Machha Besara Recipe

By Author   |   Published: 16th Apr 2017   12:15 am Updated: 16th Apr 2017   12:22 am
Machha Besara

Try the Machha Besara, a staple of Oriya households this weekend. Perfect for a Sunday lunch or a special occasion, it is sure to have you going for seconds. SundayScape reader Suchitra Patra shares the recipe.


Fish – ½ kg
Mustard seeds – ¾ cup (yellow mustard seeds, if available, otherwise black mustard seeds)
Turmeric powder – 1 ½ tbsp
Chili powder – 1 tbsp
Dhania powder – 2 tbsp
Onion – 3 (medium sized)
Tomato – 4-5 (medium sized)
Green chili – 2-3
Garlic paste – 1 tsp
Ginger paste – 1 tsp
Bay leaves– 2-3
Cardamom – 3-4
Cinnamon sticks – 2
Pancha phutana (mix of jeera, mustard seeds, methi, kala jeera and saunf) – 1 tsp
Vegetable oil – 100 ml
Salt to taste


  • Clean the fish and cut the fish into slices (thin or thick) and marinate with salt and turmeric powder for 20 mins.

For the Mustard paste:

  • Soak mustard seeds in water for 10 mins.
  • Add one chopped onion, two to three green chilies, one tsp of jeera and mustard seeds each and blend them to a thick paste like consistency.

For Tomato paste: 

  • Blanch four to five tomatoes and blend.


  • In a thick-bottomed pan, shallow fry the fish in oil till it’s done and set aside.
  • Now in a different pan, heat four to five tbsp of oil, add pancha phutana and let it crackle.
  • Add the diced onions and sauté till golden brown.
  • Add ginger paste, sauté for one to two minutes.
  • Add garlic paste, sauté for one to two minutes.
  • Now add turmeric and red chili powder, followed by the tomato paste and sauté for two to three minutes.
  • Add mustard paste and sauté for four to five minutes.
  • Add salt to taste and four to five cups of water.
  • Once the gravy comes to a boil, add fish to it and cover the pan on medium flame.
  • Once the gravy is thick, it’s done. Garnish with cinnamon and cardamom powder and finely chopped coriander leaves.

Note: Don’t over fry the tomato paste or the pancha phutana, otherwise the whole curry will taste bitter

When frying the fish, make sure to keep it soft and not crispy.