Sorshe Ilish and an Award (Hilsa in hot Mustard Sauce)

7:49 AM

The last couple of days have been very busy (especially the weekend) with the puja preparations. It’s a customary ritual in all Indian households to clean the house before any big festival. This is not only to welcome the God or Goddess associated with the festival but also for the guests who come over to share the happiness. Along with that I had to go for a little puja shopping for the kid. the little one badly needed some warm clothes to accompany us on the late night pandal hopping. Also when the festivities would be over winter will be knocking at our doors with all its gorgeous colours. So the whole weekend went in a blur with all the scrubbing, wiping, cleaning and washing and left me exhausted (am not done yet). The little bit of shopping was really therapeutic but left my legs desperately looking for a hot soak.

In between all these I received a beautiful award from Kamini. She is one of those bloggers whom I love to visit everyday. Her beautiful cheery space with all its warmth inspires me and I dream of decorating my house like hers. If you haven’t visit her yet then trust me you are missing something.

The idea of this award is you have to spill atleast seven things about you. I have already done this before which you can find out HERE. But there is one more thing that I would like to share. Now a day I don’t know why but I have become very impatient. I cant relax unless I finish the work in hand…be it the craft project, the DIY schemes, the food photography for my blog, whatever I do unless its done I feel tensed. Even these days once I sow the seeds I feel impatient and check everyday wishing it had flowered overnight. Don’t know whom to blame my hectic schedule or the whole day running after the baby but am annoyed all the time.

Now the tagging part. Here I go
Kamalika of Silence Sings
Soma of Ecurry

Let the number be 9, allow me that friends…I am curious to see what they have to say about themselves.

Now to the recipe. This is the most common Hilsa recipe and is cooked most in all Bengali households. I have posted a very lighter version (Hilsa with veggies in a light mustard gravy) of this recipe before and today am posting the dish with all its glory where big chunky Hilsa stakes are cooked in a hot chili and nigella seed flavoured thick mustard gravy. Again Baba managed to send a big fish to us through a friend, Before the Hilsa season is over. This time the fish was not pre fried rather was smeared generously with salt, turmeric and mustard oil. The fish weighed almost 1.5 Kgs and tasted heavenly and this time I dint invite friends to share this (with an evil grin) with us.

Here is the recipe:
Sorshe Ilish
(serves 2)

Hilsa stakes: 4 pieces
Mustard Paste: 2 tbsp
Nigella seeds: 1/3 tsp
Hot Green chilies: 3 (or more as per taste)
mustard oil: 2-3 tbsp+1 tbsp

The Hilsa fish is always washed first and then cut into pieces. This is done so that no aroma is lost. So take the 4 pieces and rub them with salt and turmeric. Keep aside for 10 minutes.

Mix the mustard paste to ¾ cup water and set side.

(to make mustard paste use your mixie or a morter and pestle. Just pour the desired amount of seeds with little water (to cover) and make paste. Don’t over mix or it will turn slight bitter. If using a mixer-grinder you will have to make bigger quantity, say 6-7 tbsp. I generally make that and store the remaining in an airtight container. It stays good for upto 2 weeks)

Heat the mustard oil in a pan or kadhai and lightly fry the fish pieces (1-2 minutes). Drain and keep aside.
In the same oil add the slit green chillies and nigella seeds. Once they splutter carefully pour the mustard mix. Be careful not to add the black husk of the seeds. Add salt and turmeric and let it come to a boil.

Carefully place the Hilsa pieces so that the gravy covers them. Cover with a lid and let it simmer on medium flame.

Turn after 3-4 minutes and let the gravy thicken. Check the seasoning and if needed add more slit green chillies. (here the green chilies I get are not very hot so sometimes I also have to add little red chili powder. If you face the same problem add chili powder but traditionally this is meant to be cooked only with fresh green chilies. This literally brings out the delicate flavour of Hilsa combined with the mustard paste. Alternatively if the chilies are very hot then don’t cut them rather with a heavy knife smash the chilies and add to the gravy. This gives a very good flavour without making it hot).

Once the water is absorbed and you have very thick gravy pour the 1 tsp oil over it. Mix well and serve hot over a bed of steamed white rice.
For a change we enjoyed our meal on banana leaf that day.

A Homemaker's Note:
1. this dish could be cooked with rohu, carp, sardine or any other big fish steaks. in case of other fishes fry them till brown. 

2. Vegetarians can make a similar dish with egg plant and bori (wadi/sundried lentil dumplings). In Bengali this dish is called bori-begune'r jhal.  

Wish you all very happy puja! 

Events: Sending this to DMBLGIT;November'10 at Aparna's My Diverse Kitchen.

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  1. Dear Sayantani,

    Congratulations and hugs for getting the award.

    Hope you are enjoying the puja to the fullest ..... I too am struggling with the cleaning part ... huh !!

    Ilish is my fav and the clicks have left me drooling :) The banana leaf adds to the festivity :)

    Keep Rocking ...... n do post some posts of your pandal hopping .....

    Cheers n Happy Cooking,

  2. Looks very yummy! I like the mustard gravy with fish a lot..the fish looks perfectly done !Happy Puja to you!

  3. sorshe ilisha looks very delicious ..i heard a lot about this authentic dish from my Bengali friends ...last pic is my favorite ..


  4. Congrats on your awards. Fish curry looks delicius.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this award with me Sayantani!! Happy Navrathri to you and your family!!

  6. love all the fish curry you post,they are something different and spl in their own way...delicious with rice...and congrats on your awards sayantani and thanks for tagging me, will surely update in my next post...

  7. Sayantani you are intuitive to give the veg options for this gravy! Got to try. You are having a lot of fun re! Tell me where I can go to a bengali pandal in blr. You are tempting me with your posts. Humm.. so the shopping was fun and I bet you had your fave tea on return:)

  8. Just looking to the fish curry i am drooling here, just give me the curry and a whole heap of plain rice i would be double happy.
    Happy puja...

  9. Congrats dear...
    Superb presentation with fantastic clicks...keep up the good work...:)

    Tasty Appetite

  10. Congrats on the award dear Sayantani :-)

    Hope you are enjoying the puja. I am missing Kolkata...

  11. Congratulations on your award, Sayantani..

    Fish curry looks very delicious n tempting!! Loved all the pictures..Happy Puja to you and your family!!

  12. Much kudos for the awards! The fish looks very traditional. Can you believe it I actually don't like the hilsa at all? but I love the prep and use it for making trout :)

    looks lovely and appetizing

  13. Thanks everyone

    @Satrupa, will surely do that.

    @satya, tanvi, swathi...thanks

    @Suma, sushma, am honored to have shared the award with you. awaiting your turn.

    @Anjali, shopping is always fun and I ended up buying 5 kurtas for myself, so you can guess.
    Puja in Bangalore is not very traditional (my opinion) but still you will get the festive feeling. try Koramangala Puja. small but close by. the biggest one is the Ulsoor Bengali association puja but this year they have shifted to palace ground. dont go there on friday...the crowd would be madenning and parking would be a headache. BTM also have some pujas.
    between let me know where you plan to go, if we happen to plan that place the same day will make plans to meet up. what do you say?

  14. Looks so delicious and making me hungry.....

  15. The presentation is just superb sayantani. Happy Dassehra :)

  16. Congrats on ur awards..

    The fish curry looks delicious..

  17. Congrats dear for the award,wishing you many many more.
    That's an authentic recipe..looks so yum,thanks for sharing

  18. Congrats on the award. What a beautiful dish. You have taken the most perfect pictures. My mom makes the eggplant version as you mentioned in your notes and its a family favorite. Hubby loves it and he just saw your post too so I guess now I have to make it :) Glad your puja preparations are in full swing... make sure you take pictures of all the pandaals and post them all... I'll atleast get to see them through you.
    ALso, thanks for extending the award to me. Really appreciate it. Will post it soon.

    US Masala

  19. Congratulations for getting the award.
    I love the sorisha fish ! Love the banana leaf...

  20. Dear Sayantani,
    Wishing you n your family loads of happiness and love on te occasion of Durga puja...and congrats for ur award.
    Tis sorshe ilish just makes my mouth water, absolutley love the bengali way of preparing fish, specially the mustard used in ur cooking....but ur clicks were just too good...makes me more hungry.

  21. Friday is the last day? Thu is a tight day for me have. However we sure can meet whether puja or no puja!

  22. This post reminds me of the sweet memories that I spend in Calcutta after my wedding:)

  23. that 1st picture just makes me hungry..absolutely love it!

  24. Congrats for ur in hot mustard sauce makes me drool and am hungry now..

  25. woww..snap looks to have it right nw.. :)

  26. Yummy Sayantani. My Mum makes this, but I prefer the Bhapa version. The Kala pata arrangement makes it look so appealing.

  27. Lovely! we veggies definitely have an option of trying with vegetables.

  28. Congratulations on the award..You absolutely deserve it. Sorse Ilish ta daruun dekhte hoyeche..And superb presentation..Happy Pujo :)

  29. Lucky gal.....ilish pachhish khete..ekhaneo paoa jae..kintu taste akdom bhalo na...darun hoechhe presentation.....chhobi gulo darun hoechhe....Ki camera kinechhish???

    congrats on your award and thanks for tagging me.....

  30. very yummy!!! There is a similar type of Assamese recipe with mustard paste!!It tastes good with prawns as well!!

  31. Shorshe ilish dekehe to jibhe jol eshe gelo. Amar bhishon priyo kintu Perth e to pabona tai tomar banano Ilish machh dekhei pet bhorate hobe. Darun baniyechho.
    Happy Durga Puja.

  32. PERFECT Lunch! and very nicely presented too... never tried the mustard paste in a fish curry.... looks like that would give a twist to the curry!

  33. Wish you a Happy Puja too :)COngrats on your awards. The fish curry looks awesome!

  34. hi Sayantani

    pls check out my blog for a surprise...



  35. Congratulations on your award Sayantani. Fish looks so nice! I am jealous of you! Its been ages since I had meal on a banana leaf.

  36. Congrats Sayantani ! Loving your's making me hungry..

  37. Hey Sayantani...meeting up with friends without Me...Just kidding. I'm really very far away..Wow Congratulations on ur much deserved award..Awesome clicks ad beautiful writeup.. I loved reading that ur annoyed all the time..sometimes I feel the same too..Enjoy the festivities and have fun..Ur dish is making me hungry ..I'll try this with eggplant though as my hubby is not into seafood..Take care...

  38. Congratulations on your award and the hilsa is mouthwatering!

  39. Thanks for the award dear. really appreciate it!

  40. What a beautiful dish! really - that is an amazing meal and so generous of you to share with your friends!

  41. your fish recipes are always so enticing! this one again goes on my to-try list. though, i might substitute it with a fish fillet thats more readily available over here. congrats on the award.

  42. Dear Sayantani
    Subho Vijaya
    Na na kaj-e byasto thakar jonno blog e asa hoe ni...
    ese dekhi amar jonno award , Tao tomar moton paka radhuni-r kachh theke , ami dhonno :-)
    Congratulation to you for the award!!!
    I have some very good ilish , was thinking of fermenting it in salt for a month..I love nona Ilish !! But now I will use your recipe ..I forgot to make the simple version. I also have extra hot green chili , so will not add red chili powder...
    Asa Kori pujo darun ketechhe!! Amar didi and dada are having great time in Blore !!
    Now let me see what all recipes I have missed from here
    Bhalo theko.

  43. I don't eat sea food but I will not pass this fish for anything. This is a winner...worth a million bucks.

  44. I can imagine by seeing that how good it would taste!

  45. This is gorgeous and lipsmacking good. Beautifully and traditionally presented.

    Thanks for the award.

  46. lovely blog n wonderful recipes. this is my visit. wish to visit your blog more. do stop by mine when u get time.


  47. Gr8 of my favorites......i used to hate illish as a kid....but of late i have started loving it!! all thanks to my sasu maa!! She prepares a heavenly 'Kaccha illish' curry...abd that has got me addicted.

  48. delicious presentation
    congrats on the award

  49. Hi Sayantani,
    Congratulations on the award, what a lovely place you have here, will be visiting often. I am going to try this recipe out, i love fish, i am from Kerala. Keep up the good work, i love your name too

  50. 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.

  51. @Sunita, Thanks for your comment and appreciating words. The way you cooked fish is called Paturi which is totally different from sorshe ilish. sorshe ilish has to be cooked on stove top. paturi is the dish where fish is steamed in banana leaf with mustard paste and spices. please check this recipe for the full method.
    hope this helps Sunita.

  52. Incredible recipe. I have amazing memories of eating Bengali food. It is my favorite cuisine after Kashmiri ( I am Kashmiri - so that is ?)

    Thank you for comments on my blog. Loved discovering your blog, Sayantani.

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  54. Hey... Love the sound of your recipe.. Will try it out this weekend. Can I use ready made sunrise mustard powder instead of having to grind p mustard seeds? If yes, pls let me know how much.

  55. @Anon. i dont use much of mustard powder so cannot tell you the exact quantity. the times I have used it I found it quite concentrated and strong. So start by using less and gradually increase the quantity after tasting.
    I will staart by using 1.5 tsp (soaked for 10 minutes) for 4 medium pieces.


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