Ilish or hilsa, the king of fish, can be cooked in numerous ways. Just fry it (Ilish bhaja) and serve with a plate of steamed rice. Just enough for a satisfied tummy! Or just it can be cooked with a little kalo jeera or onion seed (Kalojeera Ilish) for a simple tasty meal. Now if you really want to cook something different and elegant, surely you must try this Ilish bhapa or steamed hilsa recipe from bengali cuisine. It’s cooked or rather steamed in a paste of mustard seeds or shorshe, poppy seeds or posto and curd. Simple method yet so flavorful in taste. Have it with plate of steamed rice for lunch and you would know what is a life with ‘ good food’!
Preparation time for Ilish bhapa or steamed hilsa recipe: 2 hours (Trick: If you are in a hurry, just soak the mustard seeds and poppy seeds for 15 minutes. But of course, the longer you wait, sweeter shall be the fruit 🙂 )
Cooking time for Ilish bhapa or steamed hilsa recipe: 20 – 25 minutes
Ingredients for Ilish bhapa or steamed hilsa recipe cooked for 3 people :
1. Hilsa or Ilish – 3 pieces
2. Yellow mustard seeds or shorshe or rai- 4 tsp
3. Black mustard seeds or shorshe or rai – 2 tsp
4. Posto or poppy seeds or khus khus – 2 tsp
5. Salt – 1 tsp
6. 1/2 cup beaten curd
7. 1 tbsp mustard oil
8. 2 green chilly
9. Turmeric powder
Ilish bhapa or steamed hilsa recipe – The method:
- Soak the mustard seeds or shorshe or rai in water, with salt, green chilly, 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder and 1/2 tsp of mustard oil for 2 hours at least and make a smooth paste of it
- Soak poppy seeds or khus khus or posto in water for about 2 hours and then make a fine paste of it
- Beat curd
- Marinate the hilsa fish pieces with a little turmeric and salt for 15 minutes at least
- In Ilish bhapa, you do not have to fry the Hilsa or Ilish. But I find it a bit raw to eat. Do not know why 🙁 . So, for people like me, just take a frying pan and put a little mustard oil, place the ilish on the pan and fry each sides for 10-15 seconds gently. That way, the rawness disappears and the fish remains uncooked as well 😉
- Now, coming to the next part, take a stainless steel tiffin box with lid. Check if that goes inside a pressure cooker
- In a mixing bowl, put the mustard paste, poppy paste and beaten curd. Add salt to taste. Remember, you have already marinated the fish with salt, also soaked mustard seeds with salt. So just add more salt wisely. Mix the pastes together
- Now, put half of the paste in the tiffin box and spread
- Now, put the fish pieces (Raw or fried)
- Again, put another layer of the mustard paste on the fish
- Add 1 or 2 tsp of mustard oil
- Close the lid of the box tightly
- Pour 2 – 3 cups of water inside the pressure cooker and then put the tiffin box carefully inside the pressure cooker. Close the lid of the cooker and switch on the flame
- Cook for about 10 minutes on flame or 3 – 4 long whistles of the cooker. Switch off the flame, thereafter. Let it rest for about 10-15 minutes
Open lid and take out the tiffin box carefully. Open the lid of the tiffin box and wow!!!!!! Even a strong pungent aroma of mustard seed spreads around!!!!! Plate the Ilish bhapa with steamed rice and serve. Enjoy the feast 🙂
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Snapshot of Ilish bhapa or steamed hilsa recipe: