Ilish also known as ilisha, hilsa, hilsa herring or hilsa shad, is a species of fish related to the herring, in the family Clupeidae.
It is a very popular and sought-after food fish in the Indian Subcontinent. The most famous hilsha fish comes from Chandpur District, Bangladesh. It is the national fish of Bangladesh and the state fish of West Bengal.
This is a take on the very traditional West Bengali dish that uses copious amounts of mustard oil and mustard paste for a very zingy powerful taste with hint of ginger and fresh heat from chillies.
This is how my mum and my siblings mostly cook the Ilish. It always reminds me of home.
I’ve made it a little simpler by using modern day substitutes in relation to mustard by using Colmans Mustard Cream.
Its just quicker, convenient and potent.
I’ve also incorporated onion which adds a piquant flavour and taste.
The sheer convenience of grating the onion and ginger means less washing up and no blender. There is also the taste from the grated ingredients that is not lost in blending them smooth.
If you are unable to source Ilish any oily fish will do.
Pieces of Ilish Fish cleaned.
Half a grated onion
1 cm piece ginger grated.
1 cm cut into slithers
4 green chillies…all slit into halves
Quarter cup mustard oil.
2 tbsp Colmans mustard cream
1 cup of water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder
Mix all the above ingredients together in a karahi or pan.
Add to it your cleaned fish.
Place in a well covered/sealed pan and simmer on low for about 15 to 20 mins.
You don’t want too much liquid…and the oil should be surfacing.
Take the lid of an gently simmer till oil surfaces.
In my dish I left it a little thin as I have a fair few I was sending curry to…so we needed bit more sauce.
Serve with hot rice and green chillies.
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