Bhapa Ilish or Steamed Hilsa Fish

  • Lunch
  • Servings
  • 3Spicy
  • 30 MinsCook Time
  • Cuisine : Bengali
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Hilsa Fish is a signature dish of the Bengalis from Bangladesh. It is fondly named “Bhapa illish” due to the steaming process involved in cooking this authentic Bengali dish. This dish is best enjoyed with steamed rice.


  • 5-7 pieces of Hilsa Fish
  • 4 tablespoons of Mustard Oil
  • 3 tablespoons of Grated Fresh Coconut
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of Khus Khus (soaked in lukewarm water for 15 minutes and made into a paste)
  • 4 teaspoons of Black Mustard seeds Paste (soaked in lukewarm water for ½ hour)
  • 4 tablespoons of Sour Curd
  • 4-5 Slit Green Chillies
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon of Red Chilli Powder
  • Salt to taste


Kadai, Spoon

Step By Step Method

  • Step 1

    Rub a little salt and turmeric powder all over the fish and keep aside for 10 minutes.

    Step 2

    In a bowl mix together 3 tablespoons of mustard oil, mustard paste, khus khus paste, grated coconut, red chilli powder, remaining turmeric powder and adjust the salt.

    Step 3

    Add a cup of water to the mixture and stir it up nicely.

    Step 4

    Take a wide stainless steel tiffin box which can accommodate the fish pieces.

    Step 5

    Pour ⅓ rd of the marinade into the box with 2 slit green chillies.

    Step 5

    Place the fish pieces over the poured mixture.

    Step 6

    Now pour the remaining marinade over the fish, remaining slit green chillies and the mustard oil. Secure the lid of the box tightly.

    Step 7

    You can steam this in a vessel for 25 minutes on medium flame or pressure cook it for 2-3 whistles in a pressure cooker or cook in a microwave in a steaming process.

    Step 8

    In the microwave, you could pour 3-4 cups of water in a large microwave-proof vessel, place a microwave proof tight container with the fish in, within the large vessel.

    Step 9

    Microwave this for 5 minutes on high temperature and at 40% of the temperature for further 25 minutes.

    Step 10

    Once the steam has escaped, open the lid of the tiffin box and you will find your fish all tender and invite. Relish this Bengali delicacy with hot steamed rice.

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