Steamed Hilsa Recipe (Bhapa Sorshey Elish)


By Prerana Sharma,
Best steamed hilsa recipe

Oh, so today I’m in a very good mood coz i had steamed hilsa fish this afternoon. This is again one of a very important recipe in West Bengal. In marriage ceremonies, or any good occasion, this recipe will be definitely prepared for guests. In Bengal, ilish is smoked, fried, steamed, baked, prepared with mustard seed paste, curd, and in many other ways. Ilish requires just few drops of oil as fish itself is oily.. Here in this recipe I have not used single drop of oil 🙂 so perfectly healthy 🙂

Hilsa fish recipe

Facts of Hilsa (ilish mach) Fish –

  1. lish is rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Experiments have shown it decreases cholesterol level.
  2. Omega 3 fatty acids are also known as beauty nutrientJ
  3. In many Bengali pujas two Ilish fishes (ie., Ilish couple) are bought , like on Saraswati Puja (The Goddess of Learning and Beauty), which takes place in the beginning of Spring. I know you all girls will take it in a lil weird way that how come we mix non-veg with pujas? But fact is without putting Hilsa fish’s “Bhog” to the Goddess, the Puja is sometimes thought to be incomplete.

Lets make the Steamed Hilsa in Mustard Sauce gravy now..

Step 1. My mom used to grind mustard in tradional sil-batta for this recipe. But there is a special technique in grinding the mustard, if anything goes wrong, mustard will turn kadwa (bitter) and spoil the recipe! Don’t be scared, I too didn’t want to take that risk, so for girls like me, ready-made mustard powder is available in market. 🙂


Hilsa Recipe

So here, to make 4peices of fish, I have taken 2 spoon full of mustard powder in a bowl and add half spoon of salt (or as per your taste add salt). Add half a cup of water and make a fine paste.

Keep this paste for about 30min as it is. I don’t know why this has to be done but it was written on the mustard powder packet and I dutifully followed it 😛

Hilsa Fish Curry


Step 2. Marinate the fish pieces in a little salt and turmeric (note that salt shouldn’t be used too much for marinating as salt is already been added in the mustard paste).keep 10min.

Step 3. Now put the fish pieces in the mustard paste and coat them properly. Plz note the bowl which you are going to make the paste and finally steam the fish in it, the bowl’s lid should be tight, otherwise it may open up during steaming process.

Recipe Of Hilsa Fish

Step 4. Now comes the main process of steaming. Take a deep bottom pan, place the katori / bowl containing the fish pieces coated with mustard sauce.

Setp 5. slowly pour water from the side of the pan. )Don’t put water over the bowl by mistake).

Step 6. I kept a heavy stone (small stone of my sil-batta) on the top of the bowl so that when the water will boil, bowl will be fixed in its place. You also keep a heavy item on top of the bowl and cover the lid of the pan.

The steam generated from the pan will steam cook the hilsa pieces. Do’t be scared of any raw smell of Hilsa, the flavor of mustard paste will dominate this dish..

Steamed recipe

Step 7. Steamed Hilsa in mustard sauce (bhapa sorshey ilish) is ready. Serve it with white rice to enjoy its real taste..

Hilsa Shad

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  1. That is actually good! I also am almost veg. I eat non-veg once in 2-3 months.. Recently I went to Urban Tadka for the Biryani festival, I had chicken biryani there & fell ill the next day. Realized my body is now adapted to ghass – phoos 🙁

    • it is actually kind of stomach don feel bloated now and i feel more healthy 🙂

      though temptation is always there:P

    • Hi Tanz, :-)) chicken is actually complex protein which takes lots of time to digest….moreover, bahar ka khana 😕 😕
      but hilsa fish is ok once a month , its got omega-3 fatty acids which needs no explanation, you r a beauty diva…u must be knowing :yes: :yes:

      • Actually I also cook veg dishes too…twice a week we give rest to our bowel system and have veg lunch & dinner with curd, sada khana and all…but to share in wiseshe I thought to include those dishes which is known my few people only 😛

      • Actually I also cook veg dishes…twice a week we give rest to our bowel system and have veg lunch & dinner with curd, sada khana and all…but to share in wiseshe I thought to include those dishes which is known my few people only 😛

  2. mine was opposite shalini..i was a total vegetarian and got married in a non veggi u r now a total veggie??

  3. Fishh…i like fish….i like chicken….i like non-vegetarian…beech main 3 saal veggie ban gaye thee…now toh i’m on a proper mixed diet 🙂 Anu/Maha – I have to literally blackmail my bf about him being so picky choosy about vegetables…he eats non veg 5 out of 7 days !! I wish my kids are like ME in their food habits.. everything in moderation

    • yes yes it can be coked in pressure cooker too in the same procedure, cooking time will be 10min once cooker starts “maroing seeti” put the flame low.
      but a strict caution to make is the bowl in which you will place the fish should have tight lid othewise chances are there due to pressure it will open on its own and spill everything :pain:
      water level should be till half of the bowl from below :-))


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