Ilish Mach aka Hilsa fish is in the season and needless to say, I cooked it a few times this year as well. This year, however, I have used Ilish mach to make simple delicacies mostly. Ilish Beguner Jhol is probably the simplest of the lot, well, after Ilish Mach Bhaja.
A light curry cooked with Fresh Hilsa and wedges of Aubergine/ Eggplant aka Begun is a treat. This is one of my favorites though Mehebub prefers Ilish Panikhola over Ilishe Begun Jhol. While I am mostly an Ilish Bhapa or Shorshe Ilish Person; Mehebub loves Doi Ilish. Pasta, on the other hand, Pasta loves baked hilsa! She prefers her portion of Ilish Mach boneless!
2021 and yet my love for Hilsa Fish continues (responsibly)!
Now that we are in the season of Ilish, I thought of writing a recipe. There's another reason though. We procured a 1kg 750g beauty last week and needless to say, I cooked. Over the years we have changed the procurement pattern. We may afford to purchase Ilish 6-7 times during the season (or maybe more); we do not do that. Instead, we restrict ourselves to twice a year and once more if we visit the seashore near Midnapur during the season of Ilish. Both I and Mehebub are strongly against purchasing Khoka Ilish and I have mentioned that here on my blog as well as on my YouTube channel quite a few times.
How can you eat Ilish Mach responsibly without hampering the species
You can read my post on Kumro diye Ilish Macher Jhol to know my thought about responsible eating. For now, I am sharing a plan that I follow while we have restricted the purchase of Ilish Mach.
- This plan will work for a nuclear family (joint families for sure are another case). As I have mentioned, we purchase Ilish just twice a year. We try to procure fish over 1.5kg.
- Once the fish is cleaned, I divide it into 4 portions.
- I use the Head and tail to make Ilish Macher Ambole, the rest of the portions (around 4 pieces per set) are used in making different dishes. This way we got to try different delicacies, yet we do on over-procure.
- If we visit Digha, Madarmani, or Sankarpur during the Ilish season, we pick 2-3 whole fishes (around 1.5kg) from there and we refrigerate those as it is. This is not every year though.
- The main thing is how you are planning to utilise one or two fishes. We need to restrict ourselves from procuring Ilish Mach in abundence even if we caan afford it. This is the least we can do to save the species.
- Last but not the least, say no to KHOKA ILISH.
Ilish Beguner Jhol
Let me now come back to the recipe of Begun diye Ilish Macher Jhol. It is a comforting curry cooked with limited spices and big chunks of Eggplant. In fact, try to use fewer spices while cooking Ilish Mach. Let the fish be the hero/ heroine of the dish. It works, always and that is the beauty of a good quality Hilsa fish.
Hilsa Fish aka Ilish Mach FAQ
Have you considered Kolaghater Ilish (Hilsa fish from Kolaghat)? Well, Needless to say, Padma-r Ilish (Hilsa from Padma river) is the pioneer however, it is not possible to get one always especially if you are in India but not in Bangladesh. It is though easier to arrange Padmar Ilish US, UK, or Australia all thanks to the Bangladeshi shops/ markets. In India, a good quality Ilish from Ganga (Kolaghat to be specific) or Hilsa from Rupnarayan is a wise purchase if you can afford it. We get Mayanmar Ilish as well, which though is not that flavorful.
If you are cooking Shorshe Ilish, or Ilish macher Bhapa or Ilish Paturi, Mustard paste aka Shorshe bata is a must but not for other dishes such as Ilisher Tel Jhol, Bori begun diye Ilisher Jhol or Ilisher Panikhola or Ilish Beguner Jhol.
If a dish needs Onion; it needs it period. Panikhola calls for Onion and so does i]Ilish macher Korma. The same applies to Ilish Bhuna. Do not restrict your mind if possible.
You want the next generation to savour Ilish mach as well; don't you? If the answer is "Yes"; you should say No to Khoka Ilish.
In the Indo-Bangladesh region, Ilish Mach is one of the celebrated fish. . Ilish is a migratory fish and the life-cycle is quite unique as the fish went through both salted as well as freshwater. However, due to overfishing, unscientific fishery, pollution Hilsa is now in danger. The unauthorized sale of Khoka Ilish or baby Hilsa is one of the catalysts to this problem. Hence, say no to Baby Hilsa. If possible, procure Ilish beyond 1kg.
- 6 Pieces Hilsa fish aka Ilish Mach (150g each)
- 1 Eggplant
- 5 Green Chillies
- 2 cloves of Garlic (optional)
- 1 Tsp. Onion Seed aka Kalojire aka Kalonji
- 1 Tsp. Red Chilli Powder
- 1 Tsp. Turmeric Powder
- 1 Tsp. Salt
- 6 Tbsp. Mustard Oil
- Wash Hilsa Fish chunks and rub ½ Tsp. each of Salt, Turmeric Powder, Red Chili Powder and 1 Tbsp. Mustard oil to the fish.
- Leave the fishes after marination for 15 minutes.
- Cut Eggplant into thick wedges (with the skin on).
- Rub the eggplant with the marination available in the bowl you are keeping the marinated fish.
- Now heat 3 Tbsp. Mustard Oil in a thick bottom pan.
- Once heated, lightly fry the fish for 30 seconds on each side.
- This step is ootional and you can for sure skip this step however, doing this you can have Ilish Mach bhajar tel (oil from frying Hilsa) in the pan which is a dish itself.
- If you are frying the fish, strain 2 Tbsp. Oil from the pan once the fishes are fried lightly and strained.
- Once done, fry the eggplant wedges remaining in the pan for 1 minute and strain from the oil.
- Temper the oil remaining in the pan with nigella seed and freshly crushed garlic (optional).
- Now add green chillies after cutting those into halves.
- Mix remainng Turmeric Powder, Red Chili Powder, and also Salt with ½ cup water and add this mixture to the pan.
- The mixture will start bubbling soon.
- At this point add 4 cups of water and bring the mixture to boil.
- Once start boiling, add Hilsa fish (either fried or unfried) and cook for 7 minutes on high flame.
- Now add fried eggplant and cook for 3 more minutes.
- Adjust the water as the curry should be runny.
- Adjust Salt and also chili powder if needed.
- Once done, add 1 Tbsp. Mustard Oil and lightly mix it.
- Cook for a minute and switch the flame off.
- Serve Ilish Beguner Jhol with steamed hot rice.
- Prep Time: 10 min
- Cook Time: 15 min
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: cooking
- Cuisine: Bengali
- Serving Size: 175g
- Calories: 342
- Sugar: 2.6g
- Sodium: 950mg
- Fat: 19.3g
- Saturated Fat: 2.9g
- Carbohydrates: 5.7g
- Fiber: 3.3g
- Protein: 35.3g
- Cholesterol: 60mg
Keywords: Ilish beguner Jhol, Ilish Macher Jhol, Ilish Macher Tel Jhol, Ilish Begun Jhol, Ilish Mach recipe, Hilsa fish curry, Debjanir rannaghar
Hilsa Fish Recipes
- Kumro diye Ilish Macher Jhol (Hilsa fish curry with Pumpkin)
- Ilish Mach er Dim Bhuna (also known as Ilish Mach er Dim er Jhuri)
- Barishali Ilish (also known as Ilish Barishali)
- Lau Patay Ilish Paturi (also known as Lau Patay Ilish Bhapa)
- Sada Ilish (also known as Ilisher Panikhola)
- Kasundi Ilish (Hilsa cooked with Bengali Mustard Sauce Kasundi)
- Madhabi Mukherjee's Ilish Macher Matha diye Badhakopi from Gateway Hotel's Ilish Festival!
- Ilish Macher Tok (also known as Ilish Macher Tawk)
- Ilish Shukto! The journey from Debjanir Rannaghar to Taj Bengal's Kitchen......
- My take on Nona Ilish & Nona Ilish Bhorta/ Bhuna Recipe from Debjanir Rannaghar!
- Mawa Ghater Ilish Macher Lejar Bhorta (also known as Ilish Macher Bhorta)
- Ilish Macher Korma
- Bori Begun Aloo diye Ilish Macher Tel Jhol
- Ilish Pulao (also known as Bengali Hilsa Pulao Recipe)
- Doi Ilish, a classical Bengali Curd based Hilsa Curry
- Masoor Daler Patla Khichuri aar Ilish Mach Bhaja
- Bhapa Ilish (also known as Steamed Hilsa Fish or Ilish Bhapa)
- Ilish Macher Sorshe bata diye Jhal (also known as Hilsa Fish in Mustard Grav or Ilish er Shorshe Jhal or Shorshe Ilish)
Have you tried the easy Ilish Beguner Jhol recipe from Debjanir Rannaghar!
I would love to see a picture if you are making it following my recipe which you can share here on firstname.lastname@example.org. You can use my hashtag #debjanirrannaghar and share it through Instagram as well. and in addition, you can tag me at @foodofdebjani.