Doi posto begun ilish. A quick Bengali bespoke hilsa fish curry recipe post with no life story to go with it

Doi posto begun ilish

A Bengali mother's kitchen inspired lunch in Mumbai

Doi posto ilish today with some of the remaining ilish (hilsa) that I’d bought from Mumbai's Khar station fish market a couple of weeks back and which was waiting patiently for me in the deep fridge. Poonam, whom I bought it from, said it is ‘Howrah ilish.’ This means it came from Kolkata. Could be from the Irrawaddy for all you know and was a lovely 1.4 kilo one.
I am not too fond of the plain ilish jhol, but inspired by its basic construct, did add some begun (aubergine) to today’s dish and it worked well.

With some red rice. Perfect on a rainy day



My recipe:

  • Heat a tablespoon of mustard oil
  • Shallow fry salt, turmeric and red chilli powder smeared ilish and sliced begun pieces. 
  • Move this to the side of the wok, add a teaspoon of mustard oil and then a slit green chilli and panch phoron (whole Bengali/ Odiya/ Assamese/ Bihari 5 spice) and then gentle integrate it with the fish and begun.
  • Add a small bowl of dahi, ground posto (poppy seeds) beaten together with a couple of tablespoons of water (I used what was there in the pack of dahi), salt, cumin and red chilli powder together, to the wok and cover the fish with it.
  • Cook on a low flame for a minute or two. Turn the fish around and cook for a minute or so and you are down. 
  • Add some fresh coriander at the end of you so wish. My mother adds it to ilish. 

The sauce was thick and flavourful and complemented the fish well.

Aided by some Rajput wisdom


With chef Akshraj Jodha at the end of the dinner at the ITC Maurya. In the bowl
is a delectable Rajasthani khichda of goat meat slow cooked with jowar/ sorghum millets,
whole ginger, green chillies and dahi. Akshraj's forefather's had founded Jodhpur (hence Jodha)


I used the tip that chef Akshraj Jodha gave me at his Rajasthani pop up dinner at the ITC Maurya the other night. ‘Mix the masala into the dahi, beat it and then add it to the pan and it won’t split.’ A problem I usually face when cooking with dahi. 

These Rajasthanis know a thing or two about cooking with dahi after all!

Comments