Climbing Perch in Mustard Sauce | Koi Macher Sorshe Jhal Recipe.

Climbing Perch in Mustard Sauce | Koi Maacher Sorshe Jhal is an iconic freshwater fish recipe cooked in a simmering broth of freshly ground mustard paste. A perfect match with steaming hot white rice!

Climbing Perch in Mustard Sauce | Koi maacher sorshe jhal recipe.

Climbing Perch in Mustard Sauce | Koi Macher Sorshe Jhal is an Indian recipe that hails from the eastern part of India where freshwater fishes serve as the main staple food. It's a local recipe that is cooked in a freshly ground mustard paste base! Pair it up with hot steaming rice and you are all set for the day!

A hearty meal in a Bengali household is incomplete without a fish gravy! We just love to eat fish and we love to eat it every single day! The recipe I am going to share today is one such old-school recipe that we grew up eating and relishing especially during the winter months. It has the right amount of taste, pungency, and sweetness embedded in every layer. I can make a meal out of this delicious Climbing Perch in mustard sauce gravy + a bowl of hot white rice, and I won't mind catching up on a siesta as well :)
Climbing Perch in Mustard Sauce | Koi maacher sorshe jhal recipe.

Climbing perch or "Koi Maach" is available all 365 days a year but these freshwater fish taste delicious and sweet only during the winter months. We are very fond of "Koi Maach er sorshe jhal" or Climbing Perch in mustard sauce during the chilly winter months and I have a set of very fond memories associated with this particular delicious food. Just a note of caution Climbing Perch, is notoriously famous for its soft bones, so be prepared to pick many bones as you go :)
Climbing Perch in Mustard Sauce | Koi maacher sorshe jhal recipe.

Today's Climbing perch is cooked in the freshly ground mustard paste, a few sliced onions, chopped garlic and lots of green chilies! -  Back home the mustard seeds are ground diligently using a traditional mortar and pestle but I didn't follow the traditional route because I don't own one here back in USA. Hence, I ground the mustard seeds in a mixer grinder and the best way to perfectly grind mustard seeds is to dry grind first and then add water and wet grind to a fine paste.

Climbing Perch in Mustard Sauce | Koi maacher sorshe jhal recipe.

Make this iconic mustard gravy using "Koi Maach" or climbing perch and relish the taste forever! The raw mustard oil used for garnish adds a certain amount of kick to the gravy and the slit green chilies give in all the heat. Here's why you should try out this recipe. It's...


Climbing Perch in mustard sauce | Koi Macher Sorshe Jhal Recipe is an Iconic recipe that's cooked in almost every Bengali household especially during the winter months. In my maternal home, the mustard is ground into a paste just before the gravy is cooked and it tastes amazing! The magic of fresh ingredients is unbeatable for sure. Let's get on with the recipe....
Climbing Perch in Mustard Sauce | Koi maacher sorshe jhal recipe.
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Recipe Card For Climbing Perch In Mustard Sauce | Koi Macher Sorshe Jhal Recipe.

Koi Maacher Sorshe Jhal, Climbing Perch in Mustard Sauce, Koi Maach, Bengali recipe, Climbing perch, mustard paste, fish recipe.
Main Course, Non-Vegetarian, Sea Food, Indian Recipe, Bengali Recipe, Local Recipe, Fish Recipe.
Bengali Cuisine, Indian Cuisine.
Yield: 2Pin it
Climbing Perch in Mustard Sauce | Koi maacher sorshe jhal recipe.

Climbing Perch in Mustard Sauce | Koi Maacher Sorshe Jhal Recipe.

Climbing Perch in Mustard Sauce | Koi Maacher Sorshe Jhal is an iconic freshwater fish recipe cooked in a simmering broth of freshly ground mustard paste. A perfect match with steaming hot white rice.
prep time: 10 minscook time: 20 minstotal time: 30 mins


  • 4 Climbing Perch or "Koi Maach".
  • 3 teaspoons black mustard seeds ground into a fine paste.
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder.
  • 6 tablespoons Mustard Oil.
  • Salt according to taste.
  • 1 small onion finely sliced.
  • 1 small tomato finely sliced (optional).
  • 3 pods garlic sliced.
  • 1 teaspoon Poppy seeds ground to a fine paste.
  • 1/4 teaspoon Nigella seeds.
  • Green Chilies whole or slit according to taste.


  1. Smear the washed and cleaned Climbing perch or Koi Maach with turmeric powder and salt and keep aside. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in your favorite skillet over high heat and fry the fishes until golden (both sides). Keep aside.
  2. In the same skillet add 2 tablespoons oil and heat it over medium-high heat. When hot add the nigella seeds + 2 slit green chilies. The nigella seeds will splutter and they will release a lovely soft aroma.
  3. Now add the sliced onions and stir fry for 2 mins. Add the sliced garlic and stir-fry for more 2 mins. Cover and cook until the onions + garlic turns translucent. (about 3 mins).
  4. In a small bowl mix, the mustard paste + poppy seeds paste + turmeric + 6 tablespoons water. Dilute and release the mixture into the hot skillet just over the onions.  Add more warm water according to your taste preference. Stir, add salt according to taste. Add the sliced tomatoes. Cover and cook for 10 mins.
  5. After 10 mins add the fried Koi maach or Climbing Perch + Slit green chilies. Cover and simmer over low flame for 3 mins.
  6. Switch off the flame. Garnish with 1 tablespoon raw mustard oil. Serve with steaming hot white rice.
  7. Enjoy!


*Always dilute the mustard paste in water because adding the paste directly to the hot skillet will impart a bitter taste to your gravy.
*Never fry or saute mustard paste after adding to the skillet. The gravy will become bitter. Adding more water and simmering it over a low flame is the key to the recipe.
*Do not brown the onion and the garlic. They should be just translucent. Bowning them will drastically change the taste of the gravy. And unfortunately, it will taste horrible!
*After adding the fried fishes do not simmer more than 2-3 mins. Over simmering will make the fishes soggy and they will fall apart as well as lose taste.
*Adding raw mustard oil as a garnish will take your gravy a notch up and it will taste fantastic. Try it out & see the magic happen!
*Adding tomatoes is totally an optional step. You may completely skip out the tomatoes. I love adding tomatoes to some of my "jhal" recipes because I love both the taste and the color of the gravy.
*Add the fried fishes just before serving the gravy. It tastes the best and the fish do not get over soaked in the gravy!
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Climbing Perch in Mustard Sauce | Koi maacher sorshe jhal recipe.


  1. Though I am a pure vegetarian , I must say the way you prepared the gravy it must tastes amazing. Beautiful presentation.. Must be a crowd pleaser ..

  2. I love seafood and am drooling looking at the color of that gravy! I like the taste of ground mustard seeds in this recipe and your fabulous presentation shows that the fish is cooked perfectly!

  3. This fish curry looks divine and so inviting! As a Goan, I can relate with you when you say you love your fish curry :)

  4. Fish in mustard sauce is so irresistible. Beautiful clicks. Thanks for the recipe

  5. Wow!!! Looks amazing! Love all the spices and flavors, especially ground mustard; all that yumminess! Unique name for this nice to learn new dishes dear :) Thanks for sharing!

  6. Fish looks gorgeous well i’m not a big fan of fish but my husband loves fish..i’ll surely share your recipe with him, bookmarked!!

  7. Wow.. feast for the eyes and stomach.. book marking it :)
    Can we make the same curry with a different fish if we don't find this one.

  8. Wow Meghna this is just so tempting I am drooling over here just need some gorom bhaat and I am done love such soulfood the best to enjoy in winter days.

  9. The fish curry in mustard sauce looks very inviting Meghna! I am sure it must have tasted great..though never had a chance to taste it.

  10. climbing perch in mustard sauce looks great with rich gravy. Lovely presentation must say. First I thought you are sharing some travel story after reading I realized it is a recipe :)

  11. A gravy in mustard sauce sounds yum. This pics are sure so tempting.

  12. I love any fish curry.This makes me have captured the dish so beautifully which I always miss...I have tried capture the fish curry which never satisfied me and sits in my draft for long time

  13. Perfect recipe for chilly days, mustard oil, mustard paste and poppy seeds give this dish a robust taste.