“Wife how about having something bong today like hot steamed rice and Ilish Macher Sorshe bata diye Jhal may be,” my beloved husband asked on a lezzy Sunday morning when I was planning to continue my weekend nap a bit more! I then asked “how about you cooking this time” and the man replied, “how about me making the breakfast and coffee and you cook the over the top Ilish Macher Sorshe bata diye Jhal because nobody can beat you with you macher jhal cooking skills!” “Shut up; there are my mother and mother in law you see” I replied but decided to cook the simple Sunday lunch and Mehebub started making the Egg Toast and Coffee for us!
Now let me tell you, from my part it was the clever thing to do as it will take me hardly an hour to prepare the entire lunch as Ilish Macher Sorshe bata diye Jhal is a fuss-free famous Bengali style mustard based Hilsa Fish curry where you don’t even need to fry the fish! lucky me!
“Ilish Mach” can be prepared in many ways…it can be smoked, fried, steamed, baked in young plantain leaves, or can be prepared with mustard seed paste, curd, or with Eggplant. Even there is huge divide between Bangal and Ghatis in terms of Cooking procedure. Ilish Macher Sorshe bata diye Jhal……A famous or it is better to say a classical Bong Fish Curry prepared with Ilish Mach or Hilsa Fish… This Fish Curry is equally popular in both West Bengal and Bangladesh.
- Hilsa fish/ Ilish Mach: 5-7 pieces ( around 600 g)
- Black Mustard Seed: 2 Tbsp. (it should be soaked in lukewarm water)
- SLit Green Chili: 2-3
- Nigella Seed/ Kalojire / Kalonji: 2 Tbsp. (optional)
- Salt: to taste
- Turmeric powder: 1 Tsp.
- Green Chili: 8-10 (slit)
- Red Chili Powder: ½ Tsp.
- Mustard Oil: 4 Tbsp.
- Prepare a thick paste of Mustard either in a grinder or with the help of “Shilnora” or “Shilbatta” by adding 2 green chillies and 1 teaspoon of salt and keep it aside.
- Rub fish pieces with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon turmeric powder and keep them aside.
- Heat 3 Tbsp. of Mustard oil in a deep pan (preferably Karai) till the oil changes colour.
- Temper hot Oil with Nigella Seed and cook in medium flame till oil comes from the mixture.
- Pour mustard paste, turmeric powder, green chillies, red chilli powder and water to the mixture and boil it in medium flame.
- Now add Fish pieces slowly to the mixture and cook it on low flame for at least 10 minutes (Pan should be covered with a lid in this stage)
- Uncover the Pan and pour 1 Tbsp. of raw Mustard oil over the gravy and bring it to boil.
- At desired consistency take it out of the gas.
- Ilish macher Jhal is ready to serve with steamed rice.