Indian food recipes: Ilish Bhapa
By Nandini Bhushan
Bengal is known for its rich art and culture but at the same is looked upon as a pilgrimage for food lovers. Bengali cuisine offers a perfect blend of vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian food. The secret of the flavoursome cuisine is the unique blend of sweets and spices that gives it a distinct taste. Let us bring together a few of the popular Bengali dishes.
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Hilsa or ilish is one of the most favoured fish that is every Bengali’s pride and signature dish. The soft and buttery fish tastes best in the classic bhapa style where hilsa is marinated with pungent mustard, yoghurt and coconut paste and then steamed to perfection. Ilish Bhapa is one of the most popular preparations served with plain steamed rice.
(Serving for 2 people)
Ilish: 500 gms
Mustard seed: 1 tsp
Poppy seed: ¾ tsp
Grated coconut: 3 tsp
Curd: 1 tsp
Turmeric powder: 1 tsp
Green chilli: 6
Mustard oil: 2 tsp
Salt as required
Marinate the fish with turmeric powder and salt and keep it aside.
In a mixing jar blend soaked mustard seed, poppy seed, grated coconut, four green chilies, curd, salt and a tsp of water and make a smooth paste.
Marinate the fish with the prepared masala. Add a tsp of mustard oil and let it marinate for about fifteen minutes.
Take a large steel tiffin box and gradually place the fish pieces along with the marinade. Finally, add the remaining oil and slit the green chilli and close the lid of the box.
Steam for about 15 to 20 minutes. Switch off the flame but do not open the lid for another ten minutes and let it rest.
Open the lid and serve the bhapa ilish with piping hot steamed rice.