Hilsha/Ilish is a tropical fish which is mostly found in Bengal and Oriyas. It is the national fish of Bangladesh and is extremely popular in Bengal, Odisha, Tripura and Assam.
It is a sea fish but it lays eggs in river during the rainy season ( Anadromous Fish,the term is very familiar to us,the students of Zoological Sciences) and therefore large number of fishes are caughtt during their breeding season at the Padma-Meghna-Jamuna delta which subsequently flow to the Bay of Bengal.
Ilish is a oily fish and is extremely delicious. Bengali people literally celebrate the rainy season with this fish. It can be smoked, fried, steamed , with different vegetables ( preferably with egg plants) and mustard or poppy seed pastes. Almost all the recipes are extra-ordinarily delicious.Among them, Sorshe Ilish or Ilish in Mustard sauce is the most popular and fabulous Bengali Preparation.
In Mumbai ilish is not very easily available all the time but there is a huge demand of it . So the transported fishes from Padma or Bengal are sold at a very high rate. Moreover,getting ilish during the month of February and March is also not that easy but thanks to the Bengali Fish Center which supplies us moderate to big size ilish from Padma even in the months of winter also.
Anyway, when day before yesterday I got a standard size ilish I didn't wait to prepare Sorshe Ilish . Here goes the entire process:
- Ilish/Hilsha Steak : 4 Pieces
- Mustard Seed Paste:1 1/2 tsp.
- Unsweetened Yogurt:1 1/2 tbsp.
- Turmeric Powder:2 tsp.
- Salt:As Per taste
- Kashmiri red Chili Powder:1 tsp.(Optional)
- Mustard Oil:2/3 tbsp.
- Water:11/2 Cup.
- Nigella Seeds:1/2 tsp
- Green/Red Chili :2/3
- Marinate the hilsha steak with salt and turmeric powder and with a teaspoon of mustard oil.Keep them aside for 10-15 minutes.Soak the mustard seeds in little water for half an hour.
- Now Heat 2 tbsp of mustard oil in a kadhai and fry them very slightly on both sides and keep separately.
- Now make a very smooth paste of mustard seed paste. Take it in a bowl, add the yogurt and whisk them together to make a very smooth batter. Add the kashmiri red chili powder, turmeric powder, salt and mix well.
- Now add some fresh oil into the kadhai and once it it becomes hot add the nigella seeds and the green or red chili. When they start to splutter add the paste of the mustard paste and the yogurt. Give a good stir and then add the water and mix well. Bring it to boil and the slightly fried hilsha steaks into it. Reduce the flame and cover. Cook until the hilsha steaks are cooked completely.
- Uncover and adjust the gravy according to your choice. Taste the seasoning. Add little salt if required. Now turn off the flame and pour 1/2 tsp of mustard oil on top. Garnish it with coriander leaves and serve with steaming hot rice.
Enjoy Your Food...!!!