Smoked To Tawa Fry- Celebrate Hilsa With These Recipes
Image Credit: Smoked Hilsa_JW Marriott Kolkata

Monsoon is here and Bongs cant keep as it is the season the culinary delight called Hilsa. Fondly known as Illish or also called the "King of Fish," Hilsa is celebrated for its delectable taste and unique flavour that comes alive during the monsoon. This silver-scaled delicacy holds a special place in the hearts of many, and its arrival during this season brings a sense of joy and anticipation like no other. The aroma of the freshly caught Hilsa fills the air and it’s a treasure trove to get the right catch home.

What sets Hilsa apart is its rich and distinct flavor profile. The meat is succulent, tender, and has a natural oiliness that gives it a luxurious texture. When cooked to perfection, the Hilsa fish melts in your mouth, leaving a lingering taste that is both satisfying and unforgettable.

One of the most beloved ways to prepare Hilsa is through the traditional Bengali dish, "Ilish Bhapa" That sees a harmonious fusion of flavours and the other being "Ilish Maachher Jhol," where the Hilsa is cooked in a light, soupy curry with potatoes, eggplants, and a delicate blend of spices

The joy of eating Hilsa during the monsoon is not limited to its delectable taste alone; it also brings people together. However, this beloved fish is also a delicacy that requires conservation efforts. 

But having said that this delicate delicacy can’t be overlooked as Chef Prakash Chettiyar, Director of Culinary, JW Marriott Kolkata, JW Marriott Kolkata and Chef Arabinda Seth, Executive Chef at Fairfield by Marriott Kolkata have shared two of their classic favourite recipes. 

Smoked Hilsa - Chef Prakash Chettiyar, Director of Culinary, JW Marriott Kolkata


-    4-6 fresh Hilsa fish, cleaned and gutted

-    2 tablespoons mustard oil

-    1 tablespoon turmeric powder

-    1 tablespoon red chili powder

-    1 tablespoon salt (or as per taste)

-    2 tablespoons mustard paste

-    2 tablespoons poppy seed paste

-    2 tablespoons yogurt

-    2 tablespoons lemon juice

-    Banana leaves or aluminum foil (for wrapping)

-    Charcoal for smoking


    Make deep diagonal cuts on both sides of the Hilsa fish. This will help the marinade

    penetrate the fish and also help in the smoking process.

    In a bowl, mix together mustard oil, turmeric powder, red chili powder, and salt to form a


    Apply the marinade evenly on both sides of the fish, making sure to coat the cuts as well.

    Allow the fish to marinate for at least 30 minutes.

    In another bowl, mix together mustard paste, poppy seed paste, yogurt, and lemon juice to

    make a thick paste.

    Apply this paste on both sides of the marinated fish, ensuring it covers the cuts and the

    entire surface.

    Wrap the marinated fish individually in banana leaves or aluminum foil, making a tight

    packet. This will help retain the flavors during the smoking process.

    Heat charcoal until it turns red hot. You can do this on a stove or in a separate barbecue


    Place the wrapped fish packets on a wire mesh or grill rack. Arrange the hot charcoal on top

    of the packets, ensuring it is evenly distributed.

    Cover the entire setup with a large lid or aluminum foil to trap the smoke.

    Allow the fish to smoke for about 20-25 minutes, or until it is cooked through and has a

    smoky aroma.

    Carefully remove the fish packets from the smoking setup and let them cool slightly.

    Unwrap the packets and transfer the smoked Hilsa to a serving platter.

    Serve the Smoked Hilsa hot with steamed rice and a side of mustard sauce or green chili


Tawa Ilish - Chef Arabinda Seth, Executive Chef at Fairfield by Marriott Kolkata


    Hilsa Fish – 3

    Mustard Oil - 4 to 5 tblspn

For Marination:

    Chilli Powder - 1 tblspn

    Kashmiri Chilli Powder - 2 tblspn

    Turmeric Powder - 1 tsp

    Coriander Powder - 1.5 tblspn

    Pepper Powder - 2 tsp

    Ginger Garlic Paste - 1 tblspn

    Garam Masala Powder - 1 tsp

    Lemon Juice - 1 tblspn


    Clean fish pieces, make deep slashes in it.

    Mix all the ingredients for marination and add very little water and make it into a thick paste.

    Apply masala all over the fish, deep into the slits and slashes.

    Leave this to marinate for 30 mins.

    Heat oil in a pan, place fish over it. Cover it and cook on a medium low heat for 5 to mins. Now flip over and cook on high heat for 5 more mins. Now the fish is done.