Both Bengalis and Bangladeshis are known throughout the culinary world for their love of fish.

The freshwater rivers of Bangladesh and West Bengal provide ample variety of delicate fish that are loved by many the world over.

Bengalis (I will use this term for both Bangladeshis and Bengalis) have mastered the art of teasing every drop of flavour from every type of fish and we have become experts at it.

This version is a twist on the classic Shorshe Jhol. It is cooked in a succulent light sauce, Jhol, which compliments the fish by prolonging the taste.

Coat the fish pieces with the turmeric and set aside, while you mix the chilli powder, mustard powder and salt with 4 table spoons of water or just enough to make a thick paste. Gently fry the fish on both sides in a shallow pan on a medium heat with 2 table spoons of oil for around two minutes on either side, then set aside.

In the same pan, add the remaining oil. Then add a few of the Nigella seeds. When they start crackling, add the rest of the seeds.

Add the paste and cook through for two minutes. Then tip in the green chillies and mix well. Gently place the fish in the pan and mix carefully. Simmer for around 5 minutes. Serve hot with plain basmati rice.

Serves 2

500g white fish fillets, such as cod, haddock or pollack
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp chilli powder
2 tbsp mustard powder, such as Colman’s Mustard Powder
1/4 tsp salt
5 tbsp mustard or olive oil
1/4 tsp nigella seeds or kalonji
2 green chillies, chopped at an angle

Words & Photography: Monir Ali
Recipe: Manju Malhi at
Styling: Tracey Clark