Bangladeshi fish curry with daikon

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Fish curries are immensely popular in Bangladesh, and this recipe is a shining example of why. Meaty chunks of white fish are simmered alongside chunks of daikon radish in a mildly spiced sauce, that's simply begging to be soaked up with fluffy white rice. For more authentic Bangladeshi recipes, see Dina's feature.

First published in 2019
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Bangladesh is the land of fish and rice. This dish is traditionally cooked with a freshwater fish called Rohu, which belongs to the carp family. It’s available frozen in Bangladeshi grocery shops, however you can substitute with large chunks of cod or another white meaty fish. Daikon is called moola in Bengali and is a staple vegetable used in meat, fish and vegetarian dishes. The subtle sweet taste of this vegetable pairs well with the mild flavour of white fish. There’s freshness from the coriander added at the end and the jhol (or gravy) is light and mildly spiced.

Most main or curry dishes in Bangladesh are served with boiled white rice and it’s a prerequisite for this dish as the fish and daikon are the heroes of the meal. A squeeze of lime – in particular Bangladeshi lime, which is very aromatic with a knobbly green peel (available from Asian grocery stores) adds the perfect finish.





If you are using rohu fish it will usually be frozen. Soak it in cold water for 30-45 minutes to defrost and while still a little firm, descale and cut each steak into quarters and wash in cold saltwater a few times. Drain and set aside. If using an alternative such as cod, cut into 2 ½ inch chunks then rinse, drain and set aside
Top and tail the daikon and peel using a potato peeler. Cut in half widthways then cut each half down the middle, lengthways. Now slice into 2cm-thick half-moon pieces. Rinse and set aside
Place a large, shallow saucepan over a medium heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot add the crushed garlic and stir for a minute until pale golden
Add the onion paste and salt and cook for 3-5 minutes, until the onion softens and becomes translucent, stirring occasionally
Pour in 200ml of water then cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice
After 10 minutes add the ground spices and stir for a couple of minutes so that the spices cook through. Cover and cook for 5 minutes over a low heat then stir in the daikon. After a minute or so add 200ml of water. Cover and cook for 10 minutes on a medium heat
Add the fish pieces to the pan and mix thoroughly so that the fish is coated in the spices. Gently shake the pan and cover and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat. It is very important not to stir the pot after this stage
Meanwhile, boil some water. After the 5 minutes are over carefully pour 500ml hot water into the pan. When doing this pour into the sides of the pan so that you don’t pour boiling water directly onto the fish
Give the pan a gentle shake then cover and simmer over high heat for 15 minutes. Add the chopped coriander and chillies and continue cooking for another 5 minutes then turn off the heat. Serve immediately with rice and the lime wedges
First published in 2019

Dina Begum a cookbook author and writer who is passionate about highlighting the recipes and food traditions of Bangladesh.

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