Hello my dear friends and fellows!

Welcome back to my space Dish Of Delight once again. For us Bengalis, Ilish or Hilsa herring is an iconic fish. Ilish is the first preferred fish for most of the Bengali people. Today I am sharing a very common preparation of this fish in a Bengali kitchen.

So lets start with the recipe for preparing Shorshe Ilish.


Ilish/Hilsa herring fish 800 gram, cut into pieces such that each piece is about 100 gram weight

Green chilies 5 or 6

Mustard seeds 2 tbsp

Posto/khuskhus/poppy seeds 1 and ½ tbsp

Cumin powder ½ tsp

Kashmiri red chili powder ½ tsp

Turmeric powder 1 + ½ tsp

Black cumin seed/ kalonji/ kalo jeere ½ tsp

Salt as per taste

Mustard oil 2 + 1 + ½ tbsp


  • Wash clean the pieces of fish and marinate these with 1 tsp each of turmeric powder and salt
  • Soak the mustard seeds and poppy seeds together in 3 to 4 tbsp of warm water for about 15 to 20 minutes and the grind it to a smooth paste along with 2 green chilies and salt as per taste. Do not strain out the soaking water. The paste should be of creamy texture and not runny.
  • In a small bowl take the remaining turmeric powder, cumin powder and red chili powder. Add about 1 tbsp of water and mix well and keep ready
  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan or kadhai at high heat. Let the oil get smoking hot
  • Once heated, gently add the pieces of fish and fry these from both sides just for few seconds, until it turns light golden colour from both sides. Do not overcrowd pieces while frying, rather fry the pieces in batches.
  • Once fried, take out the fish pieces and keep aside, and reduce the flames to minimum
  • In the same kadhai, add 1 tbsp oil and let it get heated for a minute
  • Add the black cumin seeds and saute for few seconds and then, add the turmeric, cumin, red chili powder mixture and stir and roast the spice mix for about 15 to 20 seconds
  • Then add the mustard, poppy seed paste and mix well with the other spices. Keep roasting all the spices for a minute or until oil starts separating from the spices and then add 3/4th cup of water and mix well. Increase the flames to maximum and bring it to a boil
  • Once the gravy starts boiling, reduce the flames to medium low and cover and cook for 3 to 5 minutes
  • Then open cover and add the pieces of fish and again cover and cook for 2 minutes
  • Open cover and flip the pieces of fish. Slit the remaining green chillies and add these to the gravy. Cover and cook for 1 more minute
  • Finally open cover, spread the remaining oil on top of the gravy and switch off the flames
  • Allow it to rest for 5 minutes covered and then serve.
  • Serve Shorshe Ilish with plain rice or pulao and enjoy with your family and friends.

*This preparation is only done using mustard oil.

*After frying the fish if the oil gets burnt, replace it with fresh mustard oil rather than adding fresh oil to the burnt oil.