Crispy Fried Small Bengali Fish – Tengra Biran with Aubergine and Pepper Bazi

We eat many small fish in Bangladesh as they do in Thailand and Cambodia. Different types come in different sizes. The smallest being Khesri, which is only between 1 and 2 cm long. And by small I mean small. Haven’t a clue what it’s called in any other language. They are just 1 cm long and you eat them in a fish curry with thousands of them. I guess these are impossible to de-gut but I’ll ask my mum tomorrow.

There are many different types anything from 1cm to 10cm long. You can buy them in London in frozen blocks in the Bangladeshi groceries all over the East End.

Here’s a delicious and easy way to prepare these mini crunchy starter snacks of Bengali cuisine.

tengra mas, small bengali fish

The Tengra Mas before and after….! And the Aubergine Pepper Bazi.Heavenly or what!! 🙂

P1080393-1-btengra mas biran, bengali fried small fish

tengra mas, small bengali fish in turmeric powder

The fish is rubbed in salt and turmeric powder. I think I over light roomed the pic above-the turmeric should be yellow, not almost red.

tengra mas, small bengali fish in turmeric powder

tengra mas, small bengali fish in turmeric powder

fried onions

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Crispy Fried Small Bengali Fish – Tengra Mas Biran


⅓  kilo of small fish (size of my finger)

½ bulb of garlic crushed with my knife

5 Thai chillies (whole with stalk cut off)

1 ½ teaspoons of turmeric powder)

3 kaffir lime leaves (optional)

½ teaspoon chilli flakes or chilli powder

½ teaspoon paprika powder


vegetable oil

⅓ mexican pepper cut into thin 1 inch strips and small sprinkle of fresh coriander to garnish


1. Rub the fish with half the turmeric and salt.

2. Heat oil in a non stick pan or cast iron pan on medium heat. You want enough oil to shallow fry, not deep fry. We don’t want the fish to be swimming in oil. If it starts to burn lower heat and you can add a few more drops of oil.

3. Now let fry for 2-3 minutes. Now add the garlic, chillies, lime leaves and the rest of the turmeric powder.  Followed by the chilli and paprika powder.

4. Now let fry with the lid off the pan for a good 8-10 minutes turning occasionally so that both sides are crispy brown.

5. Serve with steamed rice as a starter or finger food. Or just add the Aubergine and Pepper bazi and you’ve got a full blown meal (in Bangladesh both dishes are a starter to the meal!)

tengra biran, small fried bengali fish

Aubergine and Pepper Bazi


1 medium sized aubergine diced to ½ inch pieces

1 large sized onion chopped small

1 white aubergine diced into ½ inch pieces (optional)

2 baby aubergines quartered (optional)

10 mini aubergines whole (optional)

1 green bell pepper whole cut into ¼ inch thick strips

1 yellow bell pepper cut into ¼ inch thick strips

5 cloves garlic

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon paprika

vegetable oil



1. Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat. Fry the garlic for a minute or 2. Add the rest of the ingredients and let fry for 12-15 minutes. To make a perfect bazi you need a non stick or cast iron pan or wok. The heat should always be low to medium and fried slowly with little oil and absolutely no water. You can cover the pan with a lid to quicken the cooking. Too hot and it will burn. We want the bazi veggies to be soft and fried through. We do have veg bazi dishes where the veggies stay crunchy. But this one tatses better soft.

fried onions

aubergine and pepper bazi, bengali cuisine

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When I made this dish, there was an extravagance on top coming up in my next post: The Coriander and Kaffir Lime Rind Sauce which was amazing!!

 You can see the bazi at the bottom right hand corner of the plate!

tengra biran, small fried bengali fish

Have a wonderful day and thanks for stopping by!! 🙂
Categories: Bangladesh, Fish, Recipes, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Crispy Fried Small Bengali Fish – Tengra Biran with Aubergine and Pepper Bazi

  1. Hi Nurul!! Your blog is great, th eonly place I could find an explanation of what the milk fruit was (trying to us eit in some of my recipes for my cafe!).

    I was hoping to get in touch with you but can’t seem to find any contact details for you on here (or perhaps that’s the point…hmmm?!). My name is Shazia (a British-Bangladeshi…yes, it’s true, there are TWO Bangladeshis in Cambodia, this is progress!). I just moved to Sihanoukville to open my social business (veggie cafe/english school) and wanted to link up with you if you are still in Cambodia?

    Please do get in touch…I’m on shaziaafza(at) or you can find me via the cafe facebook page DAOofLIFE…


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