Ilish Macher Matha Diye Pui Shak Recipe | Hilsa Fish Head with Malabar Spinach

5 from 1 vote
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Ilish Macher Matha Diye Pui Shak is a traditional Bengali dish that brings together the delectable flavors of Hilsa fish head and Pui Shak, also known as Malabar Spinach.

Hilsa fish, also known as Ilish, is highly prized in Bengali cuisine for its unique taste and texture.

The fish head, known as “matha” in Bengali, is considered a delicacy and is often used to create flavorful dishes.

Check out the easy way to cook Ilish Macher Matha Diye Pui Shak at home.

Ilish Macher Matha Diye Pui Shak

Key Takeaways:

  • Ilish Macher Matha Diye Pui Shak is a traditional Bengali dish that combines Hilsa fish head and Pui Shak (Malabar Spinach).
  • The dish has a rich and savory taste from the tender fish head and an earthy tanginess from Pui Shak.
  • It is seasoned with aromatic spices like turmeric, ginger, garlic, and green chilies, adding depth to the flavors.
  • Ilish Macher Matha Diye Pui Shak is commonly served with steamed rice or bread such as roti or paratha.
  • Alternatives to this dish include variations like Ilish Macher Matha Diye Chorchori, Shorshe Narkel Jhol, Muri Ghonto, and Aloo Potol Posto, which offer different flavors and cooking styles with Hilsa fish head.

The Ingredients:

Ilish Macher Matha Diye Pui Shak Ingredients

  • Hilsa Head: 4 Pieces (cleaned properly)
  • Malabar Spinach: 500 grams (cut and cleaned)
  • Potato 150 grams (peeled, cut and cleaned)
  • Pumpkin 150 grams (peeled, cut and cleaned)
  • Radish 150 grams (peeled, cut and cleaned)
  • Eggplants 150 grams (cut and cleaned)
  • Onion: 1 piece (finely sliced)
  • Panch phoron half tbsp
  • Bay Leaf 3 pieces
  • Dry Red Chilis 3 pieces
  • Turmeric Powder: 1 tbsp
  • Red Chili Powder: 1 tbsp
  • Coriander Powder: 1 tbsp
  • Ginger-Garlic Paste Made with 3 Red Chilis 2 tbsp
  • Mustard Oil 3 tbsp
  • Salt to Taste

How to Cook Ilish Macher Matha Diye Pui Shak (Step by Step Images)?

1. Marinate the hilsa heads with salt and turmeric powder and keep aside for 15-20 minutes.

Marinating the hilsa heads with salt and turmeric powder

2. Pour oil into the wok.

Pouring oil into the wok

3. Slide the hilsa heads one by one into the smoking oil.

Sliding the hilsa heads one by one into the smoking oil.

4. After the heads are fried, take them out on a plate.

Taking fried hilsa heads

5. Fry potatoes and pumpkin in the same pan. Add some salt to the vegetables and continue stirring.

Frying potatoes and pumpkin

6. Take out the half-fried vegetables on a separate plate.

Taking out the half-fried vegetables

7. Add eggplants to the oil. Sprinkle some salt and turmeric powder.

Adding eggplants to the oil

8. Take out the lightly fried eggplants on a plate.

Taking out the lightly fried eggplants

9. Add radish and stir for a few minutes before taking them out on the plate.

Frying radish and taking them out

10. Add some oil to the wok.

Adding some oil to the wok

11. Add bay leaf, dry chilis and panch phoran.

Add bay leaf, dry chilis and panch phoran

12. When they start spluttering, add Malabar spinach stems and sliced onions and cook till they turn light brown. Add some salt. Mix well.

Adding Malabar spinach stems and sliced onions

13. After a few minutes, add ginger-garlic-chili paste and give it a good stir.

Adding ginger-garlic-chili paste and stirring

14. Add turmeric powder, coriander powder and red chili powder. Mix well. Add some water so that the spices are not overcooked.

Adding turmeric powder, coriander powder and red chili powder

15. Add all the lightly fried vegetables and give it a good stir.

Add all the lightly fried vegetables and stirring

16. Cover the wok with a lid.

Covering the wok with a lid

17. When the vegetables are half done, add the fried hilsa heads, water and some salt.

Adding the fried hilsa heads, water and salt

18. Spread the Malabar spinach over the curry in a layer. Spinach will release water and will get cooked in its own juice. Let it cook for a few minutes. (Make sure to add spinach later as doing so will help retain its colour.)

Spreading the Malabar spinach over the curry

19. Cover it with the lid. Let it cook for sometimes. Open the lid and stir lightly.

Opening the lid and stirring lightly

20. Ilish Macher Matha Diye Pui Shak is ready and transfer it to a bowl.

21. Ilish heads are not meaty like ruhi or katla heads. But their taste adds a distinct flavour to the dish. I bet your loved ones will love it a lot. You may even receive a request for making it once again.

Pro Tips for Cooking Ilish Macher Matha Diye Pui Shak

Here are some pro tips to enhance your cooking experience when preparing Ilish Macher Matha Diye Pui Shak:

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Choose fresh ingredients: When cooking fish-based dishes like Ilish Macher Matha Diye Pui Shak, it’s crucial to use fresh fish head and Pui Shak to ensure optimal flavor and texture. Look for fresh Hilsa fish with clear eyes and a shiny skin, and select young and tender Pui Shak leaves for the best results.

Clean and marinate the fish head properly: Thoroughly clean the fish head, removing any scales or impurities. Marinate it with a mixture of turmeric, salt, and a squeeze of lime or lemon juice. Allow it to sit for 15-20 minutes before cooking. This step helps to remove any fishy odor and enhances the taste.

Sauté spices to release their flavors: Before adding the fish head and Pui Shak, take some time to sauté the spices, such as ginger, garlic, and green chilies, in hot oil or ghee. This process helps to release their aromatic flavors and adds depth to the dish.

Adjust spice levels to taste: Bengali cuisine often incorporates a balance of flavors, including subtle spiciness. Adjust the amount of green chilies or red chili powder according to your preference for heat. Taste the dish as you cook and make adjustments to achieve the desired level of spiciness.

Be mindful of cooking time: Hilsa fish head is delicate and can easily overcook. Keep a close eye on the cooking time to prevent the fish head from becoming too soft or falling apart. Simmer it gently until it is just cooked through and retains its texture.

Garnish with fresh herbs (OPTIONAL): Just before serving, garnish the Ilish Macher Matha Diye Pui Shak with fresh coriander leaves or chopped cilantro. This adds a pop of freshness and brightens the flavors of the dish.

With these pro tips in mind, you’re well on your way to creating a delicious and authentic Ilish Macher Matha Diye Pui Shak that will impress your family and friends.

What to Serve with Ilish Macher Matha Diye Pui Shak?

When serving Ilish Macher Matha Diye Pui Shak, you can complement the dish with a variety of accompaniments that enhance the overall dining experience. Here are some traditional and popular options to consider:

Steamed Rice: A classic choice that pairs perfectly with the flavors of Ilish Macher Matha Diye Pui Shak. The fluffy and fragrant steamed rice helps absorb the delicious sauce and balances the richness of the fish head and Pui Shak.

Roti or Paratha: If you prefer bread-based accompaniments, you can serve Ilish Macher Matha Diye Pui Shak with roti (Indian flatbread) or paratha (layered and flaky bread). These bread options provide a satisfying and slightly heavier alternative to rice.

Remember, the choice of accompaniments ultimately depends on your personal preferences and the occasion.

How Does Ilish Macher Matha Diye Pui Shak Taste?

Ilish Macher Matha Diye Pui Shak Taste

Ilish Macher Matha Diye Pui Shak offers a delightful combination of flavors that is characteristic of Bengali cuisine. Here’s how the dish tastes:

Rich and Savory: The Hilsa fish head, or “matha,” brings a rich and savory flavor to the dish. The meat from the fish head is tender and succulent, with a unique taste that is both delicate and robust.

Earthy and Tangy: Pui Shak, also known as Malabar Spinach, adds an earthy and slightly tangy taste to the dish. The leaves of Pui Shak have a mild bitterness and a refreshing flavor that complements the fish head.

Aromatic and Spiced: The dish is seasoned with a blend of aromatic spices, such as turmeric, ginger, garlic, and green chilies. These spices infuse the dish with a warm and aromatic flavor profile, enhancing the overall taste.

Balanced Heat: Bengali cuisine often incorporates subtle spiciness. The dish may have a gentle heat from the green chilies or red chili powder, providing a pleasant warmth without overwhelming the flavors.

Umami and Depth: The combination of the fish head, Pui Shak, and spices creates a depth of flavors with a hint of umami. The dish offers a complex and satisfying taste that evolves with each bite.

Harmonious Blend: The flavors of Ilish Macher Matha Diye Pui Shak blend together harmoniously, creating a well-balanced dish. The richness of the fish head is balanced by the earthy notes of the Pui Shak, resulting in a dish that is both comforting and flavorful.

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Overall, Ilish Macher Matha Diye Pui Shak is known for its unique and distinct taste. The delicate and tender fish head, combined with the refreshing Pui Shak and aromatic spices, creates a memorable dining experience that showcases the richness of Bengali cuisine.

Ilish Macher Matha Diye Pui Shak Alternatives

If you’re looking for alternatives to Ilish Macher Matha Diye Pui Shak, here are a few options that you can explore:

Ilish Macher Matha Diye Chorchori: Chorchori is a popular Bengali mixed vegetable dish. Instead of Pui Shak, you can use a combination of other vegetables like potatoes, eggplants, ridge gourd, and beans, along with the Hilsa fish head. The dish is cooked in a flavorful gravy with spices, and it offers a delicious and hearty alternative to Pui Shak.

Ilish Macher Matha Diye Shorshe Narkel Jhol: Shorshe Narkel Jhol is a traditional Bengali fish curry prepared with a mustard and coconut-based sauce. In this alternative, you can use the Hilsa fish head as the main ingredient and prepare a flavorful curry with mustard paste, coconut milk, and spices. The dish has a creamy and tangy taste that pairs well with steamed rice.

Ilish Macher Matha Diye Muri Ghonto: Muri Ghonto is a traditional Bengali dish that combines fish head with fragrant rice and lentils. In this alternative, you can prepare a flavorful rice and lentil dish by adding the Hilsa fish head along with spices like turmeric, cumin, and garam masala. The dish is cooked slowly to allow the flavors to blend together, resulting in a comforting and aromatic meal.

Ilish Macher Matha Diye Aloo Potol Posto: Aloo Potol Posto is a popular Bengali dish made with pointed gourd (potol), potatoes, and a poppy seed paste (posto). In this alternative, you can include the Hilsa fish head along with the vegetables and prepare a flavorful curry with a creamy poppy seed base. The dish has a nutty and mildly spiced taste that complements the fish head well.

These alternatives provide variations to enjoy the deliciousness of Hilsa fish head while incorporating different flavors and cooking styles. Experiment with these recipes to discover new and exciting ways to savor the Hilsa fish head in Bengali cuisine.

Recipe Card:

Ilish Macher Matha Diye Pui Shak

Ilish Macher Matha Diye Pui Shak

By Mita Mondal
Ilish Macher Matha Diye Pui Shak is a traditional Bengali dish that consists of Hilsa fish head (Ilish Macher Matha) cooked together with Pui Shak (Malabar Spinach).
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Resting time 20 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6
Calories 276 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 pieces Hilsa Head (cleaned properly)
  • 500 grams Malabar Spinach (cut and cleaned)
  • 150 grams Potato (peeled, cut and cleaned)
  • 150 grams Pumpkin (peeled, cut and cleaned)
  • 150 grams Radish (peeled, cut and cleaned)
  • 150 grams Eggplants (peeled, cut and cleaned)
  • 1 piece Onion (finely sliced)
  • ½ tablespoon Panch phoron
  • 3 pieces Bay Leaf
  • 3 pieces Dry Red Chili
  • 1 tablespoon Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Red Chili Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Coriander Powder
  • 2 tablespoons Ginger-Garlic Paste (made with 3 red chilis)
  • 3 tablespoons Mustard Oil
  • Salt to Taste

Instructions
 

  • Marinate the hilsa fish heads with salt and turmeric powder. Set them aside for 15-20 minutes.
  • Heat oil in a wok or pan.
  • Carefully place the marinated fish heads one by one into the hot oil.
  • Fry the fish heads until they are golden and crispy. Then, transfer them to a plate.
  • In the same pan, fry the potatoes and pumpkin. Season them with salt and continue stirring.
  • Once the vegetables are half-fried, remove them from the pan and set them aside on a separate plate.
  • Add the eggplants to the pan with some salt and turmeric powder. Fry them until they are lightly cooked, and then transfer them to a plate.
  • Stir-fry the radish for a few minutes before removing them from the pan and placing them on the plate with the other vegetables.
  • Add some more oil to the pan.
  • Add bay leaf, dry chilies, and panch phoran (a mixture of five spices) to the hot oil.
  • Once the spices start spluttering, add the Malabar spinach stems and sliced onions. Cook until the onions turn light brown. Season with salt and mix well.
  • After a few minutes, add the ginger-garlic-chili paste and stir it in.
  • Add turmeric powder, coriander powder, and red chili powder. Mix the spices well. Add some water to prevent them from burning.
  • Add all the lightly fried vegetables to the pan and give it a good stir to combine.
  • Cover the pan with a lid.
  • When the vegetables are halfway cooked, add the fried hilsa fish heads, water, and salt to the pan.
  • Spread the Malabar spinach leaves over the curry in a layer. The spinach will release water and cook in its own juices. Let it cook for a few minutes. (Adding the spinach later helps retain its vibrant color.)
  • Cover the pan with the lid again and let it cook for some time. Open the lid and stir lightly.
  • Transfer the cooked Ilish Macher Matha Diye Pui Shak to a serving bowl.

Video

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Notes

Here are some recipe notes for preparing Ilish Macher Matha Diye Pui Shak:
Hilsa fish heads: Make sure to choose fresh and high-quality hilsa fish heads for the best flavor. The heads add a rich and distinctive taste to the dish.
Marination: Marinating the hilsa fish heads with salt and turmeric powder helps to enhance the flavor and tenderize the fish. Allow the heads to marinate for 15-20 minutes to ensure they absorb the flavors.
Frying the fish heads: When frying the fish heads, heat the oil properly to ensure they cook evenly and become crispy. Carefully slide them into the hot oil to avoid any splattering.
Vegetable selection: Pui Shak (Malabar spinach) is the key ingredient in this recipe. Choose fresh and tender Pui Shak leaves and stems for the best taste and texture. Other vegetables like potatoes, pumpkin, eggplants, and radish can be added according to personal preference.
Frying the vegetables: While frying the vegetables, maintain the heat at a medium level to ensure they cook thoroughly without becoming too soft or mushy. Season the vegetables with salt during frying to enhance their taste.
Spice selection: The combination of spices like bay leaf, dry chilies, and panch phoran (a blend of five spices) adds a unique flavor to the dish. Adjust the amount of spices according to your preference for heat and flavor.
Adding spinach: Adding the Malabar spinach leaves towards the end of cooking helps to preserve their vibrant green color. The leaves will release water and cook in their own juices, enhancing the overall taste of the dish.
Adjusting seasoning: Taste the curry before serving and adjust the seasoning if needed. Add more salt or spices according to your taste preferences.
Serving: Serve the Ilish Macher Matha Diye Pui Shak hot with steamed rice or roti for a complete meal. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves for added freshness and visual appeal.

Nutrition Info (Estimation Only)

Nutrition Facts
Ilish Macher Matha Diye Pui Shak
Amount per Serving
Calories
 
276
Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
20
g
31
%
Saturated Fat
 
3
g
19
%
Trans Fat
 
0.02
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
7
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
8
g
Cholesterol
 
0.4
mg
0
%
Sodium
 
687
mg
30
%
Potassium
 
995
mg
28
%
Carbohydrates
 
17
g
6
%
Fiber
 
7
g
29
%
 
3
g
3
%
Protein
 
12
g
24
%
Vitamin A
 
8386
IU
168
%
Vitamin C
 
35
mg
42
%
Calcium
 
127
mg
13
%
Iron
 
6
mg
33
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Conclusion

Ilish Macher Matha Diye Pui Shak is a delectable Bengali dish that combines the richness of Hilsa fish head with the earthy flavors of Pui Shak (Malabar Spinach).

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This dish offers a unique taste that is both savory and tangy, with aromatic spices adding depth to the flavors.

It is a delightful and satisfying meal that showcases the rich culinary heritage of Bengal.

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