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Hilsha Curry: A Popular Bengali Recipe

Updated on October 25, 2015

Hilsa (or Ilish, as is the popular name among the Bengalis) is one of the most popular fishes in Bengal. It had itself created a genera of Bengali cooking and had added to the richness of Bengali cuisine. Hilsa is also honored as the National Fish of Bangladesh and also acquires an integral part in the cultural arena of Eastern India, especially West Bengal, Tripura and some parts of Assam.

Hilsa is a marine-water fish and is best harvested in the monsoons when they migrate upstream for breeding. In other words, monsoons and Hilsa are the two synonyms for Bengal. It is an oily fish and contains essential omega-3 fatty acids and is a major source of proteins in Bengali foods. It is a source of great delight to have Hilsa curry cooked in the households of Bengal in this part of a year.

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 35 min
Yields: Serves for 4


  • 500 gm Hilsha fish
  • 1 tsp Black cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp White mustard seeds
  • 4 to 5 Green chillies, slit at the base
  • 2 tbsp Mustard oil
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Cut the Hilsha pieces into thin pieces and smear with salt and1 tsp of turmeric powder and keep aside for 15 mins.
  2. Lightly fry the Hilsha pieces till golden brown and keep aside.
  3. Make a paste of white mustard seeds and slit green chillies and keep aside.
  4. In a fry pan, heat 2 tsp of mustard oil till it smokes.
  5. Add 1 tsp of black cumin seeds and wait for them to crackle.
  6. Then add 1 tsp of turmeric powder and add 2 cups of water and let the water to boil and simmer till it reduces to half.
  7. Add the fried Hilsha pieces and the mustard paste and cook for 5 mins in a low flame.
  8. Add salt to taste and remove from flame.
  9. The Hilsha curry is ready to be served with steamed rice.
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Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 250 g
Calories 210
Calories from Fat18
% Daily Value *
Fat 2 g3%
Carbohydrates 0 g
Sugar 0 g
Fiber 0 g
Protein 44 g88%
Cholesterol 145 mg48%
Sodium 202 mg8%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.


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    • profile image

      Rajesh 2 years ago

      awesome dish ...i tried it out

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 2 years ago from Germany

      This sounds delicious. I love fish but have not tried in this kind of cooking. Thanks for sharing the recipe