A Recipe for Fish Head with Malabar Spinach

This traditional Bengali recipe is the winner of July’s recipe contest, where we asked the Goya community to submit their favourite recipes featuring Malabar Spinach. A favourite with Bengali grandmothers, this recipe calls for fish head, an ingredient that imparts an earthy, briny depth that, to those in the know, is nothing short of intoxicating. Joyadrita Ragavendran’s recipe has a careful balance of salt, sweet and spice. For those with a sweeter palate, she recommends replacing potato with sweet potatoes, resulting in a dish that is every bit as delicious as the original.

Recipe: Ilish Macher Matha diye Pui Shaak


2 bundles of thick-stemmed pui shaak/Malabar spinach, washed and chopped
2 Ilish matha/Hilsa fish head, fried and broken into smaller pieces 
100 g orange pumpkin, diced
100 g ridge gourd, diced 
2 medium sized potatoes 
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp turmeric powder 
1 tsp panchphoron (Bengali five-spice mix)
2 dried red chilies
2 tbsp mustard oil/vegetable oil
Salt to taste
Sugar to taste


Heat oil in a kadai, add panchphoron and whole red chili and temper. 
Next add the vegetables, and sauté for a few minutes. 
Now add the dry masalas and sauté again. 
Once the oil starts separating, add the chopped pui shaak.
Now add salt and sugar to taste. 
Cover and let it cook till the leaves wilt, 2-3 minutes. 
Remove the lid and add the fried fish head. Stir the curry gently. Switch off the stove and let the curry cool for 2 minutes before serving it with steamed rice.