Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Ilish Maach Bhape/Sorshe Ilish

Hilsa Fish remains an eternal favorite among food lovers. Fish rules the platter of any Indian household, and scores much higher than chicken and mutton.Varied recipes of fish continue to rule the hearts of quintessential Bengali gourmets. Bhetki, Koi, Rui or Catfish, Prawn, Lobsters, and Hilsa remain the perennial favorites among the numerous varieties of fish. Hilsa or 'Ilish' as it is commonly known as, is one of the most liked variety of fish, and there are plenty of dishes available with this fish. Hilsa is not just a fish, but a symbol of Bengali culture. Hilsa is found plentiful in the rivers-Padma, Meghna, Yamuna and Ganges, however, most of this sweet-tasting fish is caught from the sea. Most of the Hilsa dishes are cooked in mustard oil.

Among all other hilsa delicacies, Ilish Maach Bhape or Sorshe Ilish remains my priority:)
Here is a simple and easy way to prepare this recipe at home:

Hilsa fish-(chop it into pieces for better results)
Mustard Paste
Mustard Oil
Turmeric Powder
Green Chilli
Salt to taste

Preparation: First, wash the fish pieces properly and mix a paste of mustard paste, salt, mustard oil and turmeric with it. Then keep the fish pieces in an air-tight container for some time. Pour some mustard oil on top of those pieces and sprinkle 4/5 green chillies. Then take 2/3 cups of water in a hollow fry pan or container and place the air-tight container in it. Keep the flame low and place something on top of this container, so that the lid doesn't fall off. Bring it to boil for around 10-12 mins and remove it from flame. Your delicious smoked hilsa is now ready to eat! Serve it with smoking hot rice or nan bread.


Tatiana said...

hi friend,
nice blog. Pretty original and simple.

Avik said...

The preparation above seems more like
Bhapa Ilish or Steamed Hilsa. I do not Smoked Hilsa is same as Bhapa Ilish. What do u think????

Aditi said...


Definitely this is not Smoked Hilsa. It is Bhapa Iilish.
I have tasted Smoked Hilsa at Asrabad Hotel in Chittagong, it is entirely different and completely bone less - I wonder how those guys could make it.

kiran said...


I was disappointed to read the blog . It is definately not Smoked Hilsa.

The nearest one in your readers comments is from she had at Agrabad Hotel, Chittagong ....but then the true essence of hilsa is lost and one has to use a fork and knife to eat it...not the way hilsa is eaten.

The true Smoked Hilsa or eeleeesh maanch pora

I recall the first time I had smoked hilsa was about forty five years ago when I was a small boy. It tasted ok but smelt awful ....very smoky . It was much later that I got to cultivate the taste and today it is a much sought after lunch meal.

It is literally smoked in a flame of straw . The fish is mixed with salt, turmeric or whatever and mustard oil The fish is then put into skewers (like kabab) and the straw burnt and the fish cooked on the straw fire . Keep mouring mustard oil on the fish (which keeps the fish from getting hard). The oil also keeps the flame going .

In minutes the fish is cooked .

Remove and use the next skewer .

The fish is eaten with water rice ( also called paaanta) , dal bordas , kasundi, salt ,green chillies and lemon to taste.

Unfortunately it has some side effects

1. You tend to overeat (twice your normal)
2. Its expensive - I have known people who have had between 10-11 pices of hilsa in one sitting
3. Its addictive

Best Regards

Mr.Kiran Nair

kiran said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Indranee said...

Yup!That was my mistake...changed it to Ilish maach bhape. Thanks for the overview on smoked hilsa!