Doi Mach (Fish in Yogurt Gravy)

Doi Mach is a traditional Bengali fish curry that has a yogurt based gravy. It tastes mildly tangy and the spices are subtle, which makes this dish so good for hot summer days. I have shared here a great trick that will avoid yogurt from curdling when added while cooking curries. 

Doi Mach

Doi Mach literary, translated to yogurt fish, is a quick weekend fish curry. It takes roughly 20 minutes to prepare the dish, and it tastes best with steamed white rice.

Bengalis are known for their love for seafood, and I saw Ma preparing fish curry based on season. The rich curries are saved for cold winter nights and these light non-spicy fish curries are meant for warm summer days.

Doi Mach (Fish cooked in yogurt based gravy)

What variety of Fish is used to prepare Doi Mach? 

The most common fish that is used to prepare this dish is rohu fish, a species of fish of the carp family. It’s fresh lake water fish.

If you live in Bay Area, California then you can easily find this variety in several Indian stores that sells non-veg items. Here is one shop, I always visit to stock up on Bengali items, including seafood.

What other fish variety will work for Doi Mach

I have made this dish with salmon fillet too or tilapia. Except in those cases, you don’t need to deep-fry the fish, instead just a quick pan fry.

You can also try the same with shrimp or king fish.

Doi Mach (Fish cooked in yogurt based gravy)

Vegetarian version 

The tangy yogurt curry base is so good that you can switch up seafood with assorted veggies too. Cauliflower works amazing in this curry.

If you try a vegetarian version, please do let me know!

Adding Yogurt while cooking

If yogurt is not added the right way and at the right tome, it will curdle, and the curry will not be creamy at all. So here are few tips: 

1. Use thick yogurt and whisk it until smooth 

2. Always use yogurt right at the end when all the spices are cooked through. Because once you add yogurt you don’t want to cook for longer. 

3. Make sure the heat is medium low when you add yogurt. The high heat can curdle it easily. 

4. This tip is from my Mom. She adds a bit of all-purpose flour to the yogurt while whisking. I don’t know the science behind it, but it definitely helps to avoid curdling. 

Bengalis love for fish! 

Growing up in a Bengali family meant waking up listening to Rabindra Sangeet playing in the living room and watching Mom frying fishes for lunch. Things have changed a lot now since my parents eat more vegetarian meals. But there was a time when, probably just two days in a week, fish was not prepared.

By the time I reached teenage, I started disliking the taste of fish.

It was only after several years of staying away from home, not eating that classic everyday Bengali curries and especially, not eating river fish that my palate unexpectedly started craving for it.

I would call mom asking for recipes and tips on how I could prepare the same dish with sea fish instead, because those regional river fishes were not available there.

Check out for more fish recipes 

Bengali fish curry with yogurt based gravy

Fresh Lake water fish

Unlike sea fishes, river fish has a lot of tiny bones, and it’s not possible to eat it gracefully using a fork and spoon.

You have to use your hands to pick those bones, as you mix the gravy with steamed white rice. There is an extreme casualness about it, and we Bengalis love it!

Doi Mach (Fish in Yogurt Gravy)

Doi Mach (Fish in Yogurt Gravy)

Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Doi Mach is a traditional Bengali fish curry that has a yogurt based gravy. It tastes mildly tangy and the spices are subtle, which makes this dish so good for hot summer days. I have shared here a great trick that will avoid yogurt from curdling when added while cooking curries.

Ingredients

  • 6 pieces rohu fish fillets (you can try other variety too)
  • 1 teaspoon salt or as per taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1/4 cup mustard oil
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 3 green chilies
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 small bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon nigella seeds
  • 1/3 cup plain thick yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • cilantro leaves for garnish

Instructions

  1. Marinate the fish steaks with salt and 1/4 teaspoon turmeric and allow it to rest for about 15 minutes.
  2. In a bowl mix the rest of the turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder and chili powder with little water and give a mix. Keep aside to be used later.
  3. Using a small blender, make the onion, ginger and 1 green chili paste.
  4. In a wok or heavy bottom saucepan, pour the mustard oil to fry the fishes. You can shallow fry or deep-fry. Make sure the oil is hot before you drop the fish fillets. Fry the fish fillet for 2 minutes on each side and then take it off the wok to a plate.
  5. Remove any excess oil and retain 2 tablespoons oil.
  6. Keeping the pan in medium heat, drop the bay leaf, clove, cumin seeds and nigella seeds. Let it sizzle for a few seconds, then drop the onion ginger and green chili paste.
  7. Stir it around and cook for 2 minutes. Season with little more salt.
  8. Add the spice paste that was kept aside. Mix it around. Clean the bowl where the spice paste was made with 3 tablespoons water and pour that to the pan.
  9. Continue cooking in medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  10. In a bowl, add the yogurt, flour and whisk until it's smooth with no lumps at all.
  11. Pour it to the pan and stir to mix it around.
  12. Drop the remaining two chilies to the pan (leave it whole) it's just for flavor. You can however slit it in half if you want a spicier version.
  13. Pour 1/2 cup water and mix it around. Layer the fried fish and let it simmer in medium heat for 5 minutes.
  14. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve Doi mach warm with steamed rice.

Notes

What other fish variety will work? 

I have made this dish with salmon fillet too or tilapia. Except in those cases, you don't need to deep-fry the fish, instead of just a quick pan fry.

You can also try the same with shrimp or king fish.

Adding Yogurt while cooking

If yogurt is not added the right way and at the right tome, it will curdle, and the curry will not be creamy at all. So here are few tips: 

1. Use thick yogurt and whisk it until smooth 

2. Always use yogurt right at the end when all the spices are cooked through. Because once you add yogurt you don't want to cook for longer. 

3. Make sure the heat is medium low when you add yogurt. The high heat can curdle it easily. 

4. This tip is from my Mom. She adds a bit of all-purpose flour to the yogurt while whisking. I don't know the science behind it, but it definitely helps to avoid curdling. 

Doi Mach (Fish in Yogurt Gravy) 4

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12 Comments

  • Rosa
    Reply
    Rosa
    November 17, 2015 at 6:19 AM

    That fish dish looks really delicious and nourishing! So many great flavours. I wish I could eat your Doi Mach for supper!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  • Cygnet Kitchen
    Reply
    Cygnet Kitchen
    November 17, 2015 at 10:40 AM

    The only way I can get my husband to eat fish is to cook it with plenty of heat and spices. Love the look of this dish and your updated website, looks fabulous Kankana! x

  • Dolphia Nandi
    Reply
    Dolphia Nandi
    November 17, 2015 at 2:08 PM

    This doi mach looks so perfect! And seriously no bengali meal can happen without them 🙂

  • Dolphia Nandi
    Reply
    Dolphia Nandi
    November 17, 2015 at 2:09 PM

    And also you and I have so similar stories! I used to hate fish when I was teen. Also fish for most days except sundays 🙂

  • Edlyn
    Reply
    Edlyn
    November 17, 2015 at 8:32 PM

    I love fish!!! I’m so happy you wrote all of this because I reminded me that I need to eat all of the fish when I’m in Goa next month. My family eats some form of seafood every day. That’s our meat of choice. You can bet I enjoyed myself, eating fish when I was in Calcutta last last year and a few years before. Your photos are beautiful and the site update looks fantastic!! It means you have a little more time to cook and share recipes with is. I’m excited!

  • Ami@NaiveCookCooks
    Reply
    [email protected]
    November 17, 2015 at 8:48 PM

    I have been looking for fish recipes lately and this one sounds spot on!! Your photographs are awesome as always girl!!

  • angiesrecipes
    Reply
    angiesrecipes
    November 18, 2015 at 1:19 AM

    So delicious and packed with flavour!

  • Pang {circahappy}
    Reply
    Pang {circahappy}
    November 18, 2015 at 9:25 AM

    When you wrote, ‘and it’s not possible to eat it gracefully,’ I laugh because it does remind me so much of my family in Thailand. 🙂 This dish makes me homesick, Kankana, because it looks and sounds similar to Thai food, except we used coconut milk/cream instead of yogurt. I am inclined to say that I probably like your version a bit better though (shhh… don’t tell my mom)

    Thank you so much for sharing recipe; I am drooling over you wonderful photos, as I always do.

  • Sugar et al.
    Reply
    Sugar et al.
    November 18, 2015 at 4:56 PM

    I so enjoyed reading your post and taking in your gorgeous photos because it completely resonated with me, my childhood and family. I am still trying to teach my little boys how to eat fish with their hands..they don’t enjoy it as much as I do but hopefully we will get there:-) Beautiful work Kankana!

  • anita menon
    Reply
    anita menon
    November 18, 2015 at 9:55 PM

    Book marking this recipe for my fish loving friends. what kind of fish can i use if I don;t get the long silver fish?

    The pictures are just gorgeous!!

  • Nami | Just One Cook
    Reply
    Nami | Just One Cook
    November 18, 2015 at 11:21 PM

    It’s interesting how we keep our memory about certain dish from childhood and comes back later in life. This looks delicious, Kankana! I love fish all my life and I’d gobble this up immediately! 😀

  • Laura&Nora @Our Food Stories
    Reply
    Laura&Nora @Our Food Stories
    November 20, 2015 at 2:24 AM

    this sounds and looks sooo delicious!! wish we could have it for lunch now 🙂