Bengali Fish Bhuna(Sea Beam fish)/easy steps to follow

                                       Bengali Fish Bhuna(Sea Beam fish)/easy steps

fish bhuna
fish bhuna

Bhuna is a dry curry cooked with aromatic spices ,herbs and tomatoes. Bhuna is originally came from Bengali cuisine. In Kolkata people call it ‘kosha’ or ‘jhal’. People says that this type of combination of cooking was used for wealthy Bengali rulers .Then gradually it became a very popular dish in all over the Bengal and other parts of India.
Bhuna is basically when all the spices are fried in very hot oil , then fish or meat are added into, and cooked in their own juices without any water. Basically bhuna is supposed to be a dry spicy fish or meat dish. Bhuna has become one of the popular curry recipe in UK.

One good thing about bhuna is , you can eat it with anything, you can eat bhuna with Indian bread , any other bread, rice, with stir fry vegetables or even on its own. If you cook this dish one day ahead, it will taste even better, because all the spice mixture and flavours will penetrate right inside the fish or meat.

One of the most important spice for bhuna is Indian five spices (pachforn), which is simply mixture of five kind of aromatic seeds. 1) Cumin seeds( jeera ), 2) nigella seeds ( kalojere), 3) fenugreek seeds ,4) black mustard seeds ( kalo or sada sorshe),5) fennel seeds (mouri). We will add the five spices at the beginning ,when oil is very hot we will add the seeds mixture, it will infuse the oil with their own individual flavour. And most importantly all of these spices has got medical goodness, they are extremely good for boosting your immune system.

Bengali five spices
Bengali five spices

Ingredients :

fish bhuna Ingredients
fish bhuna Ingredients

Fish : 3 fresh whole sea beam fish/ sea base/ any fish you like
Five spice mixture (pachforon): half table spoon
One red onion: chopped
Lemon juice: four table spoon
Garlic cloves: 3 to 4 big cloves chopped
Ginger: one big table grated spoon
One green chilli / as per your taste/add more if you like very hot
One whole red chilli
Coriander powder: one table spoon
Cumin powder: half table spoon
Turmeric powder: one table spoon for gravy and one table spoon for marination
Tomato : one chopped
Tomato puree: one table spoon
Lime leaves: I have used few dry lime leaves/ fresh if available
You can use coriander leave to garnish
Olive oil/ mustard oil: 4 table spoon
Salt to taste

Step 1:

Marinate the fish with lemon juice, turmeric powder, salt, little oil for half an hour.

marinate the fish
marinate the fish

Step 2:

Add oil in pan, after the oil is very hot add five spice mixture (panchforn) and crushed (by hand) red whole chilli, you will see they are crackling and dancing on the oil, then almost immediately add chopped garlic and chopped green chilli.

When the garlic is brown add onions.

Once onions are reddish-brown add ginger. Fry them for one minute.

Add all the spices
Add all the spices

Then add all dry spices,tomatoes ,crush the lemon leaves by your palms and add onto the pan. Add little water just to stop them burn. Water will get dry very quickly, then add little more water and continually stir them. This adding water into spices and stir them until water gets evaporated oil comes out from the edges will repeat three times.

Now add fish.

photo 1

Traditionally fish is fried before it’s added to the gravy. But being health conscious ,I will not fry the fish. Cover the lid for five minutes in low heat. If you think spice will burn ,you can add little water .

photo 3
After 8 minutes one side of fish would be cooked slightly , then gently turn the fish around , cook the other side in low flame for about 20 minutes, it will take around half an hour to cook for medium to large size fish.
You can use coriander leaves to garnish the fish.


10 Comments Add yours

  1. This recipe with paanch phoron brings back memories from childhood 🙂


  2. Looks yummy, never tried this before, will try this the next time I fry fish 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. payel says:

      Thank you Santosh! Please do try the fish,I also love to fry the fish most of the time…😃

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Eta darun recipe Payel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. payel says:

      Thank you Anuradha di!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Faye says:

    Hi Payel, can you explain to me why we need to cook the sauce three times? Does that improve the flavour significantly?Thanks! Faye


    1. payel says:

      Hi Faye, thanks for asking a very intelligent question, not many people will notice that. Yes more you cook the spices, more it explore their flavour to the sauce. It’s very important in Indian cooking.Any spices if you cook them for longer time it will bring more flavours, specially when we are cooking Indian sauces. Hope that helps.☺️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Faye says:

        But doesn’t cooking it until oil returns be enough? I know your recipe doesn’t say that. It only says to cook until dry then restart the process by adding water. And thank you for replying because no one else tells me the secrets.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. payel says:

        😁Hope you enjoy your cooking!


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