Hilsa (Ilish in Bengali), the most quintessential Bengali fish is still counted to be the poster boy of Bengali cuisine and culture withstanding the onslaught of modernity. Undoubtedly one of the most exotic fishes ever to be come out from the water of Bengal (East Bengal to be precise), make stuff for legends. A few years back, I have shared with you recipe of Bhapa Ilish or Smoked Hilsa which is one of the richest treatments that can be meted with ‘Ilish’. In comparison, the present recipe describes a light gravy with flavours of Brinjal and pinch of Kalonji. The best part of this recipe is that, Ilish flourishes in taste in the light gravy as the latter acts as the perfect foil for the former. It further proves that Hilsa imposes its uniqueness both in the rich must mustrad gravy as much as it does in light soup like ‘jhol’.
With hardly any bone and more than a taste of sea fish, ‘Bhetki’ is quite a popular and counted among the elites of fishes to Bengalis. “Paturi” (smoked fish cooked with mustard paste in banana leaf) is the best and a top class preparation out of Bhetki. Even the base for fish cutlets and fries is unimaginable without it. However today, I describe a preparation which is very simple and common in Bengali house holds and quite similar to the fish curry prepared with Rahu and vegetables. The added attraction is the cauliflower and green peas in it and of course the charm of Bhetki itself.
After a long I am back with an unique preparation of Rahu fish (Rui mach). Rohu is almost in our daily intake of food list and earlier I shared 3 of it’s preparations also. This time I am presenting a bit different dish which I’ve prepared with poppy seed paste (posto). I am actually a die heart fan of poppy seeds which is called “posto” in Bengali and love anything made out of it. In general Bengali fish curries contains a combination of mustard paste and poppy seed paste. However this curry solely made with poppy seed paste. Hope you will enjoy it :).
Earlier I have already shared with you one of the Tangra fish recipes (Tangra Macher Jhal/Tangra fish in Rich Gravy) which might have introduced you to Tangra, a tasty sweet water fish, adored by many Bengalis. Here I present another Tangra fish recipe which, in contrast to the earlier one, is much lighter in taste, less spicy and makes a traditional healthy “macher jhol” or fish curry with gravy. With some vegetables into it, tangra macher jhol is an ideal example of common daily fish recipe, quick and easy to adopt.
I just love prawns in any form and take a fancy trying new recipes with it. Generally I go around few common Bengali recipes of prawn curries. Though this time a little touch of rose and kewra water has lifted the curry dish to an altogether a new level what I may call it ‘shahi’. I have found the recipe in one of a cooking shows and gave it a try to pose a challenge for my tasting buds. Indeed the tongue got amazed. It goes well with plain rice or pulao. Just give it a try for a change.
Tilapia does not really fall in to the elite class of fishes. Somehow living in the fringe for long, it starts getting its share of appreciation off late. What is interesting about Tilapia is its universal presence and found almost everywhere on the globe. A little search on the youtube also shows that Grilled Tilpia is one of its most popular preparation. However here I share a more traditional Tilapia fish curry which can be cooked happily once in a while. Not too spicy, the gravy consists of slice of onions and a few green chilly which is quite tasty. And Tilapia has its nice taste too.
Fish Kalia is a Bengali delicacy often made in occasions like marriage ceremony, rice-eating ceremony etc. Being rich and spicy, it often features in Sunday lunch menu for full relish. It is prepared of Rohu or Katla fish and made into a rich spicy gravy. Vastly different from the usual “macher jhol’, fish Kalia carries certain aristocracy with it and is an absolute delight for voracious fish loving non-vegetarians.
Climbing Perch (Koi in Bengali) is a common fish in Bengali households. It is a kind of fish that survives out of water for quite a long time, if kept moist. It has a great taste and adored by all. However, removing its scales and cleaning it is not the easiest of jobs. Climbing perch or Koi can be prepared as regular fish curry or “macher jhol” with the pieces of potato and cauliflower. However, a special treatment is often given to it, for any good occasion, when we prepare ‘Tel Koi’. As the name suggests, here Koi is mainly cooked in mustard oil and hardly any water is used to make the gravy. Pretty spicy and hot, this dry dish is a real treat for fish lovers.
As the heat wave is showing its teeth and claws, I am trying to keep, whatever I cook, light and simple. This applies to my fish preparations too. Here I share with you the Rohu fish curry, a daily feature in Bengali household, made with a lot of vegetables. I always like the idea of putting vegetables in fish curries, as the former infuses nice flavour to the light gravy. Moreover, this practice is particularly healthy and stimulates your tongue buds during scorching summer when you are drained out and hardly having a serious appetite. You can try this recipe out and send me feedback.
A few weeks back, I have shared with you the recipe of Mullet fish gravy aka Parshe macher jhol. Today, it is the turn for Tangra fish which is almost similar to Parshe or Mullet fish in size, sometimes even larger. However, it has its distinctive taste and can be prepared in different ways. The recipe, which I describe here is perhaps the most common one and familiar to my Bengali friends. Here the Tangra fish is prepared in rich gravy, contains the flavour of onion and green chillies and also fresh coriander leaves which garnishes from atop.
Parshe macher jhlol or Mullet fish gravy with green chilli and nigella seeds has found its place in Bengali kitchen perhaps from time immemorial. Small in size, fitted well within the palm, Parshe has an immaculate taste which is simply unmatched. I am pretty fond of Parshe fish and invariably all of its preparations, among which the simplest one is the present recipe which can be cooked any day almost in no time . Among the spices you just need the turmeric powder and nigella seeds while the fish itself lifts the tempo to great height. So all my fish loving patrons, go for Parshe this time .
‘Pabda’ is quite a well known fish in Bengal and one of my favourites too. Back home, it can be prepared in different ways, however I like it most when cooked in mustard gravy and tastes a bit on the upper edge of my spice tolerance. In fact, fish curry with mustard paste is a quintessential Bengali way of preparing fishes like Hilsha, Pomfret, Parshe and many more. The recipes are quite similar and do not require much spices apart from mustard seeds paste. Since I got hold of some large sizes Pabdas recently, could not resist to make this preparation and share with you, my fellow fish lovers.
Ilish or Hilsa is the king of fishes for Bengali. This fish is generally found in sweet river water and possess a distinctive silver like shining body. What sets it apart from all the other fishes is its supreme unbeatable taste which however comes at the cost of innumerable thin bones in the flesh. But as they say, the more bones a fish has, the more tastier it becomes. When the soft Hilsa flesh melts in your mouth, it gives you a feeling nothing other than which should be called absolute ‘divine’.
In my previous post, Salmon macher paturi / Salmon smoked in Banana leaf, I briefly mentioned about Hilsa. We can prepare hilsa in different ways, among which the the most popular and super delicious is “Bhapa Ilish” or smoked Hilsa. The recipe is quite simple yet lip smacking. And it requires less oil too.
Hilsa is not at all a common fish here in Europe. It is exported from sub-continent and found frozen in Asian stores, if one is very lucky. 🙂 This time our luck favoured and we got it. The image and the text below is telling you the rest of the story. Enjoy 🙂
Ingredients for 4 pieces :
- Hilsha fish – 4 pieces
- Green chilli – 4
- Mustard seed (black/white) – 1½ – 2 tbspoon
- Poppy seeds – ¾ – 1 tbspoon (optional)
- Grated coconut – 2 – 3 tbspoon heaped
- Turmeric powder – ¼ teaspoon
- Salt to taste
- Mustard oil – 1-2 tbspoon
Wash the hilsha pieces well and smear with salt and turmeric powder, keep aside.
Now grind mustard and poppy seeds along with 2 green chillies to make a smooth paste. Add little salt while making the paste to get rid of bitterness of mustard. When it is almost done add grated coconut and again grind to blend the coconut with the mustard paste.
Now take a steel bowl with lid (preferably tiffin box) and place the fish pieces into it.
In another small bowl take the paste, mustard oil, pinch of turmeric powder, salt to taste (remember you have earlier added little salt to the paste and fish too) and little water and mix them well.
Now pour this mixture onto the fish and coat them well with it. Slit remaining 2 green chillies and put into the fish mixture, cover the bowl with its lid.
Now boil water in a large pan or kadhai over medium flam and then place the covered bowl/tiffin box into it. Place a heavy thing at the top so that the bowl/box can’t be displaced while water is boiling.
Let the fish cook over medium flame for 20 minutes, then put the gas off.
Serve with steamed rice.
- Best if you make the mustard paste in flat stone grinder i.e. “Shil nora”. Because it is not very easy to make a paste in blender from such a small quantity of mustard seeds.
- Hilsha is a very soft fish, often break while using, so handle with care.