Bhetki Begum Bahar
Prep time
Cook time
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Bhetki Begum Bahar is a signature Bengali fish curry prepared with Bhetki Fish aka Barramundi.
Recipe type: Fish
Cuisine: Bengali
Serves: 6 People
  • Bhetki Mach/ Barramundi Fish: 6 Pieces (refer to the picture for the cut)
Marination Stage 1:
  • Turmeric Powder: 1 tsp.
  • Kashmiri Red Chili Powder: ½ Tsp.
  • Salt: ½ Tsp.
  • Lemon Juice: 1 Tbsp.
Marination Stage 2:
  • Egg: 1
  • All-purpose Flour: 2 Tbsp.
  • Semolina/ Sooji: 1 Tsp.
  • Garlic Paste: 1.5 Tbsp.
  • Ginger Paste: 1 Tbsp.
  • Kashmiri Red Chili Powder: ½ Tsp.
  • Salt: ½ Tsp.
To make the Spice Paste:
  • Cashew nut: 20
  • Raisin: 20
  • Poppyseed: 2 Tbsp.
  • Mace: 2"
  • Nutmeg: ½
  • Black Pepper: 15
  • Cinnamon Stick: 1"
To make the Gravy:
  • Remaining from the step 2 marination: ½ cup
  • Spice Paste: 3 Tbsp.
  • Onion Paste: 4 Tbsp.
  • Garlic Paste: 1 Tbsp.
  • Ginger Paste: ½ Tbsp.
  • Tomato Paste: 4 Tbsp.
  • Turmeric Powder: ½ tsp.
  • Kashmiri Red Chili Powder: 1 Tsp.
  • Garam Masala Powder: ½ Tsp.
  • Cumin Powder: ½ tsp.
  • Cinnamon Stick: 2"
  • Bay leaf: 1
  • Dry Red Chili: 1
  • Black Cardamom: 1
  • Green Cardamom: 3
  • Sugar: 2 Tsp.
  • Salt: to Taste
  • Other:
  • Mustard Oil: 5 Tbsp.
  • Ghee: 1 Tbsp.
  1. Wash fish chunks thoroughly.
Marination Stage 1:
  1. Marinate Fish Chunks with Turmeric Powder, Red Chili Powder, Salt and Lemon Juice for 30 minutes.
Marination Stage 2:
  1. Make a paste with Egg, All-purpose Flour, Semolina, Garlic Paste, Ginger Paste, Kashmiri Red Chili Powder, and Salt.
  2. Coat fish chunks with this paste and leave those for 30 minutes.
to make the spice paste:
  1. Soak Cashew nut, Raisin, Poppyseed, Mace, Nutmeg, Black Pepper and Cinnamon Stick in lukewarm water for 15 minutes.
  2. Make a smooth paste of the spices and the nuts.
To make Bhetki Begum Bahar:
  1. Heat Oil in a deep bottom pan.
  2. Fry coated fish chunks in low flame from both the side till those turn crispy and golden brown in color.
  3. Strain the fried fishes from the oil and keep aside.
  4. Now add half of the Ghee to the remaining oil.
  5. Temper the Oil with Cinnamon Stick, Bay leaf, Dry Red Chili, Black Cardamom and Green Cardamom.
  6. Add Onion paste and cook till the onion turn brown in color.
  7. Now add Garlic paste, ginger paste, and tomato paste and cook on low flame till the oil leaves the edges.
  8. Add the spice paste cook till the raw smell ooze out.
  9. Now add remaining batter used for coating the fish chunks.
  10. Add Sugar, Salt, Turmeric Powder Cummin Powder and cook till the spices cooked well.
  11. Now add 2 Cups of water and bring the mixture into a boil and cook till the gravy thickens.
  12. Once the gravy started boiling add fried fish followed by remaining ghee and garam masala powder.
  13. Cook for 2-3 minutes and switch the flame off.
  14. Don't overcook after adding the fishes as Bhetki is having very soft texture.
You may cook the Begum Bahar can be cooked with other Freshwater Fishes.
This dish is signified by the special but of the fish chunks and the way the fish is marinated and fried.
You may adjust the Red Chili Powder as per taste.
Instead of All-purpose Flour and Semolina, you may use cornflour to make the batter.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 150g Calories: 678 Fat: 27g Saturated fat: 6.2g Carbohydrates: 103.5g Sugar: 60.8g Sodium: 1155mg Fiber: 7.6g Protein: 15.8g Cholesterol: 56mg
Recipe by Debjanir Rannaghar at