MURI GHONTO: Fish head cooked with spicy rice

"Muri Ghonto," screams weekend decadence. Which Bong, worth her/his salt, would not love to dig into Muri Ghonto on a Saturday afternoon, with some gorom bhaat. It becomes the first course, the second course, or even the third course, for those of us who swear by this heady fish dish. I love love love Muri Ghonto, especially from Momma's kitchen. I must add that no one, literally no one makes Muri Ghonto like my Momma. Oh ! Calcutta and Bhojohori Manna can take a backseat please. I am so particular about her signature recipe, that even after all these years of cooking, I still refer to her original recipe, once, before I even start the prep work.Its like Bible.

Bongs love their quota of fish, and every bit of their fish. I might not be true blue Bong in terms of my knowledge of Rabnidra Sangeet or Bangla Sahitya(Bengali Literature), but I am a true blue bong, for my love of Fish. I am primarily a non veg eater, and Fish is surely my first love. I still remember how I made sure that a deep fried Machher Muro( Fish Head ) was a part of my Bridal Shower lunch, and that Mom had not missed it, amidst all the craziness going on at the last hour.So a dish made with spicy rice and a large fish head, has to be one of my all time favorites.

Well, yes, there are a few variations in which this quintessential Bong delicacy is whipped up, and I am sure every family swears by their concoction. My mom makes it with Gobindo Bhog Chaal (a fragrant short grained rice) . Varaitions include cooking with Chire(Poha/Flattened Rice) or even Moog Daal(Mung Beans). I have to resort to the Basmati Rice, as I do not have the luxury of getting a supply of Gobindo Bhog Rice. Muri refers to Muro or Fish Head. And Ghonto refers to a style of Bong cooking.  Usually the Head of a Rohu Fish( a biggish fresh water fish) is the ideal choice for the Muri Ghonto. Its often said that the larger the Rohu fish, the tastier the resulting dish is. Well, its definitely not a dish for the squeamish, as a love for the Fish head is a pre-condition. I have had Fish head dishes from quite a few Asian cuisines,and even an Italian soup, which had a serving of Fish Head, but nothing comes close to this spicy and heady Bong delicacy. So go ahead and cook up a storm this weekend !!

Fish head cooked with spicy rice : 


Rohu Fish Head: 1: Cut into 4 pieces
Turmeric: 2 tsp
Red Chili Powder: 1 tsp
Salt: to taste
Mustard Oil: 4-5 tbsp
Cumin Powder: 1 1/2 tsp
Coriander Powder: 1 tsp
Potato: 1 large: Cubed
Basmati Rice: 1/2 cup
Bay Leaves: 3
Cloves: 2
Cinnamon Stick: 1/2 inch
Green Cardamom: 4
Ginger-garlic-onion paste: 1 1/2 tbsp


Coat the fish head with salt and turmeric. Heat oil in a non stick pan, and shallow fry the fish head. When the fish head is half fried, use the stirring spoon, and break the fish head into pieces. Fry using a splutter guard. Keep the fried fish head pieces aside. 

 In another non stick deep bottom pan, add mustard oil, and add the whole garam masala and the bay leaves. Once they get aromatic, add the onion-ginger-garlic paste and fry it around for a few minutes. Once the masala starts to change color, then add the dry spices and mix well, and fry for a minute or so. Make sure that the dry spices don't get burnt, add a few splashes of water if needed. 

 Add in the fried fish head pieces and the rice and mix everything well. Fry this mixture for around a couple of minutes, stirring frequently. 

 Add in the diced potatoes and enough hot water to dunk it all. Mix everything well. Add salt to taste. Cook covered, till the rice and potatoes have cooked and the water has been absorbed by the rice. Keep stirring frequently.

 Check for seasonings. Cook uncovered if you feel that there's too much moisture. 

Serve hot with steamed rice !! 

Bon Appetit !!! 


  1. Amio gobindo bhog chal diye banai ..brings out the best taste I believe...tobe ami last e namiye ektu ghee di..Tomar ta dekhe lobh hoche

  2. Thanks a lot !!!! Ghee amar Ma-o den, kintu amar ghee ta besh onek din dhorei shesh hoye gechhe.

  3. I came across your blog while looking for some bengali food recipes and liked a lot. How amazing! I will keep an eye on your post.

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