Bhetki Begum Bahar

This Rich, aromatic, spicy fish curry has a special place in my heart. It was one significant dish on the menu of my marriage. The catering company who did the food was best in town at that time. And that too was run by my father’s childhood buddy. Luckily I get to know the recipe from this uncle on my last Kolkata trip. Uncle told me that this curry tastes best with Bhetki/Barramundi fish. One can use Rui/Rohu or Katla if Bhetki is not available.

Few days back I got some fresh Bhetki from my local fish vendor. The fish was real good and tasted excellent in this curry. Let’s get into the recipe…

Bhetki Begum Bahar
Bhetki Begum Bahar

Bhetki Begum Bahar


  • Bhekti fish pieces- 9
  • Onion paste- 3 tbsp
  • Garlic paste- 1 tsp
  • Ginger paste- 1 tsp
  • Green chili paste- ¾ tsp
  • Cumin powder- 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder- ½ tsp
  • Kashmiri mirch powder- ½ tsp
  • Garam masala powder- ¼ tsp
  • Nutmeg powder- 1 pinch
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar- ½ tsp
  • Mustard oil

For Spice paste

  • Poppy seeds- 1 tbsp
  • Mace- 1
  • Raisins- 1 tbsp
  • Cashew nuts- 1½ tbsp

For first Marination

  • Salt- 1 tsp
  • Juice of 1 lemon

For second Marination

  • Cornflower- 3 tbsp
  • Onion paste- 1½ tbsp
  • Ginger-garlic paste- 1 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder- ½ tsp
  • Kashmiri mirch powder- ½ tsp
  • Green chili paste- ½ tsp


1. Marinate the fish pieces with lemon juice and salt. Keep aside for 1 hour.

2. Add all the ingredients mentioned ‘for spice paste’ in a mixer/grinder. Add ¼ cup water into this. Grind until a thick coarse paste forms. Keep aside.

Spices for Spice paste
Spices for Spice paste
The spice paste would look like this
The spice paste would look like this

3. Now mix everything mentioned ‘for second marination’ with the marinated fish pieces. Keep aside for 30 minutes.

First and Second Marination
First and Second Marination

4. Heat 1 cup of oil in a deep frying pan/kadai (nonstick preferably). Fry the marinated fish pieces until golden in color. No need to fry them for a longer time. Keep aside.

Pieces of fried Bhetki
Pieces of fried Bhetki

5. In the remaining oil (4 tbsp oil should be there in the kadai, otherwise add some more oil) add onion paste, ginger and garlic paste. Mix and cook for few seconds on medium flame. Add cumin powder, turmeric powder, green chili paste, kashmiri mirch powder and salt. Mix well and fry until masala starts leaving oil. It will take 2 minutes maximum. Add 1 cup of water into this. Mix and give this a quick boil on high flame. Reduce the flame, add spice paste now. Mix and cook further on low flame for 10-12 minutes. Check salt. Add sugar, garam masala powder and nutmeg powder. Mix well cook on low flame for 2-3 minutes more. Pour this curry on fried fish pieces. Cover and let this dish seat for 15 minutes before serving.

'Bhetki Begum Bahar' before serving
‘Bhetki Begum Bahar’ before serving

6. Serve hot with steamed rice or Pulao.

[yumprint-recipe id=’4′]

Bhetki Begum Bahar
Bhetki Begum Bahar



One Comment

  1. Pradeep Verma

    Hi Chandrima,
    Thanks for this lovely recipe. I tried it with 1/2 kg Bhetki (6-7 pieces) and it came out superb!


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *