How To Clean Bombay Duck

So the question, How to clean dried Bombay duck! These fish are often quite hard, dry and compacted. They need soaking in order to make them pliable and easier to handle and prepare.

What is Bombay Duck?

Ever heard of Bombay Duck? It isn’t a duck, but a fish; and it isn’t found in Bombay, but pretty much all along the Indian coastline. Then why is it called Bombay Duck? I’ve come across two fairly reasonable arguments for it:

Bombay duck, bummalo, bombil, and boomla is a species of lizardfish. Adults may reach a maximum length of 40 cm, but the usual size is around 25 cm.

Bombay duck
High protein

What You Need To Clean The Dried Bombay Duck:

You will need a colander and a bowl that the colander can sit in.

How to:

Gently swirl the water and gently mix the bombay duck to release any grit etc in the first instance. Raise the colander and do this a couple of times to loosen any grit.

Soak in water

Now fill with water again and leave to soak for about 5 mins.

Very gently swirl the fish again and pick out any straws, bugs and debris.

Pick out debris to clean the dried keski fish

Loosen and remove all the fins with scissors. There are usually some by the gills, the pectoral, back dorsal and anal fins.

I managed to find this diagram which helps locate the fins.

Fins need removing
Anal fin
Dorsal fin
Pectoral fin

Next remove any gut matter. Run your hand over the bombay duck to loosen any debris still attached.

Cut the fish into desired peices and size with scissors or a sharp knife.

Place the colander inside the bowl in the sink. Place the bombay duck into the colander and add cold water.

Repeatedly rinse the bombay duck and replace water in bowl a few times

Now just gently replace the water a few more times rinsing through the fish.

Let the bombay duck stand in the colander to drain. The bombay duck will be ready to use.

Leave the washed bombay duck to stand

There are many dishes using both dried and fresh bombay duck. Try the following links


As its dry fish use marigolds/gloves to help stop your hands smelling.

A toothbrush helps both scrub the outer fish to remove any grit or debris.

Ideally use plastic utensils to help reduce the smell when washing up. I don’t use plastic but I tend to spray the utensils with bleach spray and leave it for 30 mins then wash thoroughly with hot water. Don’t be tempted to put in dish washer as you don’t want the smell transferring.

I am a little pedantic about some things so I have an old tatty colander that I use for washing cleaning all fish and dried fish. Its ancient and can be replaced but there is something sentimental in that it has been with me for absolute decades, has no handles and sits in anything!

There are some recipes available on the website;

http://bombay duck with potatoes

http://bombay duck phura

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