Bhapa Ilish (Steamed Hilsa)

Hilsa fish or Ilishh Machh steamed in a paste of mustard, poppy seeds, yogurt and green chilli with a slight hint of garlic is given the beautiful name ‘bhapa illish’. It is a Bengali’s paradise…try it !!! 


  • Hilsa Fish – 6 pcs
  • Mustard Paste – 1 tbsp
  • Chilli Paste – 2 chillies ( or more, if you wish)
  • Poppy seed Paste – 1 tsp
  • Garlic Paste – 1/2 tsp
  • Yogurt – 2 tbsp
  • Salt and Turmeric – as per taste
  • Mustard Oil – 2-3 tbsp

Mix all of the masala paste along with yogurt, salt and turmeric. Pour a generous amount of Mustard oil into it. Mustard oil is a key ingredient to this recipe and it is a must.

Marinate the fish pieces with the mixture. Keep the fishes aside for 2-3 hours. If you want to have extra curry then add more water.

Pour the marinated fish in a microwave safe bowl, put on the lid and microwave it on high for 5-6 minutes. You may have to adjust the timing based on your microwave capacity.

If you smell the rich aroma of hilsha fish floating on mustard then you’ll come to know why I have mentioned it as bengali’s paradise.  .