Ilish Bhate

Can’t find an equivalent English name for this dish. You can faintly term it as Ilish Pulao, but for a true Bengali, the ‘Ilish Bhate’ is the most appropriate name. It is a one pot meal where aromatic gobindobhog rice is slow cooked with ilish machh and some masalas. In the process, fishes are cooked in steam and remain very juicy and soft. 


  • Hilsa fish – 4 pieces
  • Gobindabhog rice – 1 cup
  • Green chilli – as per taste
  • Kalojire / kalonji seeds – 1 tsp
  • salt
  • turmeric
  • Cumin powder – a pinch
  • Mustard oil

Marinade the fish with salt, turmeric and cumin powder for 15 minutes. Wash the rice and keep aside.


Heat mustard oil in a pan, then fry the fishes for 30 seconds each side. Keep aside.


In the same oil add kalonji seeds with slitted green chilli, let it splutter.


Next add the rice. Fry for 4-5 minutes. Then add salt and turmeric and mix well. Fry till the rice becomes white and opaque.


Add a cup of hot water and cook with the lid on. When rice is 80% done, remove the lid and add the fried fish carefully.


Cover the fishes with rice from the sides and cook again with the lid on. Sprinkle some water, if required.


Cook till the rice is cooked through and water is evaporated completely. Keep covered for 10 minutes. Serve hot.