Lebu Bhaat and Topshe Machh Bhaja


Lemon flavored rice with ghee and scrapped coconut served with Topshe fish fry

It is to no wonder a poet like "Iswar Gupta" composed a lengthy poem solely on "Tapse fish or "Mango fish" by the British. Iswar Gupta was highly addicted to the Topse fish.

Ishwar Gupter Granthabali - Vol.1-2 pg. 122

Topse a soft-bone fish, close to extinct, now in 2014 is Rs 700 a kilo [about 15 fishes]. I heard from my father it was available in the 1950s approximate half a rupee per 20 pieces.  Still Bangalees love it very much.

Legendary director and renowned writer Satyajit Ray wrote a total of 35 Feluda [detective] stories.  The detective Pradosh Mitter's favorite cousin-cum-assistant Topse [Topeshranjan Mitter] is to Feluda as was Dr. Watson to Sherlock Holmes and the narrator in all the stories. I doubt if the name Topse came to his mind from the intense love for "Topse fish" he had.

Oh Bengali, come, let us find some substitutions of our favorite Topse, we will be proud to import and serve our children, let them introduce our own dishes once more.

See market names:

  • Polynemus toposui/paradise threadfin
  • Indian salmon/Paradise threadfin/Row ball  -   India
  • Tapasi/Taposi  -  Bangladesh Bengali
  • ವಾಮೇನು/Vahmeenu  -  Kannada
  • Dodywa-rawas  -  Maharashtra
  • തമുതി / വമീന് / വാമീന് / ബാഹ്മീന് / നൊറകുടിയന് / നൊറക്കുടിയന് / ബമീന് - Malayalam
  • Bahmin/Norakudiyan/Thamuthi/Wahmeen  -  Malayalam
  • Battihiravalai/Kala/Kattikalai/Kondiangalai/Panigala/Seenakalai/Thiravalai/Valanakala/Vellaikala - Tamil
  • తెల్ల మగ / పొడికిమాగ / బోడ్డుమాగ / బుడతమాగ  -  Telegu
  • Boddumaga/Budathamaga/Podikimaga/Sahala/Thellamaga  -   Telegu
  • Kulampiros/Boka dulse/Tigi/Kugaw/Mamale  -  Philippines
  • زعنفة رقيقة جنَّة  -   Arabic
  • 長指馬鮁 /长指马鲅 /长指马鲅  -  Chinese
  • Striped threadfin/Tassel fish/Ikan bulu/Kurau/Kurau janggut/Lelauh minyak/Senangin/Senangin-bulu rambu panjang  -  Malaysia
  • Barbure paradis  -  French
  • Mangofisk  -  Sweden

Ref. has been taken from fishbase.sinica.edu.tw


Let's cook

Bengali style Lemon rice [Lebu bhaat]

Barnali Dutta

Published 03/09/2014

This rice dish is exclusively served as a starter of a meal during any Bengali celebration. Best offering accompany with this lemon-flavored piping hot rice is with 1 teaspoon cow ghee, 1 tablespoon freshly scrapped coconut [নারকেল কোরা], 1 piece of gandharaj lebu [গন্ধরাজ লেবু], and 1 green chili with just cooked hot Topse fry [তপসে মাছ ভাজা]. It will be a memorable meal for everybody.


  • Long grain rice 200g, four leaves of Gandharaj lebu (Citrus limonia)/Bangladeshi lemon "Shatkara" (Citrus macroptera)/Rongpur lime.


  • Cook plain rice, after draining starch, add slightly torn up four gandharaj lemon leaves in the cooked rice and cover the rice bowl with a lid, keep aside for 5 minutes. Rice will get a strong flavor of lemon.

Yield: For 4 persons 1 tablespoon | Prep time for soaking rice 10 mins. | Cook time: 10 mins. | Total time: 25 mins.

Nutrition: Total calories per tablespoon 55

Topse Fish Fry

Barnali Dutta

Published 03/09/2014

Bengalee's favorite Topse fish may be easily available soon. Bengalis who are living outside of their state may find some suitable options of their Topse fish, but Gangetic Topse is no doubt sweeter than other marine species.


  • Fresh Topse fish 400g, I got 8 big fishes, salt and turmeric to marinate the fish.
  • For batter 2 tablespoons gram flour, 1 tablespoon rice flour, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon red chili powder, 1 teaspoon ginger and green chili paste, 1 pinch sugar and sodium bicarbonate, salt to taste, just enough water to make a smooth batter.
  • 1 cup cooking oil, I preferred mustard oil for a traditional taste and 1 teaspoon poppy seed.


  1. Clean and wash thoroughly the fish and marinate with salt and turmeric, keep it aside.
  2. Make a smooth batter with rest of the ingredients [except oil and poppy seeds], keep aside for 10 minutes.
  3. Heat the oil in a heavy-based deep pan until smoking point then turn the fire to low.
  4. Add poppy seeds to the batter, mix a little, take the fish one by one, dip it into the batter, just coat a little batter smoothly and deep fry them until they are properly cooked and make a shinny golden fry.
  5. Serve hot with lemon rice.

For 4 persons [2 pieces] Prep Time: 10 mins. | Cook time: 10 mins. | Total time: 20 mins.