To me Ilish or Hilsa fish is the epitome of Bengali culture and symbolises the Bengali tradition. Starting from Joda Ilish symbolising an auspicious day, to serving it to the Jamai ( son in law) during Jamai Shosti, we celebrate our love for Hilsa in every possible occasion.
It’s something I was brought up with. Hilsa has many bones. It is art as we Bengalis will say to eat it. From the family of Sardines, Hilsa or Ilish became so famous with the British during the British Raj that the Khansamas created Smoked Hilsa.
Also, very important to mention is Hilsa roe or eggs. Panfried with turmermic, chilli powder and salt. Mustard oil is a must be.
Its very difficult for me to give recipes. You will find many online these days. But, I will share the way I cook the fish. Cooking requires your intution, your gut feeling of how much and when. We Indians call it “andaz”.
Hilsa, the way I understand has the ability to transform an ordinary day into a celebration in many bengali hearts. As the celebration continues we must save it from extinction. Please let this great tradition continue.
Ingredients to grind into paste –
- Hilsa fish – 8 slices
mustard seeds – 5 tbsp
- Cumin seeds – 1 tbsp
- Turmeric powder – 2 tsp
- Green chillies – 5
- Yoghurt – 5 tbsp
- Salt – to taste
- Kitchen king powder – 2 tsp and
- Mustard oil – 3 tbsp
- Mustard oil for cooking – 5 tbsp
- Green chillies slit- 4
- Apply the ground marinade to the fish.
- Keep refrigerated for atleast 1 hour
- Heat up a kadai and around 5 tbsp of mustard oil
- It is important to smoke the mustard oil first and cool it slightly before adding the fish.
- Slide in the marinated fish.
- Add a bit of water and swirl the kadai to blend in the water with the rest of the masala.
- Add the slit green chiilies.
- It is important not to use any spoons during the cooking process as Hilsa is a very soft fish.
- First allow the masala to come to boil, reduce thd heat and then cover and cook.
- Once the fish is cooked serve with steamed rice.
In this Recipe
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