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              Exotic And Delicious Ilish Recipes            
Monsoon and ilish are two synonyms for Bengal. Monsoon spells its magic on us and we get hooked to ilish.
It’s said no part of ilish fish is wasted, from ilish macher tel to dim or egg, fish head, everything is so savory and is fondly eaten too. This fish is high in fat content and the oil that comes out after frying this fish is also used in fish curries and chochori.

Ilish/Hilsa tastes best in mustard oil but white oil may be substituted.




Shorshe ilish

serves for 4
Hilsa fish 5 pieces
1tsp of turmeric powder
2tsp of red pepper powder
3-4 tsp of mustard paste
3-4 green chilly
1 tsp of salt
2-3 tbs of mustard oil or the oil that comes out after frying the fish

Add to the kadai /wok ,all the above and 1 cup of water except chilly mustard paste.
(Prepare the mustard paste with little salt , green chilly, little bit of water and mustard in Mixer or refer the Ilish Macher jhaal recipe below for detailed version)
Cover and lower the flame, cook for 5-7mints.
Add mustard paste at the end, TIP-do not heats anymore, take out in a separate vessel, serve chopped coriander leaves.
Serve with warm rice and enjoy shorshe ilish.



 Bhapa Ilish ( Steamed Hilsa with Chilly Mustard paste)

Serves for 4

Bhapa is just the same with ingredients, except the gravy is cooked on a water bath or steamed and the fish pieces are raw.
For the simple way, in a kadai, add water up to half, place the steel box in which you want to make Bhapa, make sure it is at least half submerged.
Add all the ingredients and little more water and mustard oil, 2-3 green chilly, coat well the raw fish with this marination, transfer them to steel box, and cover it.

Now transfer that to kadai with water , place a heavy weight over it , generally it’s the “nora of sheel” , lower the flame and cook for 35-45 mints ,meanwhile if the water dries out add more gently by the sides ,or better add in extra in the beginning .let it cool off and then open and serve with warm rice ..

Ilish macher Dim Bhaja ( Hilsa fish's egg Fry)

Serves for 4


           Fish eggs with sac 2
           1 tsp of turmeric powder
           1 tsp of salt
           2 tbs of besan .
           3 tbs of mustard oil



First wash the egg with sac gently in water, handle the egg sac with care, make sure it doesn’t get ripped of .
Now marinate with turmeric powder, salt.
Coat well with Besan, Tip- this will make the frying easy.
Heat up kadai , add mustard oil, release the egg sac one at a time gently and quickly lower the flame , fry the side for 5-6 mints at low, flip the side gently and fry at low for 7mints .
Take out and drain in paper towels, serve with onions or warm cooked rice, we prefer the later.
Also you can  mix in egg with besan, salt, turmeric powder and make small round patties , gently press them and fry at low for 4 -5 mints at low .


Khichuri aar Ilish mach bhaja

              Serves for 4


Rice -1 cup
Mong dal /small yellow lentil-1- 1 ½ cup
Peas -1/2 cup
Cauliflower –broken into big florets 8-10 pieces
Onion -1 medium size chopped
Garlic 2 cloves
Ginger -1/2 inch chopped finely
1-2 tej patta
1-2 dry whole red pepper
1tsp of turmeric powder
1tsp of salt
Pinch of sugar
1tsp of ghee for flavoring (optional)
1 tsp of garam masala (optional)
2-4 tbs of oil for frying


1 In a kadai/saucepan slightly roast Mong dal till golden brown ,You will get a fine smell of roasted mong dal also .Stop and take out in a vessel ,clean it thoroughly under tap water .Repeat the cleaning step 2-3 times till you get a clear image of the dal soaked in water ,this help to cook dal efficiently .Wash and rinse rice also in the same manner.

2 In a large heavy bottom pan, we call dekchi in Bengali, add water up to the half ,add dal and cook for 4-5 mints ,at this time if you see white froth forming ,with the help of spatula gently lift all and discard .
3 Now add turmeric powder, salt and sugar .Add rice also. Let it simmer for another 10-12 mints.
4 Meanwhile in a frying pan add oil and let it heat up properly .Fry the cauliflower florets till little bit of brown at low.(Before frying cauliflowers make sure they are properly dried and there is no trace of water on them For that matter cut and clean them before cooking them, otherwise while frying, oil will splutter that makes cooking them difficult)

5 Now take the cauliflowers out ,add little more oil ,Add cumin seeds, tej patta,ginger and garlic ,whole red pepper ,fry for 1-2 mints and then add onions .Fry onions till brown .Stop and check the gravy that is cooking .

6 If you find rice and lentil are evenly mixed you can add the above fried masala .Take out 2-3 grains of rice and dal and if you can mash them easily ,your Khichuri is soon to be ready. Add cauliflowers and peas and let it simmer for another 5-7 mints.
7 Stop and cover the Khichuri , at this step ,if you feel there is not enough gravy in the Khichuri ,add little water , by heating the water in a separate vessel .For me Khichuri with extra gravy is always welcome because that gives you the real pleasure of eating it .

Follow the fish to get fried as discussed earlier.

Ilish Macher Paturi(kala or banana pata )

Serves for 4




Ilish/Hilsa fish- 1, 1500 gms
- Turmeric Powder- 2 tablespoon
- Mustard paste- 25 gms
- Mustard oil- 500 gms
- banana 6
- Green chilli paste- 2 tablespoon
- Natural Yogurt- 200 gms
- Salt to taste


Cut the fish according to your own desirable pieces. Rub turmeric powder on the fish pieces. Heat the Sort the big leaves of banana and then washes them and keeps aside.

In a bowl add mustard paste, chilli paste, natural yogurt, salt and 100 gms of mustard oil and mix all the spices altogether. Now add the Hilsa pieces and cover them with the spice mixture. Fold each spiced piece of fish in banana leaf. Heat the rest of the oil in a round bottomed pan and fry each piece of fish in the oil.
Serve it with hot rice.


Ilish Machher Jhol

Serves for 4


1 Hilsafish (400-500 gms) ,1 tsp turmeric ,4 green chilies ,3 tbsp mustard oil ,Salt to taste ,A little coriander (chopped fine) ,A few grains kala jeera.


Take pieces of fresh Hilsa and rub salt and turmeric liberally. Slit crisp green chilies. Chop the fresh coriander. Warm the mustard oil and put in the raw fish pieces and stir well. Add a little more turmeric. Then pour water and boil for 5-7 minutes. Mix in 1 teaspoon raw mustard oil, salt and coriander. Put in the green chillies and turn down the heat. You could also season it with kala Jeera when the oil is hot.






a. 500 gms Hilsa (Cut into pieces and washed)
b. 4 tsp of Mustard powder / grinded mustard seeds
c. 3 green chillies
d. 1 tsp chilli powder
e. 3/4 tsp paanch-phoran
f. 1 tsp turmeric powder
g. 1/2 cup yogurt
h. 1/2 cup coriander leaves - finely chopped
i. 4 tbsp cooking oil. (Mustard oil preferable)
j. Salt to taste


1.      Take the yogurt in a small bowl. Add mustard powder, turmeric, chilly powder & salt - mix it well.

2.      In a frying pan, heat oil, add paanch-phoran & amp; green chillies.

3.      After a few seconds add the above mixture to it.

4.      Fry for 2 minutes till oil starts separating.

5.      Now put the fish pieces and add two cups of water.

6.      Boil in medium heat until the fish is cooked and the gravy is of desired consistency.

7.      Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with rice.

Note : The fish can also be fried lightly before cooking.



This dish has mixed vegetables and a leafy vegetable to give it some body. Usually made with the Pui shag.




Fish head (marinated with salt and tumeric and fried well),

palak / spinach ( or whichever leafy vegetable you are using) washed and chopped coarsely,

paanch phoron,

whole red chillies,

vegetables (pumpkin,brinjal,potato, etc) cut into cubes,

 grated ginger,

haldi powder,

mustard oil / any cooking oil and

salt to taste.



Heat oil. Add the paanch phoron and red chillies. Add the vegetables and fry for some time.

Add the haldi powder, ginger and palak. Then add the fish head. Stir well.

Add salt ( remember ... the fish head has salt .... and palak too is slightly salty).

Cover and cook till the vegetables are done. Add a little water if necessary.

It should be mushy and well done and the fish head will be all broken up and blended well into the dish.

Goes best when served hot with steamed rice and dal.




Its a ethnic Bengali delicous recipe straight from my mother's kitchen.


Ilish macher matha---2(medium size)
Kochur loti--1 bundle(after buying the loti,open the bundle and dry for a day)
Chola--1tbsp(soaked the prevous night)
grated coconut---1/2 coconut should be grated.
Green chillies-----4(depending on how hot you like)
Panch phoron---1/4 tsp
tumeric powder
salt to taste
oil----3 tbps


Cut the loti the night before you cook into 1" long pieces and soak
them overnight in water. Clean the fish head. Do not wash many times
because illish mach becomes very smelly with more washing. Rub tumeric
powder and salt on the fish head and fry it in oil. Mustard oil is the
best choice because this dish tastes delicious with mustard oil but
any other oil will also do. Fry the fish head lightly and keep
aside. Discard this oil. Take a wok/karai and put 1 tbsp of oil in
it. When the oil is hot put the panchphoron in the oil and let it
splutter. You will get a lovely aroma of the phoron. To this add, 2
green chillies (slit lengthwise) and the pre-soaked chola. Stir for
about 2 mins. Then add 1/2 the grated coconut and the fish head. Cook
for 3-5 mins. Next add the loti, remaining chillies, grated coconut,
salt and tumeric powder. Keep stirring with a spatula. Keep the fire
medium. Do not add any water because water will come out from the
loti. Stirring should be continued till all the waster dries up. Then
add 1 cup of water and let it cook till all the water has dried and
the fish head is soft. Finally, add a pinch of ground roasted
panchphoron and your dish is ready. Serve with hot rice.