Bengalis very own Ilish Machh er jhal is here for this season. It is monsoon in bengal now and who can ignore the call for this season’s favourite ilish machh er jhal. Yes, we Bengalis, love our ilish machh and there are various ways we enjoy it for the full season. May be in the form of a bhapa, or some sorshe ilish or doi ilish, the list is endless. We also have a plain ilish machh er jhol recipe where it is only the magic of fresh green chilli and kalo jire or nigella seeds that gives you the true taste of ilish. Sometimes we add vegetables to this light stew like curry of our choice and one of our favorite veggie in this case is Kumro or pumpkin.
When I was cooking this dish, my initial thought was to make that light curry with pumpkin. Then thought to add some sorshe bata or mustard paste and it becomes a hit in my family. Needless to say, you must have it with plain rice, to get the flavour of your ilish.
Let us jump into the recipe now.
Ingredients for Ilish machh er jhal:
- Ilish Machh / Hilsa Fish – 6 pieces
- Pumpkin – 1 quarter, thickly sliced
- Mustard paste – 2 tbsp
- Green Chilli
- Salt, Turmeric
- Kalo Jire / Nigella Seed – a pinch
- Mustard oil
How to make Ilish er jhal
Add some salt and turmeric to the fish pieces. I am told that we must not wash the hilsa fish too much to avoid the loss of flavor. Heat some mustard oil and fry the fish pieces very lightly. Remove from heat and keep aside.
In the same pan, add some more mustard oil, Then add slit green chilli and nigella seed. after 30 seconds, add the pumpkin pieces. Fry for 3-4 minutes over high heat after adding a pinch of salt and turmeric.
When the pumpkins have started browning, add 1and 1/2 cup of water. Let it start boiling. Boil for 2 minutes and then add the mustard paste . Mix well.
Add the fried fish and cook for 5 more minutes over low heat.
Adjust the seasoning. Add some fresh green chili at the end and switch off the heat. Serve with plain rice.