6 Best Hilsa Fish Recipes with Onions

Hilsa, also known as Ilish, is renowned for its tender flesh, bony structure, and rich flavor, particularly in India, making it a highly sought-after delicacy.

One way to enhance its flavors is by incorporating onions into the recipes. The caramelized flavor of onions complements the irresistible and distinct flavors of Hilsa.

From luscious curries to pan-fried preparations, the recipes of Hilsa fish with onions are highly delectable, infused with harmonious ingredients that tantalize your taste buds.

Let us dive deep into this blog to explore some mouth-watering Ilish dishes like Ilish-Panikhola, Ilish Bhorta, Barishali Ilish, Ilish Korma, Piyaj Ilish, and Badshahi Ilish.

Key Takeaways:

  • Aromatic Hilsa with sweet onions makes a harmonious combination that tantalizes the taste buds.
  • Ilish, the queen of all fish when amalgamated with onions and mawa, becomes royal – Badshahi Ilish.
  • Each region has its own culinary expertise on Ilish recipes. Barishali Ilish is just one example.
  • Simple Ilish Bhorta, or smashed Ilish, also tastes good with fermented rice or steamed rice and is the easiest of all recipes.
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The 6 Best Hilsa Fish Recipes with Onions

Best Hilsa Fish Recipes with Onions

1. Ilish Panikhola


Ilish Panikhola (Ilish Stew) is an irresistible combination of sweet onions and aromatic Hilsa.

This delectable Bengali dish combines the rich flavors of Hilsa, which is pan-fried to perfection after being marinated with red chili powder, turmeric, and salt.

You can feel the enchanting aroma of the Ilish fish and the nice flavors of thinly sautéed onions used in the preparation.

The combination of caramelized onions with tender Hilsa will definitely amaze your taste buds.

2. Ilish Bhorta

Ilish Bhorta

Ilish Bhorta is a traditional and unique Bangladeshi fish recipe.

This dish is made with grilled, fried, or steamed Ilish, mashed together with sliced onions and dried red chili to a fine paste. Salt is added as per taste.

You can serve this recipe with steamed or fermented rice.

The hot red chili, sweet onions, and aromatic Ilish make a mouthwatering combination.

3. Barishali Ilish

Barishali Ilish

This recipe originated from Barisal – a major city in Bangladesh.

This is a nice and delectable Ilish dish where onion is added to make a nice gravy along with mustard paste and grated coconut.

The regular spices like red chili powder, coriander, cumin, and turmeric are added to complete the medley.

The twist in this recipe remains in gently simmering the fish into the gravy except the tail or lyaja.

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This flavorful onion gravy, along with the sweet taste of coconut and the strong aroma of mustard, enhances the flavors of the fish and infuses them all together.

Thus, it becomes a highly delectable dish, perfectly in combination with fine grain rice.

4. Ilish Korma

Ilish Korma

Ilish korma is a highly indulgent and creamy dish cooked in an onion and ginger-garlic gravy.

The use of aromatic spices like cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom, along with the hilsa fish, makes it out of this world.

You can shallow fry the fish or simmer the marinated fish in the rich gravy of aromatic spices.

The fish is cooked nicely, and all the flavors get infused into the fish. The creamy and exquisite taste of the fish makes the recipe royal.

5. Piyaj Ilish

Piyaj Ilish

Onion and hilsa make a wonderful combination.

Though there are many Bengalis who may differ from this mindset, when thinly sliced onions are fried until light brown and a runny curry is made from them, the taste becomes heavenly and unique.

The aromatic Ilish creates a wonderful harmony with the flavors of onion and regular spices.

This light dish highlights the natural goodness of Hilsa fish and sweet onions.

6. Badshahi Ilish

Badshahi Ilish

Badshahi Ilish or Shahi Doodh Ilish is a royal fish dish prepared with onion paste and mawa.

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The marinated fish is sautéed and then set aside.

A white sauce or gravy is prepared with onion paste, whole garam masala, and mawa (dry milk cream).

Once the gravy is ready, the fish is simmered in it.

As the name suggests, Badshahi Ilish gravy simply tastes most delectable, rich, and highly flavorful, fit for kings.


Hilsa fish with onions offers a delightful delicacy with a delightful twist. The incorporation of onions provides natural sweetness to the entire recipe, which complements the flavorful and delicate fish.

The royal flavors of Badshahi Ilish, the creamy indulgence of Ilish Korma, and the savory and crispy Ilish-Panikhola showcase the versatility in enchanting the dish.

This otherworldly combination transforms the simple Bhorta into heavenly Barishali Ilish. Each of these recipes will tantalize your taste buds to the fullest.

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