A spicy fish curry prepared with a little excess oil and this is one of the star dishes of Bengali kitchen. Tel means Oil in Bengali and Koi is the fish here which is called Climbing Perch in English. As the name Tel Koi suggest, it is indeed a beautiful combination of fish and oil. The oil here has to be mustard oil, the gravy needs to have a thicker consistency and yes, the fish needs to be super fresh.
We don’t get fresh Koi often here. Since the day I have started this blog, I have been longing for this Tel Koi recipe to be documented on my blog. Because of the unavailability of the fish it took me two long years to come up with the recipe. Luckily, yesterday my husband saw it available online and we ordered it in no time. I am happy, super happy. While my blog get the recipe now, I relish my favourite Tel Koi with gorom bhat (piping hot rice). Life is good!
Pishimoni used to cook awesome Tel Koi. I have never seen her using any powdered spice (except turmeric powder) in this recipe. Actually, the recipe demands less number of spices. The idea is to let the fish and oil dominate over everything else. The minimum spices we add here are the paste of whole spices. Less water, more oil with fresh fried fishes in it, a dash of freshly chopped coriander leaves at last – this is heavenly.
For this recipe, I have taken 500 gm cleaned and gutted fish and I got 11 standard pieces of fish here. The number of fishes may vary depending on their sizes. Here’s the recipe of Tel Koi for you all.
- 500 gm koi mach
- 2/3 cup tomato paste
- 4 green chilli, slitted from middle
- 1.5 table-spoon ginger paste
- 1 tea-spoon nigella seed
- 1 table-spoon cumin seed
- 1 table-spoon coriander seed
- 3 dry red chilli
- 7 table-spoon mustard oil + some more to rub the fishes
- 1.5 tea-spoon turmeric powder (1 + 1/2)
- handful of chopped coriander leaves
- salt, according to taste
- 1 cup warm water
- Soak cumin seed, coriander seed and dry red chiilis in hot water for 20 minutes. Grind everything together to a fine paste. Keep aside.
- Rub the fishes with little salt, 1 tea-spoon turmeric powder and some mustard oil. Let it rest for 10-15 minutes.
- Heat oil in a pan and fry the fishes on both sides until brownish. Remove and keep aside.
- Temper the same oil with nigella seed and allow to splutter.
- Add coriander-cumin-red chilli paste and ginger paste. Over low flame, stir until raw smell goes off completely.
- Add tomato paste, remaining turmeric powder and salt. Stir cook until oil starts separating out.
- Add water, mix well, cover and cook over medium flame for around 7 minutes.
- Open the lid and add fishes one by one. Give a quick mix. Cover and cook over medium flame for another 10-12 minutes.
- Open the lid and sprinkle chopped coriander leaves. Give a quick mix and turn off the flame.
- Cover and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Your Tel Koi is ready to be served now.
Serve with rice and enjoy this rich Bengali dish with your loved ones. Do drop me a comment giving your feedback about this recipe. You can also tag me on Instagram using the handle @when_a_bong_cooks.