Nearly everyone who likes fish is familiar with Hilsa. The prized fish, according to some, is this one. The oppressive Sultan Muhammad bin Tughlaq is said to have fallen victim to Hilsa's temptation as well. Because the fish is so fatty, it has a unique flavour, aroma, and texture. Omega-3 fatty acids are abundant in the good-for-you fish fat. Similar to bacon, the oil that drips from the fish when it is being fried in mustard oil is prized for its flavour. The young fish of the Hilsa species spawn in freshwater and travel downstream into the ocean for several months. The adults then swim several kilometres upstream to go back to freshwater where they can lay eggs. These adults who have survived the sea are the sought-after catch. 

Also read: Why Hilsa Holds A Strong Cultural Significance For Bengalis

We present some of the popular hilsa recipes for you to relish this season 

Ilish Bhapa 

Ingredients: Hilsa: 5-6 pieces, Poppy seeds: 4-5 tablespoons, Yellow mustard seeds: 2 tablespoons, Black mustard seeds: ½ tablespoon, Green chillies: 6-7, Lemon juice: ½ teaspoon, Turmeric powder- ½ teaspoon, Salt, Sugar, Mustard oil.  

Method: Make a smooth paste by soaking both kinds of poppy seeds and mustard seeds for ten to fifteen minutes with two green peppers, lemon juice, a teaspoon of salt, and sugar. Use salt and turmeric powder to season fish. Place the fish pieces in a tiffin box that has been greased with mustard oil. the paste of the spices. Ensure that the paste is thick and completely envelops all the pieces. Add a couple green chilies that have been cut in half and some mustard oil. On a medium flame, steam for 15 minutes. Check the seasoning and fish tenderness. When the fish is finished cooking, drizzle some mustard oil and serve hot with rice. 

Ilisher Begun Diye Jhol 

Ingredients: Hilsa: 5-6 pieces, Brinjal: 1 (cut into medium pieces), Ridge gourd: 1 (cut into medium pieces), Green chillies: 6-7, Nigella seeds: 1 teaspoon,Turmeric powder: 1 tablespoon, Red chilli powder: 1 teaspoon, Cumin powder: 1 teaspoon, Mustard oil, Salt. 

Method: Use salt and turmeric powder to season fish. You can choose to shallow fried the fish. Slices of brinjal should be lightly fried and set aside. Mustard oil should be heated well in a kadhai. Temper the spices by adding nigella seeds and a few split green chilies. Add cumin powder and cook for two to three minutes. Seasonings should be mixed thoroughly with the water before adding water and bringing to a full boil on a low to medium temperature. Cover after adding the fish pieces. In a low to medium temperature, cook the brinjal and ridge gourd for 5-7 minutes. Add the green chilies after cooking for an additional 3–4 minutes. Check the vegetables, seafood, and seasoning. Serve hot rice with some mustard oil. Check the vegetables, seafood, and seasoning. Serve hot rice with some mustard oil. 

Ilish Paturi 

Ingredients: Hilsa fish: 5-6 pieces, Coconut-yellow mustard seed-poppy seed paste -green chilli: Half cup, Banana leaves: 3 large (to be on the safe side), Green chillies: 7-8, Turmeric powder: 1 teaspoon, Salt, Sugar, Mustard oil.  

Method: Use salt and turmeric powder to marinate the fish. Combine the spice paste, some mustard oil, salt, sugar, and turmeric powder to form a paste. At this point, check the seasoning. Cut the banana leaves into pieces that are big enough to wrap and bind from both sides. On a nonstick pan, lightly roast the banana leaves without using any grease. Each piece of banana leaf should have a dollop of spice paste on it. To uniformly cover the fish, add one hilsa piece and another serving of spice paste. Add some mustard oil and a green chilli that has been cut open. Wrap all around, then secure with a string. On a medium temperature, steam the wraps for 15 to 20 minutes in a box. Alternatively, lightly fried them in a nonstick skillet. Create a tiny gap in one of the paturis, then check it’s tenderness. Serve hot with rice. 

Shorshe Bata Diye Ilisher Jhal 

Ingredients: Hilsa fish: 6 pieces, Yellow mustard paste: 1 and ½ tablespoon, Nigella seeds: ½ teaspoon, Green chillies: 3-4, Coconut milk: ½ cup, Turmeric powder: 1 tablespoon, Salt, Mustard oil. 

Method: Fish should be marinated in salt and turmeric powder. Heat the mustard oil in a kadhai. Set the temperate after adding the nigella seed and the sliced green chilies. Cook thoroughly until the raw aroma of the spice mixture is gone and little oil residue can be visible on the surface after adding the mustard paste, turmeric powder, green chilies, and a pinch of salt. For around 5-7 minutes on a low to medium flame, add the coconut milk and then add the fish pieces. Cook for another 5-7 minutes, taste, and serve steaming hot. 

Ilish Shukto 

Ingredients: Hilsa: 6 pieces, Bitter gourd: 1 (cut into medium strips), Raw banana: 1(cut into medium strips), Raw papaya: 7-8 pieces peeled and cut into thick medium strips, Eggplant: 1 (cut into medium strips), Sweet potatoes: 1 (cut into medium strips), Potatoes: 2 (cut into medium strips), Drumsticks: 2 (cut into medium strips), Green chillies: 3-4, Panchphoron: 1 teaspoon, Radhuni: ½  teaspoon, Radhuni paste: ½ teaspoon, Bay leaf: 2 small, Ginger-green chilli paste: 1 and ½ tablespoon, Yellow mustard paste: 1 and ½ tablespoon, Poppy seeds paste: 2 and ½ tablespoon, Milk: Half cup, Turmeric powder: 1 tablespoon, Salt, Sugar, Ghee, Mustard oil.  

Method: All vegetables (apart from green peppers) should be sautéed until browned. The fish should be salted and dusted with turmeric powder before being shallow-fried till light golden. Put aside. Add mustard oil, bay leaves, panchphoron, radhuni, more of the same oil, a pinch of turmeric powder, and stir to combine the ingredients. The ginger-green chilli paste will then be added. After thoroughly cooking, add the mustard paste. After two to three minutes, add the poppy seeds. Mix thoroughly, then simmer for three to five minutes on a low to medium temperature. Add the seasonings, then the milk and one and a half cups of water. Vegetables are added one at a time. Keep in mind to add vegetables that require extra cooking time last, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, and unripe bananas. When the potatoes are almost done, add the softer vegetables. Add the fish, cover the pan, and simmer for 5-7 minutes on a low heat. Add the green chilies, then taste for seasoning. After adding, boil the radhuni paste for 2 to 3 minutes. Serve hot after adding some ghee. 

To prevent bitterness, always mix mustard with a pinch of salt and a few drops of lime juice. Some fish recipes call for salt to balance the flavour, while others don't. If you like, feel free to add a pinch.