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Tel Koi 2

Tel Koi - recipe

A rich gravy, priamarily made with the use of minimal spices and mostly mustard oil is what defines the dish. For Koi mach, which I believe is also known as climbing perch, this is a typical gravy made in most Bengali households. Every house also has different variations and the one common factor is the ratio of oil to water is much higher. This is my grandmother's recipe which I have learnt from my mother. Recipe Author: Madhushree
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Bengali
Servings 6 Nos Koi Fish


  • 6 nos koi mach
  • 1 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 2 tsp Red Chili Powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp Cumin Powder
  • 2 1/2 tbsp Mustard Paste
  • 1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste optional
  • 2 tsp Ginger Paste
  • 8 tbsp Mustard Oil or you could keep 1 cup of mustard oil. Be generous!!
  • 4 nos green chilies
  • salt as required


  • Marinate the fish in 1/2 a tsp of turmeric powder and little bit of salt and keep aside.
  • In a frying pan, take 2 tbsp of mustard oil. When the oil is hot, lightly fry the fishes. Frying koi mach is a bit tricky. Koi mach is always bought live and sometimes while frying, the fish (even though dead), jumps out of the pan. So, while frying, make sure to keep the lid on.
  • Make a paste of red chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, 1 tsp of turmeric powder, mustard paste, tomato paste, ginger paste, 2 tbsp of mustard oil and some salt.
  • Tomato paste is something which can be used as per your taste. I use the tomato paste since it gives an additional red colour and makes the gravy quite rich. My grandmother never used tomato paste.
  • Once the fish has been fried, use a slotted spoon to take them out of the frying pan and keep them aside.
  • In the same frying pan, add 3 more tbsp of mustard oil. When it becomes hot again, add the masala paste. Initially keep the heat on high and fry the masala for a couple of minutes. Then lower the heat and cook the masalas till the raw smell goes off and oil releases from the sides.
  • Add the fish and coat them with the masalas. Keep the heat low so that nothing burns.
  • Add a cup of water and then increase the heat and let it simmer.
  • Add some split green chillies. And finally drizzle some more mustard oil. Be generous with the mustard oil. Check the seasoning and add more salt if required.
  • The recipe is called tel koi (tel meaning oil) , hence there is more oil than water.
  • Serve it with some steaming rice.
Keyword bengali fish curry, bengali fish recipe, bengali koi maach recipe, bengali tel koi recipe, koi maach recipe, koi mach recipe, tel koi, tel koi recipe