Bombay Duck / Bombil Curry (Coastal Fish Curry)

Earlier in my blog I had posted a recipe for Goan Fish Curry ( In that post I did mention that Goans use different kind of masala pastes for various fishes, depending on the kind of fish being used for the curry. This recipe is another delicious and appetising fish curry recipe which uses a different masala paste prepared out of few very simple ingredients.

Fresh bombay duck (bombil) is traditionally caught in the waters off Maharashtra. The fish is also an important yearly catch in the Bay of Bengal. Hence it is popularly prepared in some parts of Bengal and mostly in Maharashtra, Konkan and other Western Coastal areas of India. This form of fish, when available fresh, is cooked in form of curry or fried with rava (semolina) and served as an appetizer – more popularly known as “bombil fry”.



DH loves this fish! Just after our wedding, I remember him telling me stories of his childhood, associated with this particular variety of fish. He clearly made me understand the high level of importance Bombay Duck holds in his life. :D, which clearly meant I was supposed to learn how to prepare it! So once again I seeked help from MIL and started making this dish more often for our weekend lunches. Generally at one go he tends to buy 1 kilo of bombil, I use half of it for frying and half quantity for the curry. Believe me….each and every bit is wiped out in just one sitting! Taking into consideration, what big fish lovers are DH and DD (although DD is sometimes picky with her fish) it does not come to me as a surprise to see the whole quantity being gulped down by the two so-called fish-crazy cats in my house!!

This recipe of bombil curry is delicious and is a treat when eaten with white rice and some fish fry on the side.


Bombay duck / Bombil – 1/2 kg

Coconut (fresh / grated) – 1 small cup

Coriander leaves – 1 big bunch

Garlic cloves – 7-8 cloves

Green chillies – 4-5 (can use more if you want it more spicy)

Tamarind – 1 small pulp

Mustard seeds – 1 tsp

Dry red chillies – 2-3

Curry leaves – 6-7

Turmeric powder –  1 tbsp

Red chilli powder – 1 tbsp

Fish curry powder – 1 tbsp (optional)

Salt – to taste


  1. Soak the tamarind pulp in warm water for about 30 mins. After 30 mins, squeeze out the pulp, discard any seeds and make tamarind water.


2. I used partly fresh coconut slices and partly grated coconut.

Fry the coconut in a little oil

3. Grind the coconut, coriander leaves, green chillies and garlic cloves in a blender until you get a very smooth paste. You should not be able to feel the coarseness of the coconut any more, the paste should be that smooth.


4. Take a pan. Heat some oil. Put mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds crackle, put dry red chillies and curry leaves. Stir for a minute.

P.S: Traditionally dry red chillies are not used for tempering in the curry. However i opted to use them as I had used less green chillies while blending the paste. You can cut it out if you are using more green chillies. I do this so that the curry is not too spicy and it’s easier for me to feed DD.


5. Add the masala paste that we prepared earlier. IMG_20160416_132138.jpg

6. Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder and fish curry powder. Stir and cook the paste until oil oozes out.




7. Then add 1.5 cups of water and also the tamarind water. Add the salt. Bring the curry to a boil.


8. When the curry is boiling, add in the fish pieces.


9. Let the curry boil for 5 mins. Check the seasoning. Turn off the flame and cover with a lid for 5 mins.


Enjoy the bombil curry with plain white rice and fish fry on the side.


4 thoughts on “Bombay Duck / Bombil Curry (Coastal Fish Curry)

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