A shorshe jhaale can be made with many different types or fish or even maybe some vegetables that absorb the flavour. The sauce is as quintessential Bengali affair; typically done with Parshey, Pabda and most importantly Ilish, but today I tried it (on an aunty’s recommendation) with fresh sardines. A dish amiss in any restaurant away from Kolkata but also a dish that graces most family’s dining tables and leaves the diners licking their fingers clean.
The shorshe is the freshly ground mustard paste which is an iconic flavour profile in Bengal. We would NOT use bottled mustard for this at all and it’s one of the only times I will remember to soak my yellow mustard seeds and actually turn it into this magical creamy paste with some fresh mustard oil, green chilli and some salt. It’s a dreamy combination once you crack the right ratios (depending on the heat of both the chilli and the mustard seeds). The jhaale is for the spicy and fragrant green chillies that take this to another level. Safe to say, this sauce is almost a rite of passage into Bengali cuisine.
P.S fresh sardines are usually pretty cheap at a fishmongers and I’d highly recommend that you give them a go. Head to tail eating is always the best way for meat and fish and this is a great fish to start that journey with (if you so wish!)


  • Marinate 8 sardines with 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp salt and the juice of half a lime
  • Blend 2 tsp soaked yellow mustard with 2 tbsp boiling hot water, 1 green chilli, 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp mustard oil. Blend til smooth and opaque.
  • In a hot frying pan add 2 tbsp mustard oil and a pinch of whole mustard seeds, a pinch of nigella seeds and 2 slit green chillies. Fry for 20 seconds and add in small pieces of potato.
  • Fry on medium heat for 3-4 mins to brown the potatoes.
  • Crank up the heat a bit and add the marinated fish. Let it sizzle for 1 min and gently turn them all. Let it sizzle for another 1 min.
  • Add the mustard paste along with 1/2 cup hot water and put the lid on for 6-7 mins. Keep the heat on medium for this.
  • Take the lid off and cook on high for 4 mins.
    Perfect with rice !

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Sohini Banerjee


- Supperclubs

- Private Dining

- Cookery Class