Do you know Barishali Ilish and any Manchurian Chicken resembles in one aspect! I know you are getting confused however, there are striking similarities between the dishes I have mentioned above. Let us see how these two dishes are similar!
Similarities between Barishali Ilish and Manchurian Chicken!
There is no such dish called Barishali Ilish in Bangladesh and there is no such dish called Manchurian in China 🙂 . It was quite funny when I got to know about Barishali Ilish or Ilish Barisali’s origin! Curious are you?
Well, Barishali Ilish, a famous Hilsa delicacy in India is named after a district of Bangladesh, Barishal has not its origin there! Similarly, Manchurian Chicken though developed by a Chinese Chef, however, he was from Kolkata, not China! Manchurian was the brainchild of Indian restaurateur Nelson Wang who is Chinese by origin. No more talk about Chicken Manchurian though as this post is about Barishali Ilish, not Manchurian.
Barishali Ilish is a Hilsa preparation immensely popular now as part of extended Bengali Cuisine. The dish is not a classic Bengali delicacy yet it is almost classic now. Considering the typical ingredients used and how amazing it tastes Barishali Ilish is a must make and must have. This dish calls for Mustard Paste, Coconut paste, Plain Curd and Mustard oil along with the chunks of Hilsa. A fish curry (read Ilish mach) cooked with Mustard Paste, Coconut paste, Plain Curd and Mustard oil cannot go wrong. This is for the obvious reason that all these ingredients go separately very well with Hilsa.
Origin of Ilish Barishali aka Barishali Ilish!
I was planning to write the recipe since long, however, was curious to know the reason behind the naming. In fact, I clicked the pictures sometimes last year.
When checked with a Bangladeshi friend Nayana Afroz last year, I was informed there’s no such dish called Barishali Ilish in Bangladesh! Her statement was enough to boost my level of curiosity. I dropped the idea of writing the recipe and started gathering the details. I found several recipes of the same dish in different blogs. The recipes were almost the same hence I did not get any detail to support Nayana Di’s statement.
I then contacted my Bangladeshi friends and colleagues. They informed me a Hilsa Curry cooked with Mustard and Coconut is not known as Barishali Ilish in Bangladesh! In fact, they eat Hilsa cooked with Mustard mostly when they are in India. According to some of them, Bangladeshi Ilish dishes initially were not about adding mustard in the curry. These days, however, thanks to recipe blogs, youtube channels they cook Ilish with mustard just the way we cook the same fish with Onion in India.
A chat with one of the owners of Bhojohari Manna!
I then contacted Mr. Shiddhartha Bose, one of the owners of a famous Bengali restaurant chain. Bhojaohari Manna is the restaurant that popularized this beautiful dish that we call Barishali Ilish. Siddhartha Da has shared something unique!
“Once upon a time Barishal used to be the largest catchment area. Thus we named the dish Barishali Ilish!”
Siddhartha Da has helped me previously with the history of Dak Bungalow Chicken as well. Their restaurant chain is having several delicacies which now we cook at home and the dishes are now considered almost classic.
Here’s how I make Barishali Ilish aka Ilish Barishai at Debjanir Rannaghar!
- Serves: 6 People
- Serving size: 200g
- Calories: 369
- Fat: 19.2g
- Saturated fat: 7.8g
- Carbohydrates: 4.2g
- Sugar: 1.3g
- Sodium: 1077mg
- Fiber: 0.5g
- Protein: 42.5g
- Cholesterol: 73mg
- Hilsa Chunks: 6 (I prefer to use round cut fish)
- Black Mustard Seed: 1 Tbsp.
- Yellow Mustard Seed: 1 Tbsp.
- Coconut Paste: 4 Tbsp.
- Plain Curd: 100g
- Nigella Seed/ Kalojire/ Kalonji: ½ Tsp.
- Green Chili: 4
- Salt: to taste
- Turmeric Powder: 1 Tsp.
- Red Chili Powder: ½ Tsp.
- Mustard Oil: 3 Tbsp.
- Marinate Fish Chunks with ½ Tsp. Turmeric Powder and ½ Tsp. Salt.
- Soak mustard seeds in hot water for 15 minutes.
- Make a smooth paste of the mustard seeds along with ¼ Tsp. Salt.
- Strain the paste after diluting it with ¼ cup water to remove the husk.
- Beat the curd so that there is no lump.
- Now Make a mixture of the Mustard paste, coconut Paste, and Curd.
- Add Salt, Red Chilli Powder, and ½ Tsp. Turmeric Powder and mix.
- Add Green Chili slits as well.
- Heat 2 Tbsp. Mustard oil in a pan.
- If using the tail (Lyaja) fry it else you do not need to fry the fish.
- Temper the oil with Nigella Seed.
- Pour the mixture and add ½ cup Water as well.
- Once the mixture starts boiling add marinated fish chunks.
- I have added a fried tail as well.
- Cook for around 10 minutes.
- Turn the fishes once halfway through.
- Once the gravy reaches desired consistency add 1 Tbsp. Oil and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Switch the flame off and serve it hot with steamed rice.
Mustard oil makes the dish flavorful.
Instead of Coconut paste, you may use coconut milk as well.
Hilsa / Ilish Mach recipes from Debjanir Rannaghar!
- Lau Patay Ilish Paturi (also known as Lau Patay Ilish Bhapa)
- Sada Ilish (also known as Ilish Panikhola)
- Ilish Macher Tok (also known as Ilish Macher Tawk)
- Nona Ilish Bhorta (also known as nona ilisher bhuna)
- Bori Begun Aloo diye Ilish Macher Tel Jhol (also known as Ilisher jhol)
- Ilish Macher Korma (also known as Hilsa Korma)
- Kasundi Ilish (also known as Hilsa cooked with Bengali Mustard Sauce Kasundi)
- Ilish Shukto (also known as macher shukto)
- Mawa Ghater Ilish Macher Lejar Bhorta (also known as Ilish Macher Bhorta)
- Ilish Pulao (also known as Bengali Hilsa Pulao)
- Doi Ilish (also known as Hilsa in Yogurt)
- Bhapa Ilish (also known as Steamed Hilsa Fish or Ilish Bhapa)
- Ilish Macher Sorshe bata diye Jhal (also known as Hilsa Fish in Mustard Gravy)
Have you tried the Barishali Ilish 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 on firstname.lastname@example.org. Meanwhile, on Instagram, you can use my hashtag #debjanirrannaghar and in addition, you can tag me at @foodofdebjani.
Here’s the Ilish Barishali Pin for your Pinterest Board!