Illish Macher Jhal, a mustard based gravy of Hilsa Fish, little pungent and smoky in taste. A classic from Eastern India, Illish Macher Jhal is best served with rice.
Ilish or Tenualosa ilisha is popular in Indian sub continent, Bhing as Gujarat, Palla as in Andhra and Illish as in Bengal, connoisseurs eagerly pay any price for a fresh piece of Ilish.
Introduction: Ilish or Hilsa is the fish that itself created a genera of cooking in Bangla Cuisine. Hilsa (Tenualosa ilisha) has been honored as the National Fish of Bangladesh and is extremely popular in Eastern India. In North America, Bengalies substitute Hilsa with the fresh catch of Shad fish. Rich in Omega 3 Fatty Acid, Hilsha is a best harvested in monsoon when they migrate to the upstream from the sea. There are a number of ways of cooking Hilsa, even there are great divides between Bangal and Ghoti about the secrets of cooking Ilish. Here we are following a recipe that comes from the Bangal (East Bengal-Now Bangladesh)cuisine.
Preparation Time 15 minutes
Cooking time 10 minutes
Difficulty Level Medium
For the Paste:
Mustard 4 Tablespoon soaked in little lukewarm water
1 green chilli chopped
pinch of salt
Put in a grinder and make a smooth paste, strain and retain the liquid, discard the pulp
For the cooking:
500gms Hilsa or Ilish, belly pieces as shown in the picture
½ Teaspoon Nigella Seeds
2 Tablespoon Mustard Oil
4-5 Green Chillies slit at the base
1 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
½ Teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
2 cups Water
Salt to taste
Rub the fish with little salt and half of the turmeric powder and keep it aside
Now in a Wok or Kadai heat 2 tablespoon mustard oil till it smokes or change colour
Add the Nigella seeds
Pour in the Mustard Paste extract, add Turmeric Powder, Red Chilli Powder and some water
Add the slit green chillies and bring it to boil
Slowly add the fish smeared with turmeric and salt into the boiling gravy
Slow down the heat, cover and cook for 7-8 minutes
Uncover, check the consistency and adjust salt
Transfer to a serving platter and serve it with steamed rice
Tip: If the fish is not very fresh and finger dips in while pressing, deep fry the fish for 30 seconds and then put into the boiling gravy.
Note: Please do not substitute mustard oil with any other oil, that will ruin all the effort!