Macher Kaliya (Bong Special Spicy Fish Curry)

It is often said that ‘Mache-Bhate Bangali’ while describing a true Bong, meaning Bengalies are inseparable from fish and rice. It is absolutely true. No Bengali meal is complete without a fish preparation. There are different varieties of fish preparation like ‘Macher Jhol’ (light fish curry), ‘Macher Jhal’ (a bit spicy and the gravy mainly made with mustard paste), ‘Macher Tok/Ombol’ (tangy combination either with tamarind or with raw mango) and very spicy and rich preparation like this which is called ‘Macher Kaliya’. Now this ‘Macher Kaliya’ is not a everyday dish to be cooked. It is a special occasion preparation to be made.

Today I made a special dish called ‘Macher Kaliya’ since some of my relatives are coming today for dinner. ‘Macher Kaliya’ is a fish curry with onion-tomato-ginger-garlic-yogurt (optional but I prefer to use as it gives very nice texture) based rich gravy with aromatic Indian spices. There are several versions of ‘Macher Kaliya’ (probably every Bong House has its own version of each and every fish preparation). today I followed my Mom’s recipe for preparing this dish. I love the way she cooks this dish. I love the red colour of this curry from tomato and yogurt. You only need some steamed hot rice to finish it off. Though I have prepared some Bengali Veg Fried Rice to serve with ‘Macher Kaliya’! Try to use pieces from a big matured fish of about 2-3 kgs. for this dish.



  • Rahu Fish or Katla Fish – 8 pieces
  • Onion Paste – ½ cup
  • Garlic Paste – 1 tsp
  • Ginger Paste – 1 ½ tsp
  • Tomato – ½ cup (Chopped)
  • Yogurt – 2 Tbsp
  • Turmeric Powder – 1 ½ tsp
  • Chillie Powder – ½ tsp
  • Kashmiri Red Chili Powder – ½ tsp
  • Green Chilies – 4/5 (For garnishing)
  • Cinnamon – 1”stick
  • Clove – 2/3
  • Cardamom Pods – 2/3
  • Mastered Oil – 2 Tbsp + For frying the fish pieces
  • Ghee – 1 Tbsp
  • Garam Masala Powder – ½ tsp
  • Sugar – ¼ tsp
  • Salt – To taste


  1. Smear 1 tsp of turmeric powder and ½ tsp of salt to the fish pieces. And marinate for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed kadai or pan and fry the fish pieces till it turns golden brown in color.
  3. Now add the cinnamon, green cardamom, cloves and bay leaf for tempering the oil.
  4. When they exudes aroma add onion paste and fry till it turns light pink in colour.
  5. When the oil starts separating add the ginger paste and garlic paste. Fry for another 2-3 minutes.
  6. Now add the chopped tomato and fry till oil separates.
  7. Next add rest of the turmeric powder, chillie powder and kashmiri red chillie powder. Sauté for few seconds.
  8. Beat the yogurt and add it to the masala. Keep the flame on low. After 1-2 minutes when you will see the red coloured oil is separating from sides add water (of about ¾ to 1 cup).
  9. When water starts boiling add fried fish pieces and sugar.
  10. Now cover fish and simmer the heat. When the gravy becomes thick switch off the gas.
  11. Drizzle ghee, garam masala powder and green chillies on the top of the gravy and cover for another 2-3 minutes.
  12. Serve it with steamed rice or Bengali Veg Fried Rice.


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