Make Asma Khan's dum ki machli

Fragrant spiced yoghurt brings a moreish depth of flavour to Asma Khan's family recipe for Calcutta-inspired whole baked fish

Asma Khan's dum ki machli

Serves 6

Preparation time 4 hours

Cooking time 1 hour 10


  • 4 tbsp melted butter
  • 4 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 100 g fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • 3 green chillies
  • 750 g natural (plain) yogurt
  • 1 whole fish, such as sea bass or trout, (approximately 1.5 kg, gutted, scaled and ready to cook)
  • 2 tbsp chopped grapes (optional)

To garnish

  • Lemon slices
  • A few sprigs of fresh coriander leaves


  1. In a pan, heat the butter over a medium–high heat. Add the onions and garlic. Cook, stirring, until they just start to colour – this should take about 4 minutes – do not let the butter burn. Lower the heat to medium, add the ground turmeric, salt, ground pepper and sugar and cook for a further 4 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and leave to cool. Transfer the onion mixture to a food processor, add the chopped coriander and chillies, then blend to a paste.
  2. Stir the paste into the yogurt and pour over the fish. Leave to marinate for at least 4 hours.
  3. When ready to bake the fish, preheat the oven to 180°C. Place a sheet of parchment paper on top of a sheet of foil.
  4. Wrap the fish in the paper and foil, then place in a roasting tray. Bake in the preheated oven for 45-60 minutes, depending on the type and size of fish.
  5. When the fish is cooked, garnish with lemon slices and coriander leaves.

From Asma's Indian Kitchen by Asma Khan; photography by Kim Lightbody. Published by Pavilion Books .