In many Bengali households (especially the ones of former East Bengal), it is considered auspicious to buy Jorra Ilish (2 hilsa fishes) on this day. Therefore Hilsa is invariably a part of the day’s menu. A hilsa (or ilish, as we Bengalis call it) dominates any other varirety of fish in any pure Bengali household. A must for us during monsoons and you would be surprised to know that hilsa can be cooked in more than 50 ways!
Following is the recipe of Shorshé Ilish, which is a popular delicacy and pretty easy to prepare and doesn’t take much time to get cooked. I prepare it exactly like my mother.
- Hilsa 1 kg. cut into thick slices
- Mustard oil 5 tbsp.
- Mustard seeds 3 tbsp.
- Cumin seeds 1 tbsp.
- Kalonji (onion seeds) 1 tsp.
- Kashmiri red chilli powder 1/2 tsp.
- Green chillies 4 nos.
- Turmeric powder 3/4 tsp.
- Salt as per taste
- Rub fish pieces with salt and turmeric powder. Grind mustard seeds, cumin seeds, whole chillies and a little salt into a paste, adding little water (2 tsp.) from time to time.
- Tip: If you are scared that the mustard paste might become bitter in taste, add 1/2 tsp. of poppy seeds to the rest of the ingredients while grinding it.
- Heat 4 tbsp. of oil in a kadai. Fry the fish pieces for about 1 minute. Be careful not to break the pieces. Keep turning sides. Remove and keep aside. In the same oil add 1 tbsp. of mustard oil and add the onion seeds. Then add the mustard paste, turmeric powder, kashmiri red chilli powder and salt. Sauté for 2 minutes. Add about 1/2 cup of water and further sauté for about 5 minutes.
- Again add 1/2 cup of water and bring it to a boil. Add the fish pieces and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or till done. Serve hot with boiled rice and Posto Bora.