Easy Bengali fried fish recipe – making my mum proud

November 17, 2020

Update! This post was updated I’m November 2020 to include a detailed Q and A and additional recipe suggestions and options. 

Now, I don’t eat nearly as much fish as I should.  That’s pretty shocking being a Bengali mum, but fish is just not something I’ve really gotten into. 

Mum would make the traditional Bengali fried fish recipe (known as maach biran, or fishbiran to those who grew up eating it, and it’s something I’d often avoid.  However, I clearly didn’t know what I was missing. 
I never really liked fish curry growing up.  Again I know that’s blasphemous for a Bangladeshi girl, but I always much preferred chicken, meat or veg.  In fact, the extent of my fishy palette went as far as fish fingers.
However, I’ve recently developed a new appreciation for fish.  Maybe because I’m more aware of its health benefits.  Perhaps it’s because I’m a mum or because I’ve discovered much more fish recipes that go beyond curry.  And curry’s not so bad either, but I draw the line at some of the more pungent fishy dishes.  Shutki (dried fish) anyone? I’ve also expanded my repertoire to include other Bangladeshi dishes like:
Anyway, I just made a Bengali style fish for the first time.  It was so simple to make, that even the busiest girl could rustle it up!  I’ve detailed the full recipe below with step-by-step instructions. I’ve also updated this post with a detailed Q and A.

Easy Bengali fried fish recipe

Ingredients for Bengali fried fish   

  • Meaty fish with skin on, chopped into 1inch thick portions (I used Ayr, it’s a traditional Bengali fish.  Another popular option is rohu fish, but you can use other fish such as cod or salmon)
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1tbsp cooking oil
  • 1tsp chilli powder
  • 1tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2tsp curry powder
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • Small bunch fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 2-3 fresh green chillies


In a bowl, place the fish with the spices and salt.

Mix together until the fish is well coated in the spices and has turned a golden colour. 

Chunky pieces of Ayr fish
In a frying pan, heat the oil and add the fish pieces. Fry gently for approx. 10 minutes, until the fish has almost cooked through. Turn occasionally.
Fish doused in spices
Then push the fish pieces to the side of the pan.  Pour in the sliced onion to the other side.
Add a pinch more turmeric and chilli to the onions, and fry in the side of the pan.
The idea of putting the onions into the same pan is that they can cook in the fish spices.  But avoid mixing the fish and onions as this will break the fish.
Onions and fish frying in a pan
Finally, add fresh coriander and fresh chillies to the pan.
the fish and onions brown in a pan
Serve the fish on a bed of the onions, with rice and salad.
That’s it. My easy masala fish recipe. A dish your mum would be proud of – simples!

Bengali friend fish Q and A

1) What Bengali fish can you use for this recipe?

The best Bengali fish for an authentic Bengali fried fish recipe are:

  • Rohu maas (rohu fish)
  • Boal maas (boal fish)
  • Elish maas (elish fish)
  • Puti maas (puti fish)
  • Ayer maas (Ayer fish)

Ot any other big Bengali fish

2) which of the fish have the least bones?

Boal fish usually has least bones. Rohu and ayer also do not have too many bones, so is manageable.  According to many a Bangladeshi fish aficionado (mainly my sister), elish is the tastiest Bengali fish but has a lot of bones!

3) if you don’t have Bengali fish, what other options?

Good Bengali fish substitutes for the Bengali fried fish recipe are:

  • Salmon
  • Sea bass
  • Sea bream
  • Sprats are really good and really cheap too!

For my recipe for the best Bangladeshi lamb curry, click here.

For my baked bass fish recipe, click here.


About the Author


I’m a British-Bengali Muslim mum-of-two. My pictures aren’t filtered and neither are my words. I’m not a makeup artist, chef or lifestyle guru. I’m just me, sharing honest beauty reviews for brown skin, halal restaurant finds, travel inspo, mum life hacks, easy Bengali recipes and more. If that’s your bag, keep reading!

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