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Salmon in a Bengali Mustard Sauce

(recipe, Madhur Jaffrey)


In Bengal, the mustard seeds are ground at home, but to make matters simpler, I have used commercial ground mustard, also sold as mustard powder. You may also use halibut instead of the salmon. This very traditional dish is best served with plain basmati rice, along with My Everyday Moong Dal, if you like, and a green vegetable.


  1. ¾ lb. skinless salmon fillet
  2. ¼ tsp. salt
  3. ¼ tsp. ground turmeric
  4. ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  5. 1 Tbsp. ground mustard
  6. ¼ to ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  7. ¼ tsp. ground turmeric
  8. ¼ tsp. salt
  9. 2 Tbsp. mustard oil (use extra-virgin olive oil as a substitute)
  10. ¼ tsp. whole brown mustard seeds
  11. ¼ tsp. whole cumin seeds
  12. ¼ tsp. whole fennel seeds
  13. 2 fresh hot green and/or red chiles (bird's-eye is best), slit slightly


  1. Cut the fish into pieces that are about 2-inch-by-1-inch and rub them evenly with the salt, turmeric, and cayenne. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 10 hours.
  2. Put the mustard powder, cayenne, turmeric, and salt in a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon water and mix thoroughly. Add another 7 tablespoons water and mix. Set aside.
  3. Pour the oil into a medium frying pan and set over medium-high heat. When hot, put in the mustard seeds. As soon as they start to pop (a matter of seconds), add the cumin and fennel seeds. Stir once and quickly pour in the mustard paste.
  4. Add the green chiles, stir, and bring to a gentle simmer. Place the fish pieces in the sauce in a single layer. Simmer gently for about 5 minutes, or until the fish is just cooked through, spooning the sauce over the fish all the time.