Muri Ghonto (Fish Head Pulao)


My today’s dish is ‘Muri Ghonto’! This is one of the favourite dishes of Bengali. We do not cook it frequently. Sometimes on Sunday lunch it is prepared in our home. Many people cook this delicacy in different ways, sometimes with different kinds of ‘dal’ (lentil) or vegetables like cauliflower, pumpkin, potato and sometimes with ‘poha’ or ‘chira’ (flattened rice) too. I cook this dish with fish head, ‘gobindobhog rice’ (this variety of rice is available in West Bengal only. Though you can use any similar variety of rice too) and potatoes with some Indian spices. You can always substitute ‘gobindobhog rice’ with ‘basmati rice’. The word ‘Muri’ comes from the word ‘Muro’ or ‘Matha’, which means fish head and ‘Ghonto’ means a blending of different stuff cooked together. This is Bengali Style Pulao with Fish Head. Fish head of Rohu or Katla is used to cook with Gobindobhog Rice and different spices.

We mostly buy whole Ruhu or Katla Fish every week and as a result the fish head are available every time. So I end up with preparing ‘Macher Matha dea Bhaja Mooger Dal’, ‘Macher Matha dea Cholar Dal’ or sometimes ‘Muro Ghonto’. I already have shared both the fish head recipes with lentils mentioned above. Now, enjoy your ‘Muri Ghonto’ on a lazy afternoon lunch!

  • 4 Ingredients to serve
  • 2 Fish Head (Rohu or Katla) – pair
  • 200 gms Gobindobhog Rice
  • 2 – 3 Bay Leaf
  • 3 – 4 Green Cardamom
  • 2” Cinnamon – stick
  • 2 – 3 Clove
  • ½ tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 (Big – cut into small cubes) Potato
  • 1 (Medium – chopped) Tomato
  • 2 (Medium – sliced) Onion
  • 1 tsp Ginger Paste
  • 1 tsp Garlic Paste
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • ½ tsp Cumin Powder
  • ½ tsp Coriander Powder
  • ½ tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • 3 (Silted) Green Chilies
  • 3 Tbsps Mustard Oil – + frying the fish heads
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Ghee or Clarified Butter
  • Salt – As required
  • 1 tsp Sugar


  1. Wash and soak the rice in water for 20-25 minutes.
  2. Marinate the pieces of fish heads with salt and turmeric powder. Fry the fish head and keep aside.
  3. In the same pan add Ghee; add bay leaves, green cardamom, cinnamon, clove, cumin seeds and sauté until it exudes aroma.
  4. Add the diced potatoes and fry for 2-3 minutes. If required add some oil.
  5. Add sliced onion, fry till light brown, then add chopped tomatoes and green chillies and fry for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add ginger paste and garlic paste. Fry till oil separates. Next add all the dry masalas except garam masala.
  7. Then add washed and soaked rice, mix well and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add fried fish head pieces stir and mix. Add 2 cups of warm water, green chillies, salt and sugar.
  8. Cover the pan with a lid and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes or till the potatoes are fully cooked and rice become fluffy.
  9. Add garam masala powder and 1 tsp ghee. Mix well. ‘Muri Ghonto’ is ready to be served.

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