Shorshe Bhapa Ilish | Bengali Hilsa Fish Curry Recipe

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Gluten Free

This shorshe bhapa ilish recipe is one of the most classic and favourite fish recipes for every Bengali out there. This hilsa curry is made using hilsa or ilish, a fish belonging to the herring family. It is native to the Bay of bengal and hence widely popular in Eastern Indian and Bangladeshi cuisine.

In this blog post, I have shared one of the most popular ways of cooking hilsa, i.e steamed or bhapa ilish. The fish is cooked in a made-from-scratch mustard sauce prepared in a Bengali style and served with plain boiled rice. So, if you are looking for ilish macher recipe, look no further and get going with this one.

Bhapa Ilish Macher Recipe

Why is Ilish so unique and why is Hilsa fish so expensive?

Believe it or not, many jewellery stores offer Hilsa or Ilish as free gifts with gold ornaments! Call it crazy but that’s how it is valued in Bengali culture. Also, it is one of the most costly fishes in India with a kilo priced anywhere between 2000 – 5000 INR. Now, what’s so special about this fish? Ilish is a fish that is found in brackish water. Meaning it is most commonly found in the coastal regions off the mainland of India and Bangladesh. However, during the breeding season up until April, it swims upstream of the rivers to lay eggs.

During the return of these young fishes to the sea, they are often caught and sold for consumption in order to meet the high demand and lowering supply. Hence the reason why the population of Hilsa fish is on a steep decline. In order to stop this, awareness is made to buy only mature fishes weighing around a kilo, if not more.

How to make Shorshe bata diye Bhapa Ilish Maach – Ingredients List

  • Hilsa or Ilish Maach
  • Coconut
  • Black Mustard Seeds
  • Yellow Mustard Seeds
  • Poppy Seeds
  • Mustard Oil
  • Turmeric Powder
  • Salt

If you look at the short ingredient list, you will see that this ilish macher recipe is actually quite a simple Bengali fish curry which is amazingly healthy and good for health. It is 100% steamed, which means no frying or any other cooking process involved which would destroy the nutritional value of the fish. This is the best thing about Bengali ranna recipes, they are wholesome, packed with goodness and come together quite effortlessly. Here’s a detailed recipe for Ilish Bhapa.

How to make Shorshe Ilish Bhapa recipe in a traditional way?

  1. Grind the coconut and poppy seeds into a fine paste
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the grinding jar (except the fish) and give it a couple of quick buzzes. We are looking to coarsely grind the mustard seeds. Over grinding will lead to bitterness, so avoid that
  3. Now take a stainless steel container which has its own lid. Pour half of the paste into this container. Place the fish pieces in it and then top them with the rest of the paste
  4. Drizzle some mustard oil on the top and cover the lid
  5. Place it in the steamer and let it cook for 10-12 minutes on medium heat
  6. Check if it’s done by opening up the lid. The fish would have turned white and solid, otherwise close the lid again and steam for a couple more minutes
  7. Serve this steamed fish curry of ilish bhapa with rice

In case you are looking for more interesting and delicious fish recipes, here are a few of them from my blog.

Katla Mach / Rohu Fish or Rui Maach Recipes

Baramundi / Basa/ Tilapia Recipes

Fish Head Recipes

Ilish Mach or Hilsa Recipes

Some other fish or seafood recipes

Have you tried this recipe? I would love to hear about it.
Tag me on Instagram @priyankabhattacharya.sa or Facebook @hashdiaries and I will share it further.

Shorshe Bhapa Ilish | Bengali Hilsa Fish Curry Recipe
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
25 mins
 

This shorshe bhapa ilish recipe is one of the most classic and favourite fish recipes for every Bengali out there. This hilsa curry is made using hilsa or ilish, a fish belonging to the herring family. It is native to the Bay of bengal and hence widely popular in Eastern Indian and Bangladeshi cuisine.

Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Bengali
Keyword: Bengali Fish Recipes, Bengali Food, Coconut Recipes, Fish Recipes, Gluten Free Recipes, How To cook Hilsa Fish, Ilish Maacher Recipe
Servings: 4 people
Author: Priyanka
Ingredients
  • 4 pcs Hilsa or Ilish Maach
  • ¼ cup Coconut Chopped
  • ½ tsp Black Mustard Seeds
  • 1 tsp Yellow Mustard Seeds
  • 2 tbsp Poppy Seeds
  • 2 tbsp Mustard Oil
  • ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
  • Salt to Taste
Instructions
  1. Grind the coconut and poppy seeds into a fine paste
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the grinding jar (except the fish) and give it a couple of quick buzzes. We are looking to coarsely grind the mustard seeds. Over grinding will lead to bitterness, so avoid that
  3. Now take a stainless steel container which has its own lid. Pour half of the paste into this container. Place the fish pieces in it and then top them with the rest of the paste
  4. Drizzle some mustard oil on the top and cover the lid
  5. Place it in the steamer and let it cook for 10-12 minutes on medium heat
  6. Check if it’s done by opening up the lid. The fish would have turned white and solid, otherwise close the lid again and steam for a couple more minutes
  7. Serve this steamed fish curry of ilish bhapa with rice

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