The Bangladeshi Kitchen

Rui Machher Jhaal Kalia – Spicy Fish Kalia

1.25 hours
Prep: 30 minutes | Cook: 45 minutes | Servings: 4-6

For every cooking style of the Bengali kitchen, you will find one we have tried with the Rui fish (grass carp). Be it jhole, jhaal, kormal or kalia – rui can do it justice. Of the many different kalia recipes, this particular one is quite spicy and the resultant gravy has a very rich and suitable red color.


  • 2 lb fish, cut into 3/4 inch steaks
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 inch ginger, finely chopped
  • 4 green chili, slit down the middle
  • 3 tbsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil, preferable mustard oil
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1 tsp sugar (optional)


  1. Marinate the fish with 1 tsp turmeric and 1 tsp of salt and set aside
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy pan over high heat
  3. Fry the fish until golden brown (do note that the oil must be very hot or else the fish will stick to the pan). Set aside the fish
  4. Trun down the heat to medium, and in the same pan, add the cumin seeds and bay leaf until it seeds start to splutter
  5. Add the onion, garlic, and green chili and stir fry until the onions start to caramelize
  6. Add the remainder of the spices along with 1/4 cup of water and fry the spices until most of the water evaporates
  7. Add in the yogurt and stir fry until it starts to stick to the pan
  8. Add the fish steaks turning them over so that both sides have a liberal coating of the spices
  9. Add 2 cups of water and bring to boil
  10. Sprinkle in the rest of the salt and the optional sugar (check for seasoning and add additional salt if ncessary)
  11. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes until the gravy thickens

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