01 September 2008 Society cuisine: hilsa

The Last Ilish Curry

Smoked, baked, steamed, and now scuppered: Bengal's rivers are cleaned out of their hilsas
Sandipan Chatterjee
A year ago, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attempted to win over Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya to his side on the nuke deal and invited him for dinner to his 7, Race Course Road residence. Joymallya Banerjee, chef de cuisine of the restaurant Oh! Calcutta, was invited to prepare the dishes and 'Bhapa Ilish' was one of them. Here's Banerjee's recipe:
  • Hilsa fillet 2 pcs; lime juice 35 ml; salt to taste; mustard paste 60 gm; green chilli paste 25 gm; turmeric 5 gm; sour curd 25 gm; mustard oil 35 ml; banana leaves 4-5 pcs.
  • Apply 1/2 of the salt and lime juice to the fish fillets and keep for 15 minutes.
  • In a stainless steel or glass mixing bowl, prepare a marinade by combining all the ingredients except banana leaves.
  • Apply the marinade generously over the hilsa fillets. Wrap each fillet in banana leaves and steam for 20 minutes
  • When the fillets cool, make long slits along the lateral line of the fish and take the bones out with the tip of a sharp knife. Reassemble the fish once all the bones are taken out.
  • Re-wrap the fillet in banana leaf, steam for another 5-8 minutes and serve with hot rice.

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