Image


  • 1.5 lbs of Tilapia fish fillet
  • 1 1/2 tsp Lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt (as per taste)
  • 2 tbsp Vegetable oil
  • Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1/4 tsp Nigella Seeds (Kalo Jeera) (Optional)
  • 1/2 cup Tomatoes
  • 1 tsp Ginger paste
  • 2 tsp Mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp Yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika (as per taste)
  • Pinch of Turmeric (1/4 tsp if not used during frying)
  • Salt to taste
  • Pinch of Sugar
  • 2 Green Chillies (as per taste)
  • Few stems of Chopped Coriander leaves
  • 1/4 tsp of Mustard oil (optional)
  • 1 cup Water


  1. Cut the fish fillet in desired cube size
  2. Marinate the fish cubes in lemon juice, salt, and turmeric
  3. Fry lightly the fish cubes and dish out
  4. In the same pan add 1 tbsp oil
  5. Tamper the oil with Nigella seeds, and slit green chillies
  6. Add tomatoes and ginger, fry till oil separates
  7. Soak the mustard powder in 2 tbsp hot water with a pinch of salt and pinch of turmeric
  8. Beat the yogurt with paprika, and soaked mustard
  9. Add the yogurt mix slowly into the fried tomatoes and ginger, and mix continuously in low flame
  10. Add water, and bring it to boil
  11. Add pinch of sugar, adjust the taste of the sauce with salt
  12. Add fish cubes in the sauce, and partially cover and let it cook for few minutes
  13. Once fishes are almost cooked, add coriander leaves and let it sit for 2 more minutes
  14. Dish it out and top with mustard oil if desired


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