“Cara do you know how to make Ilish Macher Korma? I mean the authentic one!”
“Why do you ask? BTW I know how to make the Ilish Macher Korma though I can not comment on the authenticity! You know, there is nothing called authentic, food goes through the evaluation as well! At least that is what I feel”
“Got it, Cara! Actually, I had it last week while having the Bengali lunch out with friends; so just thought of having it at home!””BTW why are you calling me Cara, all of a sudden! Your Italian sucks! Errrrr”
“BTW why are you calling me Cara, all of a sudden! Your Italian sucks! Errrrr”
“Hmmm and your English sucks and that makes us a team”
“Shut up moron!”
“Okay, can we have some Debjani-made Ilish Macher Korma Wifie! Also, tell me one thing why do you always make Ilish with Shorshe bata or Doi; what the fascination is all about”
“Because I am a ghoti; what more can you expect other than Ilisher Shorshe Bhapa! Ilish with Onion Garlic is typically not my thing! Well, you don;t understand. I have never seen your mother cooking Ilish; Your place is full of vegetarian and Choto Mach (small fresh water fish); not that I am complaining. She, after all, is a great cook and learned the best Postor Halwa from her!
“Okay, so the MIL got a compliment from you! Anyway, I love Ilish and can we please have the Ilish Macher Korma!”
“By the way Mehebub I actually liked the Cara thing!”
Okay, it just was part of the typical domestic conversation which didn’t end there! However, I ended on cooking the Ilish Macher Korma when Mehebub ended on coming home with a 1.5 Kg Ilish mach from Lake Market! It is not that I was willing to make it as I always crave for Ilish bhapa or Doi Ilish or Ilisher Jhal but at times you need to cook Man’s favorite as well! After all, he was calling me “Cara” that too after 7 years of marriage!
Coming to the Ilish Macher Korma, this is not a typical Indianised dish prepared with Hilsa! In fact, as much as I know this dish is originally from Bangladesh however, a reader wrote on my Insta post that this is not a Bangladeshi way of cooking either! I was quite surprised upon reading that however, I don’t have any more reference on this!
Ilish Macher Korma is a rich preparation of Hilsa, where it is cooked in a gravy of Onion, Garlic, Ginger. Even little Cashew nut paste and Garam Masala are also used which obviously a bit unique. Ilish has its’ own taste and I prefer to use moderate spices to keep the original flavor of Ilish intact. I prefer to use big size Ilish to make this dish as bigger the Ilish tastier it is and aromatic as well.
I found Pasta enjoying the gravy probably because it was a bit on the sweeter side. Mehebub told me that enjoyed the Debjani-made Ilish Macher Korma and that too again with a “Cara”!
I suppose I should now share the recipe so that you can try my version of Ilish Macher Korma. Do try it with a spoonful (or may be more) of Steamed rice ( or should I say Gorom Bhat) and let me know how it comes out!
- Ilish Maach/ Hilsa Fish Chunk: 6-8 ( 100g each)
- Onion: 1 (to make "Beresta")
- Onion: 2 (2 to make paste; 1 to slice)
- Ginger Paste: 1 Tsp.
- Garlic Paste: 1.5 Tsp.
- Green Chili: 8-10
- Cashew Nut: 20-25
- Raisin: 10
- Milk: ½ Cup (75 ml)
- Hung Curd: ½ Cup (75 ml)
- Whole Cinamon: 1"
- Bay Leaf: 1
- Green Cardamom: 3-4
- Red Chili: 1-2
- Turmeric Powder: 1 Tbsp.
- Bengali Garam Masala Powder: ½ Tsp.
- Sugar: 2 Tsp.
- Salt: to taste
- Other: Ghee: 1 Tbsp.
- Mustard Oil: 4 Tbsp.
- Wash the Hilsa chunks and rub some turmeric powder and salt to the fish chunks and leave for 15 minutes.
- Make a paste of two onions and thinly slice one.
- Soak Cashew Nut in hot water for 10 minutes and make a smooth paste of the nuts after that.
- Thinly slice one onion to make Piaj Beresta or Onion crisp.
- Heat the Oil in a wok and fry the sliced onion till that turn golden brown and crispy.
- Lightly fry Ilish Maach in remaining oil ( hardly 30-45 seconds each side) and strain from the oil.
- Temper the Oil with Whole Cinamon, Bay Leaf, Green Cardamom, Red Chili.
- Add sliced onion and fry.
- Now add Onion paste and cook on medium flame till the onion turn brown.
- Add Ginger and Garlic PAste along with 2-3 slit Green chili and cook till the mixture leaves the edges of the pan.
- Add little water ( 1 Tsp.) in the case found the mixture drying much.
- Now add curd and mix thoroughly and cook in medium flame till the oil separates from the mixture.
- Add Salt and Sugar to the mixture and mix.
- Add Cashew Nut paste and whole Raisin and cook till the nutty aroma goes completely from the mixture.
- At this point, add milk along with 2 cups of water and bring it to boil.
- Add fried Hilsa chunks and cook for 5-7 minutes or till the gravy thickens and oil separates from the mixture.
- Add Ghee, Garam Masala powder and Fried Onion (Beresta) and mix.
- Serve Ilish Macher Korma with steamed rice.
Beyond Ilish Macher Korma, the typical Shorshe Ilish (and other ) from Debjanir Rannaghar!
Do try the Shorshe Ilish, Doi Ilish, or Bhapa Ilish if you wish to stick to the no-onion-no-garlic gravy. You can opt for the Bori Begun Diye Ilisher Tel Jhol in case you want a comforting Ilish experience.