Ilish or Hilsa is one of the most popular food items in South Asian countries and Middle east. This species of fish belongs to the Herring, in the Clupeidae family. This fish gained its status as the national Fish of Bangladesh on 6th August 2017.(India). Ilish is not only a icon of a country and a star food item, but it is a pride possession of the Bengali cuisine.
Hilsa or Ilish is currently facing extinction due to over fishing. Initiatives are taken to prevent this by a lot of groups. From October till March is the breeding season of this fish. It is advisable to avoid consumption of this fish during these months. As it can effect the natural process of reproduction of this beautifully flavourful fish. Meanwhile, monsoon months are ideal for consuming Ilish.
There is no dearth of Ilish preparations, infect Ilish plays an important role in the Bengali cuisine. But one of the most popular dishes that grabs my attention is Paturi or Fish cooked in Banana leaves.
Ilish Paturi is one of the most flavourful preparations among all the fish items I have tried living in Bengal. The pungent taste of mustard seeds and the soft oily texture of the Hilsa makes it a star dish of every Bengali household. However, this simple looking dish requires much attention and patience to master it. It took me three attempts to learns the skills and make a perfect Ilish macher Paturi. But I must admit everything is worth when comes to the taste.
Therefore, let me try to take you through step by step How to make an Ilish Macher Paturi (My Version).
Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes.
Cook time: 30-40 minutes.
- Hilsa or Ilish sliced 1 k.g. (I am making only two portions of this, otherwise it will serve 4-6 people in a k.g.)
- Banana leaves 4
- Mustard 1-2 teaspoon soaked
- turmeric powder
- red chilli powder
- green chilli
- Mustard oil 3-4 cup
- coconut 2-3 slices
- garlic cloves pealed 3-4
- Salt to taste
Grind the soaked mustard seeds along with the garlic and coconut slices and make a paste out of it. The past must be thick in texture and not runny. Mix chilli powder, turmeric powder and a little bit of salt and keep it aside.
Cut each banana leaves into half and gently run over a low flame burner to make it a little soft. After that apply a bit of mustard oil on the leaves and place it on a flat surface.
Place a slice of fish on the leaf and cote it with the past generously. The fish must be covered with the past as it will help in making the fish cook to perfection loaded with flavours. Add a green chilli and pour a little mustard oil over it. Fold the leaf and make a parcel out of it. Secure the parcel with a tooth pick so that it does not leak.
Place the parcel on a pre boiled steamer and cook it till the leaves start changing colour. The Paturi will approximately take a 20-30 minutes to get ready. After that take it out from the steamer and serve it with hot steem rice.
Simple isn’t it? Yet very flavourful. I know many of you must have had Paturi in so many restaurants and some of you must have cooked it at home. still felt like sharing a very common dish that marks itself as a delicacy. So when the monsoon comes don’t forget to eat lots of Ilish. Also try this recipe and let me know what you think.
See you next time with another such interesting recipe.