Thursday, January 20, 2011

Doi Ilish or Shorshe Ilish (Hilsa/Shad in Mustard Sauce)

Ilish, is one of the favorite and a Bengali Delicacy. It is the most wanted fish for the Bengalis. Doi Ilish as I name it, for my husband this is Shorshe Ilish (Hilsa/Shad in Mustard Sauce)... Well apart from whatever you call the recipe, it is a traditional Bengali Recipe and we are acquainted with the taste from our childhood. So, here in USA whenever we hear that Ilish is available at the Indian Grocery we make it a point to grab one before the store runs out of it. 

Ingredients: Doi Ilish or Shorshe Ilish (Hilsa/Shad in Mustard Sauce)
  • Ilish or Hilsa (1.5 lbs or roughly 6 pieces)
  • 1/2 cup Yogurt
  • 2-3 tbsp Mustard Paste
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • Mustard Oil  (Preferred, otherwise any other oil would even do)
  • 1/2 tsp Kalo Jeera (Kalonji Seeds)
  • 3-4 Green Chillies
  • Chopped Cilantro

Clean the Ilish pieces and pat dry them. Season them with salt and turmeric powder. Now heat Mustard Oil in a wok, and slowly put the fish pieces one by one and fry them lightly. In a bowl mix the yogurt and the mustard paste, add the turmeric powder. Remove the fish pieces after they are fried and keep the oil aside. We Bengali's love this oil with plain rice.  Add some fresh oil to the wok and temper with the Kalo Jeera seeds and let them splutter. Turn the heat to low and add the yogurt and mustard paste and  the green chillies. As the oil starts separating, add the fish, salt and a cup of water, cover and cook for sometime. and serve with hot Basmati Rice. Garnish with a few drops of fresh mustard oil and chopped cilantro and enjoy the Bengali Delicacy.


  1. dekhei mone hochee Sorshe te besh Jhannj chilo !!

  2. Beautiful and meticulous post and one of the best shorshe ilish recipes online! I am the founder of a chain of cosmetic surgery centers in Mumbai. Don't let the surname fool you. I am Punjabi married to a Bong but divorced. I tried making the recipe as mentioned above but used a steamer. I also replaced the hilsa with the Kingfish Mackerel (surmai) readily available in Mumbai's fish markets. It tasted great. I had a question? Is a two-tiered steamer (with boiling water below and the fish placed in the compartment above) good for cooking this or should I stick to a pressure cooker for greater taste. Since the upper compartment had perforations for the steam to enter, I wrapped the fish and the accompanying sauce in banana leaf. When it was ready, the yellow fish pieces and sauce over the green leaf added a great visual accompaniment.


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