Odia Soriso Bata Macha/ Maacha Besara (fish cooked in mustard paste)

Odia Soriso bata macha/ maacha besara (fish cooked in mustard paste)– fish curry in mustard and tomato paste, giving you a burst of flavours, redolent of Odisha, its beaches, coconut trees and home

In the current crisis situation, I have often wondered what are the things that people take comfort in. And it’s even more difficult for people who live away from home.

Living away from home is never easy. A home is not made of brick and mortar, certainly not tin or planks of wood. It is where one finds comfort, nurtures relationships, and raises a family. It gives sanctuary from daily struggles. An extension of one’s identity, it provides us a sense of belonging. A place of tranquillity and serenity, it is where one longs to be when not there. This can only be where one’s family, friends and community reside.

All of us have felt anxious and worried at some point, thinking of the uncertainties that this pandemic has presented. Not surprisingly, hungry migrant workers were determined to trudge hundreds of kilometres to reach “home” in their village. 

I have tried to think how it must feel to be in such a place- when ‘home’ seems like a distant place and possibly ‘home’ also does not bring enough solace to your soul. Because who knows, the struggles are of just a different nature there. Yes, we can sympathize and it’s not difficult to do that. But can we ever empathize? It seems like a difficult task, isn’t it? That would mean that we bring ourselves down to their position and oh boy are we ready to do that!

Here is a recipe for a fish curry with a sublime mustard paste, which has brought comfort to many troubled nights and made me feel at home no matter where I am.

Combinations with Soriso bata macha

  1. Rice, daali (arhar dal), soriso bata macha, aloo muniga, laal saaga (amaranth leaves tempered with light spices), pampada
  2. Rice, daali (arhar dal), soriso bata macha, aloo muniga, pampada, baigana bhaja
  3. Rice, daali (arhar dal), soriso bata macha, kadali bhaja (banana fry), saaga (any leafy vegetable), aloo bhaja

Recipe Notes:

  1. When you’re frying the fish, make sure you press the spatula and gently turn the fish. You might break the fish or remove the skin if you are not careful.
  2. Never add too much methi seeds in any dish.

Moving on to the recipe:

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: Indian (Odisha)

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Total time: 50 minutes

Servings: 2


  • Rohu fish (200 gms)
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

For the mustard masala/ paste

  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds (sarson)
  • ½ tbsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 12-13 garlic cloves
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes

For frying the paste

  • 3-4 tbsp oil
  • 3-4 methi seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup water
  • coriander leaves for garnishing



  1. Marinate the fish with turmeric powder, lemon juice and salt for 30 minutes.
  2. Make a paste of the ingredients mentioned under mustard masala.


    3. Heat oil in a kadhai or pan. Fry the marinated fish in this oil in low flame for 4-5 minutes on both sides. Keeping it in high flame will burn the skin without cooking the fish thoroughly.

    4. Remove the fish.

5. Take some more oil in the same pan. Add methi seeds to it when the oil is hot.

6. Add the mustard paste and salt. Fry the paste. Remember not to over fry this paste. Mustard paste gets bitter when over fried. Stop when oil starts leaving the paste. Add water.

7. After water starts boiling, boil for another 2-3 minutes and add the fried fish.

8. Cook for another 10 minutes. Add chopped coriander leaves.

9. Enjoy with rice.

Thanks for Reading !