Guest Post – Doi Ilish

Follow me on Twitter. Add me as a friend on Facebook . Visit my Flickr photostream.

We at Cook Like a Bong love to see that our readers are so eager to share our recipes and so every month you try to include a couple of guest posts to our blog. This guest post is shared by a very nice Bengali couple – Anindita and Shantanu.

Asked to describe their passion for food, they said – “Both of us love to eat and also share the passion of cooking. We spent some good quality time in the kitchen, experimenting and trying many different recipes. Our blog name ‘Bhalo Khabo’ says it all ‘Let’s cook something good to eat‘.


  • Ilish or Hilsa
  • ½  cup Yogurt
  • 2-3 tbsp Mustard Paste
  • ½  tsp Turmeric Powder
  • Mustard Oil  (Preferred, otherwise any other oil would even do)
  • ½  tsp Kalo Jeera (Kalonji Seeds)
  • 3-4 Green Chillies
  • Chopped Cilantro


  • Clean the hilsa pieces and pat dry them. Season them with salt and turmeric powder.
  • Now heat Mustard Oil in a wok, and slowly put the fish pieces one by one and fry them lightly
  • In a bowl mix the yogurt and the mustard paste, add the turmeric powder. Remove the fish pieces after they are fried and keep the oil aside. (We Bengali’s love this oil with plain rice.)
  • Add some fresh oil to the wok and temper with the Kalo Jeera seeds and let them splutter.
  • Turn the heat to low and add the yogurt and mustard paste and  the green chillies.
  • As the oil starts separating, add the fish, salt and a cup of water, cover and cook for sometime. Serve with hot Basmati Rice.
  • Garnish with a few drops of fresh mustard oil and chopped cilantro and enjoy the Bengali Delicacy.

Further Reading – Ilish Bhapa

If you like this post, please consider linking to it or sharing it with others. I’ll love to hear your comments too. You can also Subscribe to BengaliCuisine by Email, or Subscribe in a reader

Patla Ilisher Jhol (Hilsa with Nigella)

Follow me on Twitter. Add me as a friend on Facebook . Visit my Flickr photostream.

“Aum Mahalakshmi Vidmahe

Vishnu PriyaYe Dhi Mahi

Tanno Lakshmi Prachodayat”

-Lakshmi Slokam

Lakshmi salelakshmi sale

I had prepared this patka Ilish (hilsa) jhol (curry) quite sometime back, and the images had been in my folder since then. I was searching for the right time to publish this recipe, and nothing can be better than today. According, to Bengali customs it is said that no one should have hilsa between Lakshmi Puja and Saraswati Puja. Ilish is one of my most favorite fishes and I never liked this customJ. Sometime back, while searching for hilsa recipes on the web I came across an article named “The Last Hilsa Curry” in the Outlook India. Along with a dinner menu for the Chief Minister of West Bengal at the Prime Minister’s home there was the answer to my long lost question. Why we should not have hilsa between Lakshmi and Sarawati Puja? The scientific reason behind this custom is very simple. The little hilsa fishes swam back from river to the sea and then again came back in the next monsoon to lay eggs. With globalization everywhere, we are almost forgetting our own cultures, as a result of not following this simple custom the world renowned Padmar Ilish is on the verge of extinction. These days you can find hilsa all throughout the year and some weighing even less than 500gms.

Lakshmir potLakshmir nauka

Coming to a lighter note, today is Lakshmi Puja eve and the markets are flooded with people doing their last minute marketing for welcoming the goddess of wealth. Lakshmi Puja is carried out in almost all families, mainly the Bangals (families who came as refugees from East Pakistan). Ghotis households (the actual inhabitants of Bengal) worship the goddess on Kali Puja (Diwali) and they call it as Mahalakshmi Puja. Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and the daughter of Lord Shiva and Parvati. Lakshmi is also depicted as the mother goddess, sitting or sanding on a lotus, holding a lotus on one hand and a vessel filled with grains on the other. The lotus in her hand symbolizes beauty and purity of woman. Her four hands depicts the four ends of human life – dharma (righteousness), kama (desires), artha (wealth) and mokhsha (liberation from the cycle of birth and death).

chand mala

Tomorrow is Kojagori Purnima and all households are getting ready for the day. Some families worship the goddess not as an idol but as a painting on terracotta discs (Paut in Bengali). The banana stem is modified to a small boat and filled with paddy and lentils signifying gold and silver. A pair of hilsa is offered to the goddess in some households.

Here is a quick and easy recipe with hilsa. I have used raw banana for the preparation, you can also use thin and long egg plants in place of it. Potato doesn’t go along with hilsa, so its better to leave potato out of this curry.

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 10min

Cooking time: 15min

Patla Ilish Jhol


Hilsa (Ilish): 4 pieces

Raw Banana (Kancha Kala): 1

Mustard oil (Sarser tel): 4 tablespoons

Nigella (Kalo jeera): ½ teaspoon

Green chili (Kancha lanka): 2

Turmeric powder (Halud guro): 1½ teaspoon

Salt to taste


  • Wash the fishes well, put in a bowl and mix well with 1 teaspoon turmeric powder and salt
  • Cut the raw banana longitudinally into half and then into 2 inch long pieces
  • Heat the oil in a wok and half fry the fishes, take out and keep aside
  • Throw in the bananas and toss for a minute, add the nigella seeds
  • Mix turmeric powder in 2 tablespoons of water and keep ready
  • As the nigella seeds start popping pour in the turmeric paste
  • Add the chilies (slit them if you like the curry to be hot), and pour in 1 ½ cup of water
  • Let the water boil and reduce to half
  • Gently add the fried hilsa pieces and cook for 2 minutes
  • Take out of flame and serve with warm rice

Patla Ilish Jhol

Further Reading – Bong Mom’s Hilsa Curry, Hilsa story

If you like this post, please consider linking to it or sharing it with others. I’ll love to hear your comments too.You can also Subscribe to BengaliCuisine by Email, or  Subscribe in a reader

Ilish Bhapa

Celebrating the bond of brother and sister. This post is for the Food Festival Event at .

Also sending Hilsa with Steam to Original Recipes hosted by Lore.

I don’t have  a brother, so never felt the beauty of Rakhi. When I was in school , there was no holiday for Rakhi and so the day went by like any other day. But seeing everybody tying Rakhi I felt like doing so and so this idea sprang up. I started tying Rakhi to my sister. Till date I do so, even when I am thousands of miles apart from her, I have sent her the Rakhi for this year too. With the monsoon and the festival in air I just couldn’t think of any other recipe than Hilsa with steam. Also this is my sister’s most favorite dish, so this one all for you Pupu and also to all the brothers and sisters viewing my post.

With the first rain drop, the thing that comes to the mind of all Bengalis all over the world is Ilish. This salt water fish that comes to lay eggs in fresh water is a delicacy among all fish lovers. Today is a special recipe for this special fish.  The preparation is very simple and the whole cooking takes maximum 15 minutes.

Serves 4


Hilsa (Ilish): 6 pieces

Mustard seed (sarse): 2 tablespoons

Poppy seed (posto): 2 tablespoons

Green chilli (kacha lanka): 6/7

Mustard oil (sarser tel): 3 tablespoon

Turmeric powder (Haluder guro): 3 piches

Salt to taste


  • Make a paste of mustard and poppy seeds along with 2 /3 chillies.
  • Wash the fish pieces well, take them in a shallow microwave bowl.
  • Add salt, turmeric powder to the mustard and poppy paste.
  • Mix the paste to the fish well and pour the oil over it, also add the remaining chillies.
  • Microwave for 5 / 6 minutes at 800watts (microwave high), in between check whether the fish has become soft and the mustard smell is coming out or not.
  • Serve hot with rice , and enjoy this great delicacy.
Hilsa with Steam (Ilish Bhape)

Hilsa with Steam (Ilish Bhape)

Blog Widget by LinkWithin