Ilish Mach Shido in Tagine, slow cooked Ilish Fish in a mustard infusion.

Ilish Shido in a tagine
Classic Bengali dish

Ilish mach, Ilish fish, slow steamed, a traditional method but cooked in an unconventional vessel with an unconventional ingredient! Its the tagine and mustard cream, I know not very Bengali!

I love using my tagine for slow cooking. So there is no reason to not use it for other cuisines!

From the time I’ve had my tagine its been used for lots of dishes and frequently for my fish ‘shido’ which means steam cooked.

I do use mustard cream as opposed to freshly blended mustard seeds but its just a personal preference today and I often do both together or either! One thing that’s paramount is please use Colmans English mustard cream as its potent and is not heavy on vinegar which ruins the end taste!

I’ve used mustard oil from Kolkata, it does make a huge difference using mustard oil. Try source an edible brand fit for consumption although if you are using it occasionally its unlikely to cause no damage.

Lastly you don’t need a tagine but a clay vessel does impart an earthy hint of flavour. You can use any type of pan of your choice!

What you will need:

My mustard oil from Kolkata
courtesy of my little brother!
Oil in the tagine
Fresh ingredients to be blended into paste


8 pieces of Ilish fish steaks
Quarter cup mustard oil.
8 fresh green chillies, 4 of them sliced.
1 inch piece fresh ginger
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 small onion
5 tsp Colmans mustard cream or
2 tbsp brown mustard seeds


Blitz the onion to a blend with ginger and 4 fresh chillies.
Blitz the mustard seeds also if you’re using it instead of mustard cream.


Combine all the ingredients together in a pot or non stick pan. I used my Tagine.

Ready to be mixed

Mix well ensuring fish is well coated.

Well combined
Fresh chillies key to flavour
Marinate for as long as possible

I like to marinade this overnight but a couple of hours will do.

Before cooking add quarter cup of water. Stir well.

Add some water

I used the tagine so placed the diffuser on cooker ring and cooked the Ilish for approx 30mins on a very low heat.

Diffuser on very low heat
Ready to cook
Check often

Check in between to ensure its not sticking and ok.

Check gently with spoon to ensure nothing sticking.

After 30mins the oil will have surfaced and your fish should be cooked.

Oil comes to the top and liquid reduced its cooked

Serve with piping hot rice!


You can use any oily fish for a shido. Herrings, Sprats, Salmon or Trout will work well…

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