Recipe Of The Day: Odia Machha Chinchada To Indulge In A Fishy Affair

No matter which part of Odisha you are in, you will find a fish dish in every authentic Odia restaurant's menu. Starting from Sukhua (dried fish) to Pohala (sardines), Odias love fish in all its forms and shapes. Odias can't help but relish every part of a fish by incorporating them into a delicious dish. One such dish is Machha Chinchada, a dish made with fish heads, some veggies, and dal. Savoured with Usuna Bhata (short-grained rice), Machha Chinchada is a quintessential part of the Odia cuisine. Here is how to make it.

Preparation time- 20 minutes

Cooking time- 25 minutes

Servings- 4


  • 2 fish heads
  • 1 cup chana dal
  • 1 eggplant, cubed
  • 1 potato, cubed 
  • 1 tomato, chopped 
  • 1 cup pumpkin, chopped 
  • 1 cup chopped beans 
  • 1 cup chopped onions 
  • 3 tbsp ginger-garlic paste 
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder 
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala 
  • 4 tbsp mustard oil 
  • Salt, according to taste


  1. Cut the fish heads into 2 parts and marinate them by adding a teaspoon of turmeric powder, salt, and a teaspoon of mustard oil. Keep them aside for 15 minutes. 
  2. Soak the chana dal for 20 minutes. 
  3. Heat a pan and add some oil. Fry the fish heads till they are cooked perfectly. 
  4. After the fish heads are done, heat some oil in a pressure cooker. Add the onions and fry them till they are translucent. 
  5. Now, add the ginger-garlic paste and cook till the raw smell disappears. 
  6. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook till they are mushy. 
  7. Once the tomatoes are done, add all the chopped vegetables and saute them for a minute or two. 
  8. Add the spices (turmeric powder, red chilli powder, garam masala powder) and mix well to combine. 
  9. Cover the pressure cooker with the lid and cook till the vegetables are cooked. (Probably for two whistles on high flame) 
  10. Meanwhile, cut the fish head into smaller pieces. 
  11. Once the vegetables are done, remove the lid and add the fish headpieces. Stir well to combine. 
  12. Cook the vegetables along with the fish head for 5-6 minutes and remove it from heat.

You can serve this curry with rice or Pakhala and taste the flavours of Odisha.