Dinner Tonight: Salmon in a Bengali Mustard Sauce Recipe

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Dinner Tonight: Salmon in a Bengali Mustard Sauce Recipe

Normally, when I get my hands on a nice fillet of salmon I tend to treat it like a steak, keeping it whole and cooking it over moderately high heat. So I was completely off balance when I began to cook this recipe from Madhur Jaffrey's At Home with Madhur Jaffrey. The fillet is cut into pieces, covered in a spicy rub, and then cooked gently in a mustard-loaded sauce. I mean, there's ground mustard and mustard seeds in this one! But I didn't worry too much; Jaffrey has never failed me before.

And I couldn't have been happier with the result. Though there is no cream or butter, the sauce is surprisingly rich and layered. It nicely envelops each piece of salmon. About the fish: I worried the salmon might dry out, but the slow simmering keeps each piece incredibly tender and juicy. All this dish needs is some white rice or maybe a simple dal.

  • Yield:2 to 3 people
  • Active time: 20 minutes
  • Total time:1 hour


  • For the Fish Rub
  • 3/4 pound skinless salmon fillet
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • For the Mustard Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ground mustard
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, depending on how much spice you want
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons mustard oil (or extra-virgin olive oil)
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole mustard seeds (brown or yellow)
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
  • 2 hot green chilies, slit slightly


  1. 1.

    For the fish rub: Cut the fish into 2-inch by 1-inch pieces, and transfer them to a medium-sized dish. Combine the ingredients for the rub. Sprinkle the rub on top of the fish pieces. Cover the dish, and stash in the fridge for 30 minutes to 10 hours.

  2. 2.

    For the mustard sauce: Meanwhile, combine the mustard powder, cayenne, turmeric, and salt in a small bowl. Add one tablespoon of water and mix well. Then add another 7 tablespoons of water and mix again. Set aside.

  3. 3.

    Pour the oil into a large skillet set over medium-high heat. When shimmering, add the mustard seeds. Cook unil they begin to pop, just a few seconds. Add the cumin and fennel seeds. Stir well, and then add the mustard sauce and the chiles. It should begin boiling immediately. Reduce heat to maintain a bare simmer, and stir well. Add the fish pieces in a single layer. Simmer gently until cooked through, about five minutes. While they are cooking, continuously spoon the mustard sauce on top of the pieces.

  4. 4.

    Serve the fish and sauce with white rice.