Machh er matha diye Daal

Bengalis and fishes are so synonymous that this has become almost a national joke. I am not complaining though because just like every other bengali, I am also an avid fish lover, if ai say so and I like my ‘machh er jhol’ to my core. Because of the love of fish, bengalis  have invented so many interesting dishes, this dish is one of the example of it. While the fleshy part of the fish is being used for various other preparation, the fish head, specially that of katla is being cooked with spices and mixed with mung dal to create another signature bengali delicacy – machh er matha diye daal.


  • Mung dal – 1/2 cup
  • Fish head – 1, I have used katla
  • Ginger paste – 1 tbsp
  • Salt, turmeric, red chilli powder, cumin powder, sugar
  • Bayleaf, whole garam masala
  • Dry red chilli, cumin seeds
  • Ghee – 1 tbsp
  • Garam masala powder 


To start with, roast the mung dal in a hot pan for 5 minutes by constantly stirring till the dal turns light brown and you get a nice aroma. This is your ‘bhaja moog er dal’. Wash and soak the dal in water for some time.

In thr same pan, add 1 tbsp oil. When it is hot, add dried red chilli, bay leaf, cumin seeds and garam masala. Fry the masala till it changes color.

Add the soaked dal and fry well. Remove from heat and keep aside.

Fry the fieh head in the same oil, which you have marinated with salt and turmeric  for some time.

Add some more salt, turmeric, ginger paste and cumin powder and fry well.

Fry the fish head with the masalas really well.

Next goes the fried dal with two cups of hot water. Let it boil for some time.

When dal is well cooked, and thickened a bit, adjust the salt. Add a pinch of sugar add this point. When it is done, switch off the heat and add the spoonful of ghee. Sprinkle some garam masala powder and keep covered for 15 minutes standing time.

Serve hot with plain rice and begun bhaja or brinjal fry.

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