8 Best Hilsa Fish (Ilish Mach) Recipes 

Hilsa fish (Ilish mach)– the queen of all fishes. There are so many traditional and authentic Bengali fish curries that are simply eyeing the top-listed recipes of the world.

You can check that each of the Hilsa recipes is simply a masterpiece of its own. We are presenting the best Hilsa fish (Ilish Mach) recipes here.

Almost all the recipes like Ilish Maach Bhaja, Shorshe Ilish, Ilish Paturi, Steamed Ilish, etc are served on the best occasions like annaprasan (rice ceremony), marriage, etc. 

Key Takeaways

  • Ilish or Hilsa fish can be prepared with anything as the taste and aroma of the fish are already delicious.
  • There are so many authentic Hilsa recipes like Shorshe Ilish, Ilish Bhapa, Hilsa Fish Curry, Ilish Paturi, etc.
  • All the Ilish recipes are the best of their kind. These recipes are very easy to make and irresistible to eat.

The 8 Best Hilsa Fish (Ilish Mach) Recipes

Best Ilish Recipes

Ilish Mach or Hilsa fish has countless recipes. One can make anything out of hilsa.

The aroma of this fish does not need any sort of effort to improvise it more.

Even the simple fry of hilsa can blow your mind away. Ilish Paturi, Ilish Bhapa, Shorshe Ilish, and Ilish Beguner Jhol are some of the very popular and signature dishes that are presented as the finest recipes of all.

Let us dig in for some more details about the best Hilsa (Ilish Mach) recipes.

1. Shorshe Ilish (Mustard Hilsa Fish)

Shorshe Ilish (Mustard Hilsa Fish)

One of the classic examples of an Ilish recipe is “Shorshe Ilish” – Hilsa Fish in Spicy Mustard Sauce.

This is a Bangladeshi recipe that is prepared with green chilis, mustard oil, and fine mustard paste.

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Few things you must know about this mustard paste: this is the main ingredient of the whole dish and it needs to be submerged in the water for a few hours.

You can use both black and yellow mustard seeds. To make the texture creamier you can add Posto or poppy seeds.

Whereas to enhance the spiciness of the mustard you can add little salt while grinding everything.

Once the paste is ready, just shallow fry the fish and dip the fish into the mustard sauce that is tempered with mustard seeds and then garnish it with green chilis.

2. Ilish Bhapa (Steamed Hilsa)

Ilish Bhapa (Steamed Hilsa)

Ilish Bhapa which is also known as Shorshe Ilish Bhapa or Steamed Hilsa.

This is an authentic and signature Ilish dish from Bengal.

The juicy and sweet coconut paste, along with spicy mustard paste mixed with curd (doi) form a wonderful and perfect sauce that is used to steam the fish.

You do not need much time to make this polished and creamy paste.

You must take the entire paste and fill it in a container (like a round steel tiffin box) and steam it on a pan or a steamer.

Make sure you add green chilis and some mustard oil over the preparation before closing the box.

After 15 to 25 mins you can open the box and get thrilled with the rich taste, creamy flavor, and beautiful dish.

3. Hilsa Fish Curry

Hilsa Fish Curry

Ilish Macher Jhol or Hilsa Fish Curry is a runny and light Bengali curry dish.

“Kalo Jeera Ar Kancha Lanka Diye Ilish Macher Jhol” is almost every Bengali Ilish lover’s favorite signature dish.

The whole dish is cooked with turmeric, green chilis, and a little bit of salt. The aroma of the Ilish fish does the rest.

First, you need to shallow fry the fish. Then a light runny curry of green chilis, nigella seeds, and turmeric is made.

The fish are added to the runny curry when the water starts simmering. You can simply garnish with raw mustard oil or nothing.

The aroma of the fish and the simplicity of the curry will take your heart away.

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4. Ilish Paturi (Hilsa Steamed in Banana Leaf)

Ilish Paturi (Hilsa Steamed in Banana Leaf)

One of the signature Bangladeshi dishes that is rejoiced by all the Bengalis of India and Bangladesh is Ilish Paturi (Hilsa Steamed in Banana Leaf).

This recipe is prepared with mustard paste inside the banana plant leaf.

The classic Ilish Paturi is a preparation that needs banana leaves, mustard paste with coconut and mustard seeds, salt, green chilis, and fresh Hilsa fish.

Small pockets of banana leaves are made where the hilsa fish smeared with the mustard sauce is placed.

Then it is placed in the steamer or it can be fried with a little bit of oil. You can do this in two processes as you like.

When you open the pockets, the aroma of the mustard sauce and the hilsa will be irresistible.

Even the neighbours will knock on your door for a small bite.

5. Ilish Maach Bhaja (Hilsa Fish Fry)

Ilish Maach Bhaja (Hilsa Fish Fry)

Hilsa is a fish that is best known for its irresistible aroma. When the Ilish starts cooking even the locals have their tongue watery.

This is one of the fish that can be cooked minimally as it oozes out its oil too and almost all the preparations for fish need minimal ingredients.

Apart from the price this fish is a minimalist fish that fulfills itself with its heavenly taste.

One such simple preparation of Ilish is “Ilish Mach Bhaja” or Hilsa Fish Fry.

You can deep fry this fish otherwise use minimal oil to fry this fish with a little bit of nigella seeds and some chilis.

The taste will be enhanced. The fried fish along with the oil is served with steamed rice which makes it a godly dish for all fish lovers.

6. Ilish Beguner Jhol (Hilsa Fish and Eggplant Curry)

Ilish Beguner Jhol (Hilsa Fish and Eggplant Curry)

Ilish is the boniest fish of all time but everyone praises it for its aroma and delicious taste. Ilish Beguner Jhol – Hilsa fish and eggplant curry is simply an authentic and classic dish to be served with steamed rice.

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This makes the steamed rice pleasurable and mind-blowing. With a few nigella seeds, eggplant, and some green chilis this curry is being made.

The sloshy eggplants with regular spices and aromatic Ilish make a lovely Ilish dish that can compete with any other Ilish recipes out there.

7. Hilsa (Ilish) Pulao

Hilsa (Ilish) Pulao

Ilish pulao is a highly fragrant dish which combines both the Hilsa fish along with fine-grain pulao.

The pulao is an authentic rice dish that is prepared by steaming along with some aromatic spices.

The fish is also cooked along with the rice. The flavors of the rice and spices along with the fish make it a wonderful delicacy.

The fish is coated with ginger-garlic paste, curd, cumin, turmeric, sugar, and salt.

On the other hand, the pulao is being prepared to set the preparation.

The rice is added and it is fried with all the spices. Later the fish is also added along with it and then all together the whole preparation is put to steam.

When it is done, you just don’t need anything to make it more enigmatic.

8. Ilish er Tel Jhal (Spicy Hilsa Fish Curry)

Ilish er Tel Jhal (Spicy Hilsa Fish Curry)

The Ilish er Tel Jhal is a spicy curry that is prepared with the oozing oil from the fish itself.

The gravy is prepared with turmeric powder, red chili powder, cumin powder, salt, chilis, and kalonji seeds.

A spicy gravy is normally prepared though the spiciness generally developed with the green chilis.

This spicy gravy is prepared with this aromatic Hilsa fish that is best served with steamed rice.


Hilsa Fish is really a queen of all fishes which can be best served with steamed rice, pulao and even fermented rice (panta bhaat).

The irresistible taste of ilish mach bhaja, shorshe ilish or even ilish paturi are something which will never be out of your mind especially when you think of some best ilish or Hilsa fish dishes from Bengal.

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