Besan ki machhli – Gram flour crepes in mustard gravy

besan sabji3

This Mother’s Day, when I asked my mummy about her favorite food that her mom used to make; it took her a few minutes to recall! She has always cooked my dad’s favorite or ours all her life so she was really excited to think about some of “her” food that she cherished growing up! She came up with mutton curry and pulao that she used to eagerly look forward to every Sunday and a vegetarian dish called “besan ki machhli”!

Machhli is fish in Hindi and this vegetarian delicacy is a traditional recipe from Bihar, which is cooked in mustard gravy and tastes like fish curry, hence the name! I have made an attempt to prepare this the traditional way, just like my Naani (grandma) used to make, without any twists or tricks:) Loved every bit of making this today–from start to the finish!!

This might seem like a time consuming recipe, but in reality this besan curry is made with simple ingredients and require minimal effort.

 Recipe                                                  Serving: Makes 4 chillas             Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients for chilla (crepes)

1 cup besan (gram flour/chickpea flour)

1 tsp. garlic paste

½ tsp. turmeric

½ tsp. red chili powder


salt to taste

  1. Make a batter with the above ingredients, medium consistency, a bit thinner than pancake batter.
  2. Heat a tsp. of oil in a non-stick pan.
  3. Pour the batter with a ladle and spread to make chillas (crepes).
  4. Fold into three folds, when cooked from the bottom side. Flip and cook until crisp.
  5. Cut into small squares and set them aside.

besan subji2 besan subji

Ingredients for mustard gravy

3 tbsp. yellow mustard seeds

2 tbsp. black mustard seeds

5-6 cloves garlic

4-5 whole red chilies

1 tsp. panch puran**

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

2 tbsp. mustard oil

  1. Grind mustard seeds, garlic and red chilies into a smooth paste.
  2. Heat mustard oil in a pan.
  3. Add panch puran and let it cracke.
  4. Add the masala paste, turmeric, salt and fry for 4-5 minutes.
  5. Add chopped tomatoes and fry for few more minutes until the tomatoes get semi-mushy.
  6. Add water to make thin gravy and let it boil.
  7. Add the cut besan pieces and boil for couple minutes.
  8. Enjoy it with white rice!

Besan ki sabji

Tip: You can add fish fillets to this gravy to enjoy the non-vegetarian version!!

**Panch puran (phoran) is a colorful blend of five seeds: fennel seed, black mustard, nigella seed, fenugreek seed and cumin seed.

2 thoughts on “Besan ki machhli – Gram flour crepes in mustard gravy

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