Fish in a Bengali sauce

Madhur Jaffrey recreates London restaurant Roti Chai's fish chunks marinaded in Kashmiri spices and served in a rich curry sauce
By Madhur Jaffrey
Fish in a Bengali sauce
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 3
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes plus 5 min marinading
  • Effort: easy


For the marinade

  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp Kashmiri or other mild red chilli powder

For the fish

  • 450 g cod loin, cut into 4cm chunks
  • 6 tbsp mustard oil
  • 12 florets of cauliflower
  • ½ tsp nigella seeds
  • 3 hot green chillies, sliced
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1½ tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp Kashmiri or other mild red chilli powder
  • 5 tbsp tomato passata
  • 3 fish stock cube
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves

Tips and Suggestions

If you can't find cod loin, use salmon or prawns instead - other cuts of cod will flake


1. For the marinade: Mix together all the ingredients for the marinade. Coat the cod chunks in the marinade and leave for 5 minutes.

2. For the fish: Set a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and pour in 2 tablespoons of the mustard oil. Allow it to smoke.

3. Carefully fry the fish for 2 minutes, turning gently. The chunks should firm up. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.

4. Place the cauliflower in the same oil. Stir and fry for 2-3 minutes, or until browned all over. Remove and place in a bowl. Cover with cling film and allow to steam.

5. Put a karhai, wok or large pan about 25cm in diameter over a medium heat. Pour in the remaining mustard oil.

6. When its hot, add the nigella seeds, chillies, garlic and ginger. Stir for 2 minutes, until lightly brown.

7. Increase the heat to high and add the onions. Fry for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add 120ml of water. Mix well and cover. Cook the onions for 10-12 minutes until soft and brown, stirring occasionally. Add the mustard and stir in the ground coriander, turmeric and chilli powder.

8. Stir uncovered for 1 minute, then add the tomato passata and combine thoroughly. Pour in 250ml of water. Dissolve the fish stock in the sauce and cook on a high heat for 2 minutes, until the oil rises to the surface.

9. Return the cauliflower to the pan. Fold it into the sauce and reduce the heat to low. Cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes at a gentle simmer.

10. Return the fish to the pan and carefully cook through for 3 minutes. Add salt to taste, garnish with coriander and serve.

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