Fragrant and delicious Ilish Pulao is a signature Bengali-style Pilaf cooked with Hilsa Fish.
I finally entered the kitchen last week after recovering from the slipped disk (actually after a month!) and was in the mood to cook something special. As always I was in a dilemma about what should I opt for! However, after checking the stock I decided to pick a packet full of Hilsa fish chunks which I ordered the day before. It has to be something special; something vibrant; something very close to my heart. I then ended up cooking the Ilish Pulao. It is easy to make and a perfect one-pot meal and hence perfect to break my cooking fast.
My obsession with Ilish Mach!
Who can define the relationship between Bangali's lunch/dinner table and a piece of Ilish mach! Believe me, it’s difficult; really difficult to depict the relationship of Ilish with a Bong Household! Though much favored by the “Bangal" ( Bengali’s with origin in Bangladesh)” community but Ghoti’s ( Bengalis of origin in India) are also having an indestructible relationship with this pricey, snobby fish, as well. Ilish / Hilsa is the National Fish of Bangladesh and here in India, it’s nothing but a celebrity within the fish community.
What and what not we can cook with Ilish maach?
We Bong’s can have Ilish in the thinkable (sometimes unthinkable) form! Though mostly we have it as a side dish complemented with steamed rice but a mixed version i.e. Ilish Pulao is quite popular and super tasty! I have had Ilish Biriyani also which is something like “Kolkata Biriyani “and completely different from the Ilish Pulao. “Ilish Pulao” is quite popular in Bangladesh. It is a traditional delicacy there. In fact, traditionally people don’t like to add added flavor or color, etc while making Hilsa pulao. There are, though people who prefer pulao spice-loaded.
I personally love the traditional process of preparing “Ilish Pulao” with the supremacy of this elitist fish!
Ilish Pulao, the recipe!
I have been following this recipe of Ilish Pulao and am completely satisfied with this. The Key is the quality of the Ilish used in the recipe. I never use Ilish mach aka Hilsa fish below 1kg while cooking Ilish Pulao or any other dish. This is a strict no-no at home.
In addition, good quality Rice is needed in making this dish. I prefer to use flavored short-grain rice such as Gobindo bhog rice or Tulaipanji rice or else Chinigura rice if available. Apart from that, I use very few spices. Needless to say, Ilish is enough to boost the flavors.
Here's how I cook Ilish Pulao at Debjanir Rannaghar!Print
Ilish Pulao is a signature Bengali delicacy where hilsa fish is cooked with rice to the level of perfection
- 6 Pieces Ilish Mach / Hilsa Fish (around 600 g or more and preferably bit big sized pieces)
- 500g Short grain flavored rice/ Basmati Rice
- 7 Onion; 3 for paste (medium-sized) and 4 for crisps
- 2-inches Ginger
- 10 cloves Garlic
- 10 Green Chili (based on your taste bud)
- 2 Dry Red Chili
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 4 Green Cardamom
- 1 Black Cardamom
- 2 Cinnamon Stick
- 10 Clove
- 2 Tsp. Turmeric Powder
- 1 Tsp. Kashmiri Chili Powder
- 75g Plain Curd
- 1.5 Tsp. Salt or to taste
- 4 tbsp. Mustard Oil(For deep frying onion as well)
- 2 tbsp. Ghee / Clarified butter
- 20g Cashew nut
Perfect Ilish Pulao Recipe
- Slice two onions and deep fry those.
- Strain from the pan.
- Use 4 tbsp. oil from the oil used for frying onion to cook the pulao.
Making of Hilsa Gravy:
- Wash Pieces of Hilsa fish properly and rub them with 1 Tsp. turmeric powder and 1 Tsp. salt and keep them aside.
- Fry Fish chunks lightly or use raw fish as it is to make the gravy based on your preference.
- Make a paste of 3 onions, ginger, and garlic separately.
- Hit oil in a pan/wok and add onion paste and fry for 3-4 minutes or till you get a golden brown color add ginger and garlic paste and again cook for 3-4 minutes on medium flame.
- Add Salt and Kashmiri Red Chilli powder as well.
- Now beat the card and pour it into the pan and cook till oil comes out from the mixture.
- Now it’s time to add Ilish Mach.
- Add fish pieces with care and cover the pan with a lid and cook for 5-7 minutes on low flame.
- Open the lid and turn fishes very carefully as we need to have them intact! At this point, you can add 1-2 tbsp. of water if you feel the gravy is drying too much and cook for another 5-7 minutes in low flame. We need not too runny but a thick and rich gravy for Pulao so add water accordingly ( ½ cup is more than enough).
Making of the Rice:
- Take Rice in a bowl and wash it 3-4 times and keep that rice covered with water for 30-40 minutes after that drain all the water.
- Take a Deep bottom pan (preferably a non-stick one) with a lid for preparing the rice.
- Now Take the double amount of water from the rice and pour that into the thick pan and bring the water to a boil.
- Add a few chunks of whole cardamom, bay leaf, clove, and cinnamon to the boiling water.
- Now add rice and mix the rice properly and add salt to the rice.
- Cover the rice with the lid and cook it for around 10 minutes on medium flame or till the rice is 90 % done. You need to check the water in between as there is no need for much water in the rice at the time of assembling the rice and the fish.
- Off the flame and open the lid of the pan and give 5 minutes stand to on the rice.
- Take Ghee in the Pan and heat the ghee and temper it with remaining bay leaves, dry red chili, cinnamon sticks, and cardamoms, and mix this mixture lightly with the cooked rice.
Assembling the Rice and Fish:
- Take half of the rice on a plate and place Hilsa pieces very carefully on top of the rice that you have in the pan after that spread the Hilsa gravy over the fish and rice mixture.
- Pour some Beresta” and half of the slitted green chilies.
- Now Put the remaining rice that’s separated on a plate over the fish and put the remaining Beresta and slitted green Chilies.
- Cover the pan with the lid and cook on low flame for 5-7 minutes and switched off the flame.
- Open the lid after 5 minutes and give the Ilish Pulao another 5 minutes of standing time.
- Be careful while serving the Pulao as Ilish is a delicate darling!
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Category: Main
- Method: Cooking
- Cuisine: Bengali
- Serving Size: 200g
- Calories: 709
- Sugar: 7.1g
- Sodium: 1183mg
- Fat: 20.5g
- Saturated Fat: 5.5g
- Carbohydrates: 85.4g
- Fiber: 5.1g
- Protein: 43g
- Cholesterol: 72mg
Keywords: Ilish Pulao recipe, Ilish macher pulao recipe, Hilsa Pulao recipe, debjanir rannaghar
Pulao/ Biryani/ Rice-based Recipes from Debjanir Rannaghar apart from Ilish Pulao:
- Awadhi Vegetable Tehri (Also known as Veg Tehri)
- Bhat Bhaja (also known as Bengali Bhaja Bhat)
- Bangladeshi Mutton Tehari (Also known as Gosht Tehari)
- Bou Khuda (also known as Boua Pulao or Bou Khudi)
- Bengali Niramish Khichuri (also known as Bhoger Khichuri aka Bengali Khichuri)
- Murgi Khichuri (also known as Murgir Mangshor Khichuri
- Ilish Pulao (Also known as Bengali Hilsa Pulao Recipe)
- Dhakai Morog Pulao (also known as Sahi Morog Pulao)
- Kolkata Mutton Biryani (also known as Calcutta Biryani)
- Birista Pulao (Also known as Piyaz Beresta Pulao)
- Masoor Daler Patla Khichuri (Also known as Bengali Red Lentil Khichdi)
- Ghee Bhat (Also known as Bengali Sweet Pulao)
- Masoor Daler Patla Khichuri (also known as Bengali Masoor Dal khichuri)
- Peas Pulao (Also known as Matar Pulao)
- Khejur Gurer Payesh (also known as Bengali Rice Kheer with Date Palm Jaggery)
- Niramish Bhuni Khichuri (also know as Bengali Bhuni Khichuri)
- Muri Ghonto (Also known as Bengali Fish Head and Rice Mishmash)
- Kolkata Mutton Biryani (Also known as Calcutta Biryani)
- Chaler Payesh (Also known as Bengali Rice Kheer)
- Crab Biryani (Also known as Crab Dum Biryani or Nandu Biryani)
Have you tried the Ilish Pulao recipe from Debjanir Rannaghar!
Do let me know how it came out. Also, I would love to see a picture of the same which you can share here at firstname.lastname@example.org. Meanwhile, on Instagram, you can use my hashtag #debjanirrannaghar and in addition, you can tag me at @foodofdebjani.