Bhapa Ilish / Steamed Hilsa Receipe

Bengalis are called many names, a foodie is definitely one of them. Our longing for Durga Puja, which
can very easily be called the center stage of a Bengali’s livelihood, can be paralled by only one other
object..Iilish Mach (Hilsa Fish). At the onset of monsoon, everybody lines up in the fish market, and no
matter what the cost, will bring home a pair (called jora iilish), considered a tradition, or at least one.
Amongst the most iconic Iilish preparations, Bhapa IIlish (Steamed Hilsa) is any Bengali’s lunch delight.
Tracing its origin to the erstwhile East Bengal, the dish is a lip smacking combination of Mustard, Green
Chilly, and Illish. The warmth in its flavours aptly depict the warmth that is innate to Bengali culture and hospitality.



So presenting the recipe for my favorite monsoon delicacy.


Ingredients required:-

  • Hilsa Fish

  • Mustard Paste
  • Mustard Oil

  • Green Chilly
  • Salt
  • Turmeric Powder
Procedure:-
  • Soak mustard seeds in water for about 10 minutes. Drain the water, add a few green chilies and make a paste. Don't forget to add a pinch of salt to prevent the mustard paste from getting bitter.
  • Take the above paste, add turmeric, salt to taste.
  • Place the fish pieces in an airtight metal container (steel tiffin box). Transfer the mustard and green chilly paste into the container. Coat the fish uniformly with the paste.
  • Add a generous dose of mustard oil.

  • Add slit green chilies on top.

  • Close the lid.
  • Take a thick bottom pan, place a O-ring and place the container over it. The pour water in the pan and make sure that the water level is at least an inch below the neck of the container (tiffin box).
  • Put the gas on high flame for 15 mins and then simmer for another 20. Turn off the gas and let it stand for another 15 minutes. (If you can resist opening it). 
Tan ta naaaaaaa....your Bhapa Iilish is ready. Now njoy it with piping hot Basmati / Brown rice. 



P.S. : In a village household, the fish is cooked inside rice on wood flame, it lends a typical flavour to the dish :-).  

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