Fish Hara Green Masala Recipe

Marco Verch/Flickr/CC BY 2.0


Prep: 75 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 95 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings

Fish hara green masala is a fish recipe that uses masala -- a spice mix popular in Indian cuisine. This tangy steamed fish dish is good for you, easy on your waistline and simple to make. Use any firm white fish for this recipe.

Green hara masala is a fresh and savory paste made with cilantro, mint, onions, ginger, garlic and spices. You can make it as hot or mild as you wish by varying the amount of green chilies you use, or leave them out if you don't want any heat. The hara masala has no fat; the only fat in the dish comes from the mustard oil, and you can limit the amount you use if you like.

You will need a food processor to make the hara masala and a steamer to steam the marinated fish wrapped in banana leaves.

You can find most of the ingredients at a well-stocked grocery store other than the banana leaves, which are usually available at Asian or international markets. You can substitute corn husks, parchment paper or even aluminum foil for the banana leaves. The leaves don't add flavor to the dish, but you will use them to wrap the fish during steaming. The ​banana leaves also create a nice presentation for serving the dish.


  • 2 pounds -- or 1 kilogram -- of any fish with firm, white flesh cut into 1 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons mustard oil
  • Banana leaves
  • For the Hara Masala:
  • 16 ounces cilantro (4 big bunches coriander leaves)
  • 8 ounces mint (2 bunches mint leaves)
  • 2 large heads garlic (20 to 30 cloves)
  • 6-inch piece fresh ginger
  • 3 green chilies (to taste - more for hotter, fewer for milder)
  • 2 large onions (sliced)
  • 4 sticks cinnamon (2 inches each)
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 12 cloves

Steps to Make It

Make the Hara Masala

  1. Use a food processor to grind all the ingredients into a smooth paste. Add water only if needed to ensure that the ingredients have been fully ground. This should produce about 4 cups of green masala.

Prepare the Fish

  1. Marinate the fish in the hara masala (green masala) for an hour, refrigerated.

  2. Place two pieces of fish on each banana leaf and pour a tablespoon of mustard oil on each piece.

  3. Wrap the banana bundle tightly and tie each parcel with a string.

Cook and Serve the Fish

  1. Steam the packets until they are fully cooked, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. The fish should be white and opaque throughout when done.

  2. Serve the fish with hot plain, boiled rice. You can place the entire banana leaf packet of fish on the plate and allow each diner to unwrap it, or you can unwrap the banana leaves before serving the dish.

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