Bhapa Ilish with a Achaari Twist


The time now is post Vijaya dashami or Bijoya Doshomi, hence wishing “Shubho Bijoya” to all my readers. Vijaya Dashami marks an end of ten days of grand festivities of Durga Puja and we all bid farewell to Maa Durga with a heavy heart awaiting her arrival in the next year again. Despite the mild sadness that creeps in, the culinary fiesta never ends and continues through the Kojagari Lakshmi Puja, Diwali and Bhai fota. This is a time of festivities, family get togethers, feasting and merrymaking for the Bengalis. The Bijoya Doshomi also has its own array of food items that are a must have during the celebrations. Delicacies like Mishti, Sondesh, Narkeler Naru, Mishti Doi, luchi mangsho and Maachh are part of breakfast, lunch and dinner spread. Being a bengali, I will not let go the Bijoya Doshomi without having my favourite Ilish Maachh. For a large number of families, Ilish Maachh or Hilsa fish is a must have during the Bijoya Doshomi celebrations as a part of their tradition. It has also become an indispensable part of Bijoya Doshomi platter in my home. Here, I am sharing one of my mom’s recipe of  the popular Bengali dish of Bhapa Ilish (steamed Hilsa fish) with a slight Achaari twist. 



1. Hilsa Fish ( sliced ) : 500 grams 

2. Green chillies : 3-4

3. Mustard seeds ( Black / Yellow ) : 4 tsp  

4. Black mustard seeds ( for tempering ) : 1/2 tsp

5. Fenugreek seeds ( Methi ) : 1/2 tsp

6. Mustard Oil : 1-1.5 tbsp

7. Turmeric powder : 1 tsp

8. Salt to taste

9. Lemon juice : 1-2 tsp

10. Onion ( chopped ) : 1, medium sized.

 11. Green Chillies ( slit ) : 2-3

12. Curry leaves : 5-6

13. Dry Red Chilly : 1


1. Marinate sliced fish with turmeric powder, salt and lemon juice for 15 to 30 minutes.
2. Grind the mustard and green chillies into a paste.
3. Heat the mustard oil. Temper with dry red chilly, Fenugreek seeds and black mustard seeds. Add curry leaves and chopped onions and fry till the onions turn light golden. Switch off the flame.
4. Mix the tempered oil with the mustard paste.
5. Pour the mixture on the marinated fish and toss the fish in it. 
6. Pour the mixture with fish in a vessel with lid, add slit green chillies to it and close the lid tightly.
7. Steam in a steamer for 10-15 minutes or pressure cook with 2 whistles.
8. Serve hot with steamed plain rice.



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