Bhaap Eelish aka Steamed Hilsa gets even healthier

The first bhaapa eelish or Steamed Hilsa reciped that I had downloaded from the net included mustard oil and fresh cream.

I tried it first without oil and then substituted fresh cream with skimmed milk. It turned out quite well and got healthier as a recipe.

Then inspired by my experiment with eelish posto the other day I decided to try to make a bhapa eelish with pro- biotic curd. This experiment was a success and the result was quite delicious, no compromise on the taste, no tanginess and fish, healthy probiotic curd, can be made in a jiffy and no oil. How healthy can ecstasy get?


  • Grind 2 teaspoons of whole mustard sees, 4 green chillies, 1 teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon salt and 3 tablespoons of curd together
  • Marinate 4 slices of hilsa in this for half and hour

  • Put it in a steel container and let it float in a sauce pan of boiling to simmering water for 20 minutes

  • Open carefully as the lid will be very hot
  • Have this exotic, healthy and easy to make Bengali work of art with steamed rice.

Note: I bought my hilsa, the river water favourite of Bengalis, from Pushpa's mom at the Khar Market in Mumbai for Rs 250 (5 USD) a kilo. It tasted much better and fresher than what they served in the Oh Calcutta Hilsa festival. Apparently eelish in Calcutta is retailing for Rs 2000 (40 USD) a kg. Can't stomach that.


Wow - yum... You made that ? Looks professionally done...
Sharmila said…
No oil sounds good .. but ektu kancha shorsher tel hole bhalo hoto na? Just kidding. :-)
I usually bake the ilish .. have posted it too. I got it for 400/- a kilo here.
Sudeshna said…
You can even put it in the micriwave, have a look at this -
Kalyan Karmakar said…
Somoo: you always flatter me so much :) Love to see your comments. Is Hilsa as famous amongst Oriyas?

Sharmila... nothing like a dollop of oil or ghee to liven up a dish. I was a probashi (non resident) Bengali before and after my Calcutta stint so never took to mustard oil. Do you bake it in an oven.

Sudeshna ... thanks for posting the link. Microwaving is a much more hassle free option. i wonder though whether it will steam as evenly. Ilish is so expensive that I feel very nervous to experiment :)
Miri said…
There was a whole article in the Mint last month about how Hilsa is becoming more and more endangered so much so some restaurants in Calcutta have cancelled their Hilsa Festivals.

I love this dish - tasted it for the first time at my friend's place and then had it at the oh Calcutta here in Delhi - loved it.

Your version looks like it would beat any hotel version silly!
Kalyan Karmakar said…
Miri, thanks for the praise, i am a sucker for it.

Hats off to your friend for exposing you to ilish and to your liking it. It is an acquired experience.

Honestly, I never offer it to non Bebgali friends, relatives when I am treating them to Bong food
Rai said…
It's not 2000 but closing on to 1000, you get good ones at about 700--800, at Lake Market, but there is a strong opinion doing the rounds about sparing the 'khoka ilish'