ilish bhapa

Ilish Bhapa Recipe : Eat to your hearts content!

ilish bhapa
Ilish Bhapa: Eat to your hearts content!

With the first drop of rains in Eastern India the kitchen and the food platter of Bengalis gets brightened up with a silver lining. Yes, that silver lining is Ilish , the silvered colored fish which Bengalis can die for . Today I decided to make Ilish bhapa. OK ! Before I go to the standard recipe let me make some romance with the king of fish.

Hilsa or Ilish was introduced by “Bangal” (people from Bangladesh) , within a due course of time it made its place in the food plates of “Ghoti” (people originating in West Bengal) as well, so says the history!

The clouds , the paddy fields , the full to the brim rivers , the lingering rainfalls somehow matches with the royalty of Ilish . Well , when the fisherman takes his boat and fishing net into the river during Monsoons he and his wife pray to the God “Let me have a good catch today” . A part of that good catch is Hilsa .  

Now that was the fisherman …but what about us who wait for this rainy season , who wish to have Ilish in the weekend  lunch , then watch a Satyajit Ray , a Mrinal Sen or a Rituporno movie (we are intellectuals you see  😛 !! )  and have a delicious slumber .

Nothing can beat the taste of Ilish Bhapa (Steamed Ilish), a recipe served with Steamed rice . In Eastern India famous  Ilish recipes are steamed  (Ilish Bhapa), fried (Ilish Bhaja), steamed  in young plantain leaves (Ilish Paturi), prepared with mustard seed paste, curd, etc.

Green Chilli , Mustard oil and kalonji seeds  are the most important ingredients for a Bengali style ilish recipe . While making Ilish bhapa it is good if we can have the fish weighing minimum 1 Kg (and cut into ring pieces as shown in picture ).

Here are the ingredients for Steamed Hilsa / Ilish Bhapa Recipe .

Ilish Bhapa
All you need to make Ilish Bhapa

Hilsa fish ring pieces – 800 gm

Black and Yellow Mustard Seeds (Mixed) – 4 Teaspoon

Poppy Seeds – 1 Teaspoon

Scraped Coconut – 5 Tablespoon

Yogurt – 5 Tablespoon

Mustard Oil – 5 Tablespoon

Turmeric – 2 Teaspoon

Green Chilli – 3-4 (as much hot you want)

Salt – As per taste

Water – ½ glass


1 .Make the paste of the poppy seeds at first in a blender .

2. Now to it add the Mustard Seeds  , add 2 Tablespoon yogurt to it , grind together to form a smooth paste .

ilish Bhapa
Your mustered seeds are soon going to turn into a smooth mustered paste.
ilish bhapa
mustered paste ready

3. Now to the same paste add the scraped coconut, 3-4 Green Chillis and add the rest of the yogurt (you may add small quantity of water if necessary)  . Blend together .

ilish bhapa

Gravy masala is ready

4. Your Gravy Masala is ready .

5. Now in a Steel Covered Box pour the masala. Add salt, turmeric, slit Green Chillis , Mustard oil . Mix them.

6. Add the fish pieces.

Almost getting done.

7. Cover the box.

8. Add water in a Pressure cooker till water level is ½ inch high. Let it shimmer.

9. Place the covered box on the water (be careful not to burn your hand).

Final stage
  1. Close the lid of the cooker (without the Pressure Whistle)
  2. Cook in low flame for 20 minutes.
  3. Turn off the burner. Let it cool. Now take out easily from the cooker and enjoy with steamed white rice.
Ilish bhapa
A true Ilish (hilsa) lovers delight!

I am Chingri(Prawn), If you like Ilish(hilsa) you might like to try me as well 😀

Have a wonderful Ilish Bhapa Weekend!

3 thoughts on “Ilish Bhapa Recipe : Eat to your hearts content!

  1. Today, I went to the beach front with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had to tell someone!

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