Monday, September 6, 2010

Mur(d)i Ghonto (Bengali dish) – Curried Fish Head

This is not an everyday recipe. A Bengali household can relish Macher jhol everyday with gorom gorom (hot) bhaat (plain rice). And when the whole Rui (rohu) mach (fish) is brought home, carefully the Ginni (lady of the house) cleans the fish, separates the daily quota and puts the fish head in the deep freezer along with the remaining packets. On a Friday night, before sleep engulfs her, she chalks out her menu for the next day. She thinks of cooking mur(d)i-ghanto for the Saturday lunch, when everyone in the house is together for a sumptuous meal with some finger-licking dishes. She takes utmost care to cook her mur(d)i-ghanto and happy with the compliments that come her way.

The ‘she’ in me is no way less interested. Last Saturday I cooked mur(d)i-ghanto.

Speaking of mur(d)i ghanto, the ‘d’ sound has its own effect in it. Not a tongue twister but the tongue helps in bringing the two sounds the Kingfisher Ad...

Cookinh Mur(d)i Ghanto is easy. For this dish we need:

Fish head – 1 big Rohu head will do. Clean it properly, wash, rub it with some haldi (turmeric) powder and salt.

1 tomato, washed and cut into tiny pieces.

In the meantime peel two big potatoes, wash and dice them.

2 onions, 4-5 fat garlic cloves, 1 inch long ginger, all go together into making a paste.

Kick start the cooking process by placing the kadhai/wok on the stove. Pour oil enough to fry the fish head. Once done, this goes into waiting.

Pour out some oil from the kadhai into a small bowl for later use. There should be about 2 tbsp oil remaining in the kadhai.

Now tip in whole garam masala – cinnamon 1 inch stick, cloves 4-5, cardamom 4-5 – don’t beat them hard but a simple crush in mortar and pestle so that they are slightly broken. Tip them in the kadhai and soon the aroma of the grand Indian spices will start spreading all around. Add 2-3 bay leaves.

Add the onion, ginger, garlic paste and cook for 3-4 minutes.

Put in the tomatoes pieces. Soon the tomatoes will start breaking up and become mushy.

After having cooked for 6-7 minutes add the cubed potatoes. Cook till the oil separates from the masala.

In the meantime take 2 tbsp of raw rice and roast them in another pan. Once the rice starts hopping and popping around in the pan, pour them into the cooking kadhai.

Now break the fried fish head into smaller pieces, tip into the kadhai and stir cook for 2 minutes.

Add water (sufficient for the potatoes to cook), cover with a lid and let the curry cook over high flame.

Once the water dries up Mur(d)i Ghanto is ready to be served.


Savour this dish with plain rice or roti.
And let me know. 


  1. amader bariteo tai saturday ba sunday lunch e eta thake. sara saptaher macher matha sesh kora hay ei dish die. amar bar aar bhai dujonei khub bhalobase eta. tabe akdom thik roj korle chap ache. ja tel masla lage. sundor dekhte hoeche Gouridi.

  2. darun lagche! jibhey jol eney diley...:)

  3. Dear Didibhai
    Cant wait to make this , a big rohu fish head is there in the fridge. I was planning to cook it like sandeepa of Bong mom. ( sandeepa's recipe is awesome already made few times). Your recipe is bit different and I am going to try it.
    Today I cooked again Ilish Machher Tak as per your was awesome ...Bou ( wife, I refer her as Bou or someone ) has devoured it.
    Bhalo theko

  4. please send some for me... I absolutely love it...

  5. Ish dekhei khete ichhe korchhe..kotodin je khaina...aaar amar machher matha na hole khaoai hojom hoto na...ekhane paoa jae kintu ato frozen khetei ichhe kore na...

  6. Ghoto ta daarun hoyechhe !!

    Thanks for dropping by Gauri , came here after a long time it seems....
    I will try your potoler daalna soon . I have a question about the addition of rice into this ghonto , i have tasted ghonto and loved it but the rice.

  7. Gaouri, a new recipe for me. Never tried this way before. 2 questions though; did you deep fry the fish? Also, since you are breaking the fish head, wouldn't it mean that there would be thorns in the gravy? Does this mean we have to be very careful while eating with rice or do you de-bone the fish before crumbling it?

  8. Oh this looks awesome..yummy yumm!!

  9. That looks terrific...A great recipe for the fish lovers...

  10. Sayantani, tumi aar tomar choto jon kemon acho? Baccha care niyo, season ta bhalo noye.
    Bhalo theko.

  11. Arundhuti, bhalo laglo comment ta pore. Thanks for being here.

  12. Ushnishda, let me know about this after you try it out.
    So you cooked ilisher tak and glad to know my boudimoni and you relished it.
    I enjoy reading your comment.

    ...and keep smiling...

    Gouri (Didibhai)

  13. Kamalika, please collect your awards from my blog. amar-o macher matha khete bhalo lage.

  14. Sangeeta,
    pretty long time I have been there. Somehow your space was missing from my list...following it now...
    The rice gives the special crunchiness.
    Good to see you here.

  15. Madhu, this dish is cooked with the fish head only. Make 2 pieces of the fish head by cutting it from the middle. That makes it easier for frying.
    The fish head is deep fried.
    Don't use pieces of the fish.
    Once the head is deep fried it is easy to break it up into smaller pieces.
    This dish has more of the fishy smell and taste and no pieces added to it...more of the bones of the head...but tastes great.
    Hope you find it easier now.

  16. Gulmohar, fish lovers will relish it.

  17. lovely dish ...:)

    please visit me when time permits !

  18. Hi Jagruti, welcome and thanks for visiting.
    You have a lovely space and I'll be there again.

  19. Lovely dish..looks so yummy...thanks for sharing.

  20. Sounds very interesting. In my husbands family everyone enjoys the fish head, not so much me. These days for his sake I make them and I see him relish it with great joy. Traditions more than recipe sometimes is so fun I think. Love the story like way you talked about fish stacked off carefully to prepare it on a special day.

  21. Dear Gouridi

    My husband likes muri ghonto. Hope to use your method and prepare it at home soon.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Hamaree Rasoi

  22. I started eating Mudi Ghonto almost when it was time to leave home. My husband dislikes it, coz he does not like fish head. Ami ekhane ek baar ekta boxful baniye ekta Bangali bondhu ke diye chilaam. Tomar hather Mudi Ghonto khete ichche korche. I love it now.

  23. Muri ghonto amar bhishon bhalo lage. Dal bhat r shathe muri ghonto thakle khabarer mojai alada. Darun baniyechho r dekhei khete ichhe korchhe.

  24. darun testy ami try korechi.
    thanks dear

  25. I came across your blog while looking for some bengali food recipes and liked a lot. How amazing! I will keep an eye on your post.