Jhinge Begun die Ilish Macher Jhal (Hilsa with Veggies in a Light Mustard Gravy)

6:55 AM

I always make it a point to bring some fish whenever am flying from Kolkata. Hubby says that mostly the fish we get here are also flown from Kolkata and are stored in ice. These obviously are not fresh and lack the taste that tickles the Bengali taste bud. This time Baba bought some Ganga’r Ilish (Hilsa caught from the Ganges) and Galda Chingri (Prawns). Maa had cleaned and cut them in small pieces and lightly fried them with a pinch of turmeric and salt and put them in the freezer. By the time we started for the airport the fish was frozen and remained that way till we reached our place in Bangalore.

Now the fish loving Bengalis undoubtedly believe that the Hilsa from the Rivers Ganges and Padma tastes best in the lot. Now Padma falls in Bangladesh and the imported price of these fish sometimes make news. so the easily available ones come from Ganges. The fish I brought this time were caught near Raichak (a place near kolkata).

Now like all Bengali curries fish curries also come in a variety of gravies like jhol (onion, ginger, cumin paste), jhal (mustard paste), Kalia (Red gravy with garam masala), Tak (tamarind or dried mango gravy), malaikari (coconut, mustard) etc etc. all these have an unique flavor and taste of its own depending on the fish. Last weekend I made patla jhol (Light gravy) with begun (Brinjal) and Jhinge (Ridgegourd). This is how my family loves their Ilish on normal days. On special days Ilish is cooked in more elaborated ways like Ilisher jhal (in thick gravy), Ilish Paturi (Hilsa cooked with spices in bayleaves), Doi Ilish (with curd and spices) etc. Hubby loves this dish and while eating he didn’t touch other side curries. Guess that only means good.

One thing about Hilsa is that it should be cleaned before cutting otherwise the very smell of it gets lost.
This Dish is light and could be cooked in a jiffy. Compared to the other Hilsa recipes this is quite healthy.

Now the recipe-

Jhinge Begun die Ilish Macher Jhal

Hilsa: 4 pieces

Potato: 1 small
Ridge gourd: ½ or 5-6 medium sized chunks
Begun (Brinjal): ½ of a medium sized
Mustard paste: 3 teaspoon
Mustrad oil: 6 teaspoon
Kalojeere (Kalounji or nigella seeds): a pinch
Green chilies: 4-5 or as per taste

One request: It is told that hilsa shouid always be cooked in mustard oil. That brings out the best flavor. So please for all Hilsa recipes don’t substitute the oil.

Peel the potato and cut in medium sized chunks.
Peel potato and slice them as shown in picture.
Cut the brinjal in the same manner.

Lightly fry the hilsa pieces with a pinch of salt and turmeric. Keep them aside.

Mix the mustard paste with ½ cup water and keep aside.

Veggies here don’t get cooked easily so I lightly sautéed them again with a little salt and turmeric. My Maa never does that. She fries the vegetables while cooking the gravy.

Reserve a spoonful of mustard oil and heat the rest. Once it reaches the smoking point lower the heat and add the nigella seeds and slitted green chilies. Once the aroma rises add the mustard paste. Give it a boil and add the veggies, salt and turmeric. Cover and let it cook on medium heat.

After 7-8 minutes check if the vegetables are cooked add the Hilsa. Mix with a light hand not to break the fish pieces.

Check the seasoning and put the reserved mustard oil.

Serve hot with steamed rice.

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  1. Iam carving fro this right now...looks creamy and yum...

  2. Thanks for dropping by my blog and helping me discover yours. you have a nice space here.Do send me your entry for the event.

  3. Aaah! Ilish! Ami o ebae khub ilish kheyechi .. tobe Gongar noye. :-)
    Darun dekhte hoyechey jhal ta.

  4. Even I do the same, while coming back from Kol to Blore :). Just can't get enough of the fishy smell.
    At home we cook the ilish with begun only, but after going through your post, the next time I get hold of a hilsa, I'll definitely get back some jhinge from the market.

  5. I want some too... Yours looks wonderful....

  6. Dear sayantani
    It has been ages I had Ilish with Jhinge, begun and sorshe..Good reminder..I will try today. I have brought some state of the Ilish from Cal last week.
    You have a fantastic blog site with all my favorite dishes, so no more head ache on " what to cook?? for next few weeks.
    Have a nice week

  7. finally, I found your article again. You have few [url=http://tipswift.com]useful tips[/url] for my school project. This time, I won't forget to bookmark it. :)

  8. Nice brief and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Thanks you as your information.

  9. my hubby is Bengali and i saw him devouring Ilish Mustard curry last month wen we were in Kolkatta. we went to a restaurant near Airport (Bhajohari Ranna) which ppl told us is famous for Authentic Bengali food.

    he ordered Ilish curry in Mustard paste.
    but it didnt have Bringals or potatoes. plus d gravy was a bit thick (as compared to this recipe)

    plz help me.
    is dis recipe a modification? what is exactly d name of the recipe (which i m searching for)?
    i cant ask my husband coz i want to surprise him wid the dish.
    thnx a lot.

  10. @Dear Anon, the recipe you are looking for is called Sorshe Ilish. this dish is an everyday version of the sorshe Ilish. here is the link


    I have many other Hilsa (ilish) recipes in my blog. just serch Hilsa and you will get many more favourite bengali preparations.

    Hope you surprise your husband well. do let me know how it turned out.

  11. thnx Sayantani.
    will search and try out wen he next comes home on leave.


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