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Fish Curry with Sorrel Leaves (Suka Xaak Masor Aanja)

Updated: Jan 4, 2023

The markets in Assam are stocked with a variety of greens that we do not usually see in other parts of India, and ones that I am unfamiliar with. These sorrel bunches are one of these wonderful greens. Suka Xaag, a variety of the sorrel family, and called bladder dock in English, is a small round leaf with a delicate sour flavour. The leaves cook quickly and the resulting curry or vegetable stir-fry has a love;t light tanginess to it. These greens are also reputed to be very nutritious, a fact that is noted in all Assamese cuisine. This is a very traditional dish in Assam and one that is loved. The fish are smothered in a lovely light sauce that is tangy and delicate. The lovely green colour makes the dish attractive. This was a lovely curry that I enjoyed with steaming rice. For more recipes by Zafar, click here.


3 tablespoons mustard oil

1 1/2 lb fish fillets, from katla or rohu

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Salt, to taste

3 tablespoons mustard oil

1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

4 bunches Assamese sorrel (suka xaag), leaves and tender stems finely chopped

2-3 green chillies, sliced

1 teaspoon turmeric

Salt, to taste

1 cup tomato purėe

1/2 cup water

Rub the fish with turmeric and salt and allow it to marinate for 45 minutes. Heat the oil in a frying pan till very hot and fry the fish till cooked through and browned on both sides, about 5 minutes a side. Set aside.

‘Heat the remaining oil in a small pot, one large enough for all the ingredients. Add the fenugreek seeds and sauté for 30 seconds till they turn a darker shade. Add the turmeric and give the pot a quick stir.

Add the green chillies and sorrel and cook on low heat for 12-15 minutes till the leaves are well cooked. Add the tomato purée and cook till the sauce is thickened and the oils begin to rise to the surface, about 12 minutes.

Add the salt, fried fish and water and bring to a boil. Simmer gently for an additional 5 minutes. The final curry should be just beginning to cling to the fish yet be quite thin. Taste and adjust salt.

Serve hot with rice.

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