The Fishy Smell (steamed hilsa)

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Well, well, as I’m blogging for the past three and a half months, and there are 50+ posts here in my blog, I do really think it as an achievement.  ( I’m serious ) Now the thing is, till date I haven’t pen down anything that proves my culinary skill as well as makes one think of me as one of the contestants of  the Master Chef  India ( I know,  I exaggerated comment but what’s the heck   😉 . Coming to the point, as a Bengali I have a strong affinity towards fish..a feline sort may say.. but that is a typical bong character. And, when it comes to Ilish or Hilsa fish the attraction well surpasses the feline competitor! Ilish is my all-time favourite..irrespective of how it has been cooked. But my mom’s recipe of  Ilish-bhapa or steamed Hilsa is a drooling experience. I  also follow the same recipe now whenever I can get good quality Hilsa in the season. It is a signature Bengali delicacy.1-1148856_10152144828123312_1860764755_n Preparation

Step 1 515429-45018-20Soak 1 tbsp of yellow mustard seed,1 tbsp of white mustard seed and 3/4  green chilies in 1/4 cup of water for 15/20 minutes. Grind the above adding 1 tbsp of grated coconut and a pinch of salt  with it  to make a thick tangy Mustard paste ( sorshe-bata). Now add  1 tbsp of mustard oil, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, and 1/2 tsp chili powder ( this is optional for those who want it a tad more hot and spicy) to this paste and mix well. Making this paste is the most important part.

Step Wash the fish well and clean it from inside. Cut the pieces in equal sizes as much as you can. Sprinkle salt.1-images

Step 3 Smear a pan with 1/2 tsp of mustard oil. Then arrange the fish pieces in one single layer. Apply the prepared mustard paste liberally on the pieces. Make sure that all the pieces are evenly covered with the paste. Cut 2/3 green chilies into slits and place them on the fish pieces. Sprinkle 1 tsp of mustard oil on them. Pour 2 cups of water in a pressure cooker and place the pan carefully in it so that the water doesn’t touch the brim of the pan. Close the lid of the  pressure cooker and steam for 8-10 minutes. Serve hot.

Goes best with rice and I can assure you it’s a gourmet’s delight. Instead of Hilsa you can use Shad fish which is nearest in taste to it. 1-hilsa-whole-round

18 responses to “The Fishy Smell (steamed hilsa)

  1. Pingback: From the Bong Kitchen: Stuffed Pointed Gourd Or Potoler Dorma | Scattered Thoughts·

  2. I have something to say about step 2. Wash hilsa before cutting. Post cutting Hilsa do not make good final result of Bhapa or other prep. Post cutting marinate with mustard paste and keep it in the lower rack of fridge for few hours. The picture of Hilsa is a perfect and Pure Hilsa.


    • Thank you.. I follow this recipe and procedure as I come to know it from my Mom. May be you’re right..actually there are many other ways of making this dish..some like to add a bit of ‘posto’ ( poppy seeds) along with the Bangladesh they use onion and garlic paste..Thanks for your suggestion again 🙂


  3. Oh my….You shouldn’t have posted those pictures….Bongs have this amazingly weak nerves when it comes to Hilsa..Illish Maach 🙂 …And now I need to go get some from the local market…Probably bribe my wife to cook it for lunch this afternoon 😦


  4. um living in a Hall where they served us hilsha fish in lunch today… That was the terrible dish I’ve ever had… Even i couldn’t recognized that, this is hilsha fish at first. After a while iv’e got that, um having hilsha fish… I was thinking R.I.P. Hilsha 😦


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