If its Ilish Maachh, you are bound to over eat. Yes, that's exactly the case with me. I have had my share of breakfast, lunch and dinner, all in the form of my Ilish Maachh platter,some time back. So I knew I had to pen this down, even though I am reeling in and out of Ilish Maachh induced Food Coma.

No matter what time of the year it is, one of the easiest the ways to a true Bong's heart, is through a plate of hot steamed rice and Shorshe Bata Ilish. The decadent mustard sauce, in which the Ilish is slowly cooked has everyone salivating,at all times.

I wanted to introduce my daughter to this quintessential Bengali taste. As long as I tackled the bones,and kept a tab on my favorite level of heat, I was confident she would love it as much her parents did. And it was a success. The one and half year old, picked on the white fish slowly at first,and then tucked away,forgetting all about the steamed rice on her tray. Mommy surely did the Happy Dance all round the kitchen and living room.

My Mom and Grandmom had been puritans when it came to cooking fish. Ff the Fish was not as Fresh,  as they liked, they would lightly Fry it, or saute it, before cooking it in the Curry. SNatlano, as its called in Bengali.Since I was introducing the toddler to Ilish Maachh(which was from the frozen Aisle in the Bangladeshi store), I decided to Flash Fry the fish pieces,before coooking them in the rich mustard gravy. However,when I had first posted pictures of this batch of Shorshe Bata Ilish, I received the flak, from many. How could I fry my Ilish Maach, in a predominantly Bhapa Preparation. And I went on to explain,Mommy's idea of SNatlano to them. So I decided to not call my dish, Bhapa Ilish, but simply call it Shorshe Bata Ilish: Hilsa in Mustard Sauce


Hilsa/Ilish Maach : 1 Medium sized Fish, cut into Bengali style steaks. Scales Removed
Turmeric Powder: 2 tsp plus 1 tsp
Salt: To taste
Mustard Oil: 4 tbsp
Mustard Paste: 2 tbsp
Sugar: 1 tsp
Red Chilli Powder: 1 tsp(according to heat preferences)
Shredded Coconut: 1 tbsp
Yogurt: 2 tbsp

 Pat the fish prices dry with a clean paper towel and smear them with salt and turmeric powder. Leave them aside for around ten minutes.

In a non stick pan, add the mustard oil and heat it. When the oil is hot enough, gently place in the fish and lightly saute them or flash fry them. You could skip this step, if the fish you are using is fresh. We don't have that luxury.

Remove from heat and keep aside.

Meanwhile make a paste of turmeric powder, mustard oil, mustard paste, salt, sugar, shredded coconut ,red chili powder and yogurt.

Add a dash of water and dunk the sautéed Fish pieces in it. Add Green Chilies slit longitudinally.

You could steam this in a steel tiffin box in a Pressure Cooker or you could bake it in a Pre heated oven at 350F for around 15 to 20 minutes,depending on how thickly the fish steaks are cut.

Serve hot with steamed Basmati Rice.

Bon Appetit !!!

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