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Dudh Mach From the Soul

Dudh Mach From the Soul

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Fish cooked in milk

Ruma Roy shares the recipe of fish made with milk called Dudh Mach which used to be one of Rabindranath Tagore’s favorite dish. She prepared it on a rainy day which stole the hearts of the family

25 of boishak is a day, which has a huge significance in any Bengali family. After all Gurudeb Tagore was born on this day. I remember as a young girl, we used to wake up early, get dressed in our best attire and went for a performance or two in Jorhat. By, we, I mean myself and Didi (my elder sister). But that is a story for another day.

Well those are days of the past. Singing too is an affair of the bygone days. But today while experiencing the petrichor, a thought came to my mind. I wanted to serve something special at the dinner table, and since the aura reminded me of the Rabindra Sangeet “Aji jhoro jhoro Mukhoro Badolodiner”, what else could be better than a dish from Tagore’s kitchen.

Sounds good, but there is only one problem, I do not know of any such recipe. Fortunately I recalled my daughter’s friend was once talking something about dudh mach which Tagore was especially fond of. I dialed the number and…

Hello Auntie bolchi” (Hello, Auntie this side)

“Hello Auntie, bolo kemon acho” (Hello Auntie, how are you)

“Bhalo rey, achcha dudh mach er recipe ta chai” (I am good, I need the recipe for fish in milk)

“Mane Thakur barir recipe?”(You mean the recipe from Tagore’s kichen?)

“Hmm otai” (Yes that one)

“Oh achcha, ota amar exactly mone nai,  Purnima Thakurer boi dekhe ami pathia dichchi” (Oh Okay, I don’t remember exactly, but I shall fetch it from Purnima Tagore’s book and send it to you)

“Thik ache dari korish na?”(Okay, don’t be late)

“Na Na” (No No)

After that it was waiting time, and while doing so I did two things. I took out the fish and kept it for defrosting and then I relished a pan (beetle leaf) with my 132 Zarda. Mind you I do not promote chewing of tobaccos.

In a while I received the following text.


Hello Auntie,

Check out the recipe,


Fish (Large Rui/Katla) : 4 pcs.

Onion: 1 large

Ginger: half an inch

Garlic: 5-6 cloves

Ghee: 4 Table spoons

Mustard Oil: 2 Table Spoons

Milk: 300 Milliliter

Cardamom: 3 Nos.

Cloves: 3 Nos.

Cinnamon: Half an inch

Garam Masala Powder: half a tea spoon

Salt: To taste


Marinate the fish with salt.

Grate the onion, ginger and garlic separately.

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Once done take out the juice from the onion and garlic and mix it together. Add the grated ginger to this mixture and keep aside.

Heat mustard oil in a pan and shallow fry the fish. Mind you do not change the color. Once done keep the fish aside.

Add ghee in the oil and add the whole garam masalas. Gradually add the juice mix and fry for some time. Once you see the bubbles add the 270 milliliter of milk and let it boil.

Add the fish once the raw smell goes and let it simmer.

Take the remaining milk and reduce it to a thick consistency and add it to the pan.

Finish with ghee and garam masala powder.

Serve with plain rice or basanti pulao.

I read it, cooked it and served it. What followed at the dinner table was something like this…

“Ata ki korecho shada shada mach?(What is this white color gravy with fish)My daughter asked at the dinner table.

“Ata abar ki dhoroner mach? (What kind of fish is his)” asked my husband.

“Kayai dekho na ata Kobigurur priyo macher recipe (Try it and see. This is Tagore’s favorite recipe) I informed them.

After taking their first bite there was pin drop silence. Finally my husband said “Aro akta mach ki pawa jabe?(Will you serve me one more fish)

My daughter was smiling which was good enough to understand her satisfaction.

For me it was pure love which I felt deep within just the way I feel listening to Tagore’s songs.

“A recipe has no soul. You as the cook must bring soul to the recipe.”
– Thomas Keller

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