Bombay Duck Fish Health Benefits And How To Cook It?

Shalini Thakur

Shalini Thakur
Sep 2023

2 min read
Bombay Duck Fish: Health Benefits And Its Home Made Recipe

Table of content

Ever heard of Bombay Duck? It’s not a bird, but a fish with an interesting story. This Bombay duck fish swims off the western coast of India, close to Mumbai. Despite the strange name, it’s a big deal in local cooking.

We’re here to uncover why it’s called that, what good stuff it has inside, and how you can cook and enjoy it. Plus, we’ve got tips for getting the best out of it. So, let’s dive into the world of Bombay Duck and find out what makes it special!

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What Is Bombay Duck Fish?

Bombay Duck is a type of fish that is native to the coastal waters along the western coast of India, particularly around the city of Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay).

The Bombay Duck is a slender fish with a distinctive elongated body and a tapering tail. It typically has a silvery-gray or beige coloration. One of its notable features is its lack of scales, which sets it apart from many other fish species.

Bombay Duck has gained popularity in Indian cuisine just like other grilled fish, especially along the western coastal regions. It is known for its strong aroma, which is a result of its unique composition.

When cooked, Bombay Duck releases a powerful and pungent smell, which some people find appealing while others may find it overpowering.

Due to its strong odor, Bombay Duck is often sun-dried, salted, or marinated with spices before being cooked. This process helps mellow the smell and infuses the fish with flavors.

One of the most famous dishes made with Bombay Duck is the “Bombil Fry,” where the fish is coated with spices and fried until crispy.

Name Origin Of Bombay Duck

The name “Bombay Duck” has an interesting history. To believe it originated during the British colonial period. When transported by train from Mumbai to other regions, the fish’s strong aroma would fill the train cars, leading to the humorous comparison to the smell of ducks. This amusing association gave rise to the name “Bombay Duck,” even though the fish has no relation to ducks.

Despite its name, the Bombay Duck is not a duck at all; it is a fish that belongs to the lizardfish family. This fish is well-known for its unique characteristics and its role in regional cuisine.

Health Benefits Of Bombay Duck Fish!

Here’s a more detailed explanation of the health benefits of consuming Bombay Duck in simple terms:

Health Benefits Of Bombay Duck Fish

Energy And Building Blocks:

Think of your body as a machine that needs energy and materials to stay strong and work properly. Bombay Duck is like a natural source of building blocks called “protein.” Protein helps your body repair itself when you get hurt and grow bigger when you’re young. It’s like the tool that fixes and builds things in your body.

Brain And Blood Health:

Imagine your brain as the control center of your body and your blood as the delivery system. Bombay Duck has something called “vitamin B12,” like brain boosting food. It helps your brain stay smart and keeps your memory sharp. This fish also helps your blood carry oxygen around your body, like a delivery truck making sure everything works well.

Strong Bones And Teeth:

Picture your bones as the frame of a house, and your teeth as the gatekeepers to your food. Bombay Duck has things called “calcium” and “phosphorus” that make your bones strong and help your teeth stay healthy. They’re like the materials that make your house sturdy and your gate strong.

Superhero For Blood:

Imagine your blood as a bunch of tiny superheroes that carry oxygen to all the parts of your body. Bombay Duck has “iron,” which is like a special power that helps these superheroes do their job better. It’s like giving them the strength they need to keep you active and energetic.

Healthy Fats:

Think of “omega-3 fatty acids” as the good fats that help your body stay calm and work smoothly. While Bombay Duck doesn’t have as much of these fats as some other fish, it still gives you a little bit of their special power to keep your body running well.

So in simple words, eating Bombay Duck is like giving your body a mix of powerful tools and ingredients that help it stay strong, keep your brain sharp, and make your bones and teeth sturdy. If we talk about which fish is good for health, Bombay duck can also be added to the list. Just like eating good food makes you feel good, adding Bombay Duck to your meals can be like adding some super fuel to your body!

Bombay Duck Curry Recipe:

Bombay Duck Curry is a flavorful and delicious dish that combines the unique taste of Bombay Duck fish with aromatic spices and a creamy curry sauce. Here’s a simple recipe for making Bombay Duck Curry:


  • 300 grams Bombay Duck fish, cleaned and cut into pieces
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk or plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh cilantro leaves for garnishing


  • Clean the Bombay Duck fish by removing the scales, if any, and cutting them into manageable pieces. Wash and drain the fish.
  • In a pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add chopped onions and sauté until they turn golden brown.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes to the pan. Cook until the tomatoes become soft and start to break down.
  • If using yogurt, whisk it well to remove lumps. If using coconut milk, shake the can before opening.
  • Lower the heat and add the yogurt or coconut milk to the pan. Stir gently to combine the ingredients and create a creamy curry base.
  • Add salt to taste and let the curry simmer on low heat for a few minutes. This allows the flavors to meld and the sauce to thicken slightly.
  • Gently place the Bombay Duck fish pieces into the curry. Be careful not to break the fish while stirring.
  • Cover the pan and let the fish cook in the curry for about 10-15 minutes, or until the fish turns tender. Let it cook.
  • Garnish the curry with freshly chopped cilantro leaves.
  • Serve the Bombay Duck Fish Curry hot with steamed rice or Indian bread such as naan or roti.

Buying and Storing Tips for Bombay Duck Fish:

  • When buying fresh Bombay Duck, look for fish that has clear eyes, shiny skin, and a fresh sea smell.
  • The flesh should be firm and moist. Avoid fish that looks dried out or has an off-putting texture.
  • If not cooking immediately, store fresh Bombay Duck in the refrigerator in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic wrap. Consume it within a day or two to ensure freshness.
  • If you need to store it for a more extended period, you can freeze Bombay Duck. Wrap the fish tightly in plastic wrap and then place it in a freezer-safe bag. Frozen Bombay Duck can last for a few months.

Precautions and Considerations for Consuming Bombay Duck Fish :

  • Allergies: If you have fish allergies, avoid consuming Bombay Duck, as it could trigger an allergic reaction.
  • Cooking Odor: Be aware that cooking Bombay Duck can produce a strong and distinct smell. Ensure proper ventilation while cooking indoors to manage the odor.
  • Histamine Sensitivity: Like many fish, Bombay Duck can contain histamine, which might cause allergic-like reactions in sensitive individuals if the fish is not properly handled, stored, or cooked.
  • Purine Content: Individuals with gout or high uric acid levels might want to moderate their consumption of Bombay Duck due to its moderate purine content.
  • Hygiene: When handling and cooking Bombay Duck, practice good hygiene to prevent cross-contamination and ensure safe consumption.

Remember to enjoy Bombay Duck as part of a balanced diet and consult with a healthcare professional if you have specific dietary concerns or health conditions.

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Frequently Asked Question

What is Bombay Duck fish?

Bombay Duck (Harpadon nehereus) is not actually a duck, but a type of lizardfish found in the waters of the Indian Ocean, particularly along the coasts of the Indian subcontinent. It is popular for its strong smell and distinctive flavor.

Why is Bombay Duck fish famous?

Bombay Duck fish is famous for its unique smell, taste, and texture. It’s also a popular ingredient in Indian and Bangladeshi cuisines and is often had as a fried or dried dish.

How is Bombay Duck fish prepared and cooked?

Bombay Duck fish is usually marinated with spices and then deep-frying or shallow-frying until crispy. The drying process is also common, where the fish is salted and dried under the sun, making it a preserved delicacy.

Why does Bombay Duck fish have a strong smell?

The strong smell of Bombay Duck fish comes from the natural compounds present in the fish. The smell intensifies during cooking, which some people find unpleasant, but it is a distinctive characteristic of this fish, and many people have it.

Is Bombay Duck fish safe to eat?

Yes, Bombay Duck fish is safe to eat when properly cleaned and cooked. It’s a common ingredient in many coastal cuisines in India and neighboring countries.

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This blog post was written to help you make healthy and better food choices altogether. So, be aware and take care. The important thing to consider is your own health before starting a diet that is restrictive. Always seek advice from a doctor/dietitian before starting if you have any concerns.

Eat Healthy, Live Healthy as well as Enjoy a long happy life

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