Katla Mach er Kalia/Spicy Katla Fish Curry

Katla Mach er Kalia is a traditional, age-old Bengali style fish curry. I grew up eating this, and it has been an all-time family favourite dish. I can still remember in the past, whenever Baba was coming back home with Katla mach, Ma used to make this spicy fish curry with the pieces, and the fish head went into dal for that Mach er Matha die Dal (Dal with fried Fish Head), which is another Bengali delicacy. I’ll share that recipe in future. We don’t get good quality Katla fish very often here in Delhi. So, a few days back, when hubby luckily got some from the fish seller I couldn’t think to make anything else except Kalia. Below is how I cooked Katla Mach er Kalia. You can add some raisins while making the curry, it will give the Kalia a Biebari feel. I hope you’ll enjoy cooking it. 🙂

Katla Mach er Kalia/Spicy Katla Fish Curry
Katla Mach er Kalia/Spicy Katla Fish Curry

Katla Mach er Kalia/Spicy Katla Fish Curry


  • Katla Fish- 6 pieces
  • Onion- 2 medium sized (peel and cut into halves lengthwise)
  • Tomato- 1 big sized (roughly chopped)
  • Garlic- 8-9 cloves
  • Ginger paste- 1 tbsp
  • Salt
  • Sugar- 1 tsp
  • Kashmiri mirch powder/Red chilli powder- ½ tbsp (Adjust as per your tolerance)
  • Green Chillies- 5-6 (slitted)
  • Turmeric powder
  • Cumin powder- 1 tbsp
  • Coriander powder- 1 tsp
  • Garam masala powder- ¼ tsp

For tempering

  • Dry red chilli- 2 (broken)
  • Bay leaf- 2
  • Green cardamom- 4 (lightly crushed)
  • Cloves- 3-4
  • Cinnamon- 1” (two pieces)
  • Cumin seeds- ½ tsp
  • Mustard oil


In a food processor add onion, garlic, green chillies and tomato, blitz until smooth paste forms. Keep aside.

Rub salt and a 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder on the freshly washed pieces of Katla. Heat ½ cup of oil in a kadai/deep frying pan and shallow fry the fish pieces until golden brown. Remove and keep aside. In the remaining oil (5-6 tbsp oil should be there in the kadai, otherwise add some more oil) temper with all the ingredients mentioned ‘for tempering’. Sauté for a few seconds, add the onion-chilli-garlic-tomato paste. Mix and fry for 1 minute over medium heat. Add ginger paste, cumin powder, ½ tsp of turmeric powder, coriander powder, kashmiri mirch powder and salt. Mix well and fry till the oil separates from the masala (1-2 minutes max). Add 1 cup of water. Mix and give this a quick boil over high heat. Reduce the heat, add the fish pieces now. Mix, cover and cook over low heat until the raw smell of the masala goes (15-20 minutes max). Add sugar, garam masala powder, mix gently, and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Remove from the heat.

Your spicy and delicious Katla Mach er Kalia is done. Serve hot with steamed rice.


  • Adjust the gravy according to your desired consistency. Add more water if you like. I prefer my kalia on the thicker side.
  • Sugar doesn’t make the fish curry sweeter, it balances the taste of other spices in a Bengali style Fish Curry.

A few days back while scrolling through the Instagram timeline this captivating picture of Katla caught my eyes. It was captured by none other than Sammya Brata, he is one of the most talented photographers I know. I thought the picture would compliment this post.

Katla Mach er Kalia/Spicy Katla Fish Curry
Katla Mach er Kalia/Spicy Katla Fish Curry


  1. One of my very favourite dishes. Looks amazing Chandrimadi.
    One question though, how and when do I add the raisins??


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