Zamin Doz Machli

Zamin Doz Machli’ – An old Awadhi recipe for cooking fish, wherein a whole fish is stuffed with spices sealed in an earthen utensil, buried in the ground and cooked by the placing cow dung cake fire on the ground above. Though it takes 6-7 hours to cook (if cooking in winters extend the cooking time by about an hour extra), it is worth the wait! In the days of yore, special earthenware cases were made to order by the kumhars (potters) according to the size and shape of the fish to be cooked. The case would fit the fish like a glove and moisture would be absorbed by it. The final product would have an earthy flavour. Of course such luxuries are rare these days the fish-shaped case can be substituted with the easily available roti-dish or the flat curd-setting dish. Today with modern ovens, this dish can also be prepared in an oven by covering marinade and by baking in a casserole dish at the lowest temperature for approximately one hour.


1 kg – Sole Fish
100 gms – Gram Flour
50 gms – Aniseed Powder
25 gms – Caraway Powder
250 gms – Curd
15 gms – Almonds
15 gms – Pistachio
25 gms – Desiccated Coconut
200 gms – Charoli (Chironji)
20 gms – Poppy Seeds
20 gms – Ginger
20 gms – Garlic
1 tbsp – Chilly Powder
Salt to taste
2 nos – Mace Blades
4 nos – Black Cardamom
6 nos – Cloves
6 nos – Pepper Corns
Food Colour – Orange
1 no – Lime
1 tbsp – Oil
150 gms- Flour

Cooking Instructions :
  • Skin and wash the whole fish and slit one side lengthwise. Squeeze the juice of one lime and apply with salt on the Fish. Keep aside for 15 minutes.
  • Grind the ginger and garlic to a paste.
  • Blanch and peel the almonds, grind to paste along with lightly roasted poppy seeds and charoli (chironji) and desiccated coconut.
  • Blanch, peel and finely chop pistachio nuts.
  • Grind to a paste the mace, cardamom, cloves and peppercorns. In a teaspoon of water, dissolve the edible colour and apply evenly on the marinated fish.
  • In bowl mix all the above and the remaining ingredients except the pistachio nuts and stuff inside the fish.
  • Grease with oil a flat earthenware dish, the kind used to set curds in, and place the fish in it along with cover with a lid and seal with flour (atta) dough.
  • Bury 4″-6″ below the Ground. Cover and place a slow cow-dung cake fire or charcoal fire on the ground directly above the dish and let it cook for 6 hours. (in winters increase the cooking time by about an hour extra)
  • Open and serve with roomali roti.