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Kashundi Macher Paturi - Fish in Mustard Sauce wrapped in Banana Leaf

Macher Paturi is a traditional Bengali recipe in which any white fish fillet (bhetki or swai or basa is preferable) or shrimp or Hilsa is cooked by wrapping in banana leaf. The word Paturi comes from the Bengali word ”Pata” meaning leaf, "Macher" means fish. In this particular form of cooking the ingredients are wrapped in leaves and cooked in steam or by roasting the parcel on the griddle. The leaves used in Paturi plays an important role in the cooking, as the leaves when steamed enhances the flavour of the dish. Almost any Bengali function or good old Bengali restaurant is incomplete without Paturi.

Banana leaves have been an important part of Indian cuisine and rituals. Use of leaf for wrapping cooking ingredients while cooking is also common among other cultures ,other than Bengali traditional style of cooking. Thai, Parsi, Carribean and Mexican style of cooking are abound with recipes using banana leaf to wrap key ingredients being marinated in various spices.

Paturi, very simple yet versatile and rich in flavour is said to have originated in Dhaka, but now it is considered to be one of the signature Bengali dishes, being cooked on special occasions and during festivities.

The fish pieces are marinated in a spiced mustard paste and wrapped in banana leaf individually and then slow cooked till tender. Some prefer to steam it and others prefer to pan roast it or grill it over an open flame.

The key element to this delicious fish recipe is that you need to marinate the fish with a melange of blended spices and mustard paste known as shorshe baata in Bengali, which gives it an amazing flavor. In my family we like it more with a homemade tangy Aam Kashundi and like the fried version of these delectable parcels of fish and tangy mustard sauce.

Ingredients for Kashundi Macher Paturi

Fish I would use Hilsha or Betki fish, but here in Germany I find red snapper fillets to be a good substitute.

Kashundi Kashundi is the Indian variety of mustard sauce. It is a classic Bengali mustard relish made by fermented mustard seeds.The fruity and spicy tones of this mustard make it an ideal candidate a marinade for your meats, fish and dressings for salads.

Kashundi can be easily made at home without much efforts. This is an easy recipe and it hardly takes 17 minutes to blend and cook all the ingredients.

Yogurt Use full fat plain yogurt or Greek yogurt for a thick creamy marinade.

Banana Leaves – Banana leaves are high in antioxidants, which may aid to prevent or postpone cell damage. They have a lot of polyphenols in them, which the food absorbs. They aid in the neutralization of potentially damaging free radicals in our bodies.

The leaves also have antibacterial qualities, making them effective against microorganisms in food. Furthermore, leaves are a much more environmentally beneficial solution than plastic cutlery. Dust and dirt are kept at bay by the waxy layer on the leaves.

Incase you can’t find banana leaves, you can do try using parchment paper.

Mustard OilMustard oil is available in two varieties: filtered and refined. If you are using filtered mustard oil, you will need to first heat it until it reaches its smoking point, then let it cool completely before using.

If you are using the refined variety (which I recommend), you can use it straight away. In either case, please use mustard oil that is labled specifically for cooking.

Green ChiliesYou can adjust the amount of green chilies according to your taste and spice level.

Serving Suggestions

Kashundi Macher Paturi is a fantastic dish both taste and in presentation. Serve the fish still wrapped in the leaf. This steamed fish recipe is very light and healthy and best served with steamed rice. Once the hot parcels are opened, the heady aroma of the fish and mustard will fill the air, getting the meal off to a spectacular start.

Storage Suggestions

To store Kashundi Macher Paturi bring them to room temperature first inside the banana leaf wrap. Arrange the pieces in a single layer in any airtight container and refrigerate. Consume within two days. Do Not open the leaf wrap until ready to eat.

Ingredients for 4 Persons

  • 245 g Kashundi

  • 125 g thick greek yogurt

  • 4 Red Snapper or Tilapia fillets

  • 4 Banana Leaves, each 20 x 40 cm

  • 30 ml Mustard Oil

  • 4 green Chillies, slices lengthwise


Whisk together the Kashundi and yogurt in a mixing bowl.

Clean the fish fillets and place them on a plate. Pour some of the Kashundi-yogurt marinade on the fish fillets and use your hands to coat the fish evenly on both sides.

Set aside for 15 minutes to marinade fish in Kashundi-yogurt-mixture.

Wipe the banana leaves clean with a moist kitchen towel. Then take 1 tablespoon on mustard oil in your hand and rub it on the leaves.

Heat a medium skillet on medium-low heat. When the pan is heated up, place one leaf in the pan and lightly press it for a second.

The heat will soften the leaf which will make wrapping easy without tearing. Repeat the same procedure for the rest of the leaves.

To wrap the fish, place one banana leaf on a clean surface. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the Kashundi-yogurt-marinade in the centre and place one fish fillet on top. Place 1 green chilli sliced lengthwise on the fish fillet.

Fold one side of the leaf over the fish, then fold the opposite side of the leaf over the fish to cover.

Then fold the remaining two sides over the top and seal the parcel with a toothpick, so that they do not open during the steaming process.

Follow the same process to wrap the rest of the fillets.

Place the same pan that we used earlier for the banana leaves on medium-low heat and add 15 ml of mustard oil.

When the oil is hot, place the wrapped parcels in the pan and cover the pan.

Cook for 5 minutes. Flip over the parcels carefully and cook for another 3 more minutes.

Serve the fish in the leaf so that each guest can open the parcel and enjoy the fish hot with steamed rice on the side.


  • You can even steam the Paturis instead of slow cooking in the oil.

  • You can also add more mustard oil while serving for the extra pungent taste.

I look forward to hearing from you...

...if you like my blog, my recipes inspire you and your curiosity for Indian cuisine has been piqued.

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