Ilish Pulao | Bengali Hilsa Pulao Recipe

%Ilish Pulao Debjanir Rannaghar

Ilish Pulao is a signature Bengali delicacy where hilsa fish is cooked with rice to the level of perfection


Units Scale
  • 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

%Ilish Pulao making

  1. Slice two onions and deep fry those.
  2. Strain from the pan.
  3. Use 4 tbsp. oil from the oil used for frying onion to cook the pulao.

Making of Hilsa Gravy:

  1. Wash Pieces of Hilsa fish properly and rub them with 1 Tsp. turmeric powder and 1 Tsp. salt and keep them aside.
  2. Fry Fish chunks lightly or use raw fish as it is to make the gravy based on your preference.
  3. Make a paste of 3 onions, ginger, and garlic separately.
  4. 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.
  5. Add Salt and Kashmiri Red Chilli powder as well.
  6. Now beat the card and pour it into the pan and cook till oil comes out from the mixture.
  7. Now it’s time to add Ilish Mach.
  8. Add fish pieces with care and cover the pan with a lid and cook for 5-7 minutes on low flame.
  9. 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 ( 1/2 cup is more than enough).

Making of the Rice:

  1. 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.
  2. Take a Deep bottom pan (preferably a non-stick one) with a lid for preparing the rice.
  3. Now Take the double amount of water from the rice and pour that into the thick pan and bring the water to a boil.
  4. Add a few chunks of whole cardamom, bay leaf, clove, and cinnamon to the boiling water.
  5. Now add rice and mix the rice properly and add salt to the rice.
  6. 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.
  7. Off the flame and open the lid of the pan and give 5 minutes stand to on the rice.
  8. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Pour some Beresta” and half of the slitted green chilies.
  3. Now Put the remaining rice that’s separated on a plate over the fish and put the remaining Beresta and slitted green Chilies.
  4. Cover the pan with the lid and cook on low flame for 5-7 minutes and switched off the flame.
  5. Open the lid after 5 minutes and give the Ilish Pulao another 5 minutes of standing time.
  6. Be careful while serving the Pulao as Ilish is a delicate darling!


Keywords: Ilish Pulao recipe, Ilish macher pulao recipe, Hilsa Pulao recipe, debjanir rannaghar

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