Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Ilish Bhapa/ Hilsa in Coconut and Mustard Gravy

 We Bengalis go mad over this fish, we call it Ilish a.k.a Hilsa.....nobody else in the world can understand Bengali's love for Ilish or Hilsa. This fish can also be called as the King of all fishes because of its look, taste and texture.

There are lot of recipes we can make from Hilsa but there are some signature Bengali dishes which are: 
  • Ilish Bhapa (Hilsa in Coconut and Mustard Gravy)
  • Sorshe Ilish (Hilsa in Spicy Mustard Gravy)
  • Doi Ilish (Hilsa in Yogurt and Mustard Gravy)

Among all, I love Ilish Bhapa. It's a very simple recipe and the fish retains its flavors because very few ingredients are used to cook this delactable dish. Just mustard seeds paste, grated coconut, salt, turmeric and you're done!

I have seen my Mom making this finger licking recipe using the traditional way where fish steaks are coated with all the ingredients and then steamed it in a pressure cooker and our home used to get filled with its fragnance. 

When I was in USA I tried to make this recipe in Microwave and trust me there's no difference in the taste at all. Since then I use the microwave method to make this recipe. Today I'm going to share this delicious recipe using the same method. So let's get started.


1. Hilsa Steaks: 5-6 pieces
2. Mustard Seeds: 2 tbsp
3. Grated Coconut: 1/2 cup
4. Turmeric Powder: 1 tsp
5. Salt to taste
6. Mustard Oil (preferable, you can use vegetable oil too): for cooking
7. Green chilies
8. Cilantro (Coriander leaves): for garnishing


1. Wash the fish pieces and pat dry them with a paper towel.

2. Marinate the fish with salt and turmeric powder and keep it aside for 10-15 mins. 

3. In the meanwhile make a paste with mustard seeds, grated coconut, salt, turmeric powder and green chilies. Add water if required, the consistency of this mixture should not be too thin.

4. Take the fish steaks in a microwave safe bowl and coat them with the prepared coconut-mustard seeds paste. 

5. Add 2-3 tbsps of mustard oil and a green chilly. Cover the bowl with aluminium foil and steam it for 7-8 mins. Let it stand for a minute. Remove the foil and check the consistency of the gravy. If required steam it for another minute.

6. Ilish Bhapa is ready to serve with steamed rice, garnish it with freshly chopped cilantro. Enjoy!!


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