How to make Bhapa Ilish -

Most favoured Bengali fish curry – hilsa fish steamed with mustard paste.

Sanjeev Kapoor

This is a Sanjeev Kapoor exclusive recipe.

Main Ingredients : Hilsa (ilish) (हिलसा (इलीश)), Salt (नमक)

Cuisine : Bengali

Course : Main Course Seafood

Bhapa Ilish

Bhapa Ilish Recipe Card


The Bengalis are great food lovers and take pride in their cuisine.  In fact so obsessed are they about food, that the man of the house goes to the market daily to buy a fresh supply vegetables and fish which is a must in their daily menu.  The medium of cooking is mustard oil which adds its own pungency.  Another very important item of Bengali cuisine is the variety of sweets or mishti as they call them.  Most of them are milk based and are prepared from chhena.
A meal, for the Bengali, is a ritual in itself.  Bengalis spend not only the great deal of time thinking about the food but also on its preparation and eating. 

Prep Time : 6-10 minutes

Cook time : 16-20 minutes

Serve : 4

Level Of Cooking : Easy

Taste : Spicy

Ingredients for Bhapa Ilish Recipe

  • Hilsa (ilish) fish, cut into darnes 2-3

  • Salt to taste

  • Turmeric powder 1 teaspoon

  • Juice of ½ lemon

  • Green chillies 2

  • Ginger 1 inch

  • Black mustard seeds (radhuni) 2 tablespoons

  • Yellow mustard seeds 2 tablespoons

  • Mustard oil 1 tablespoon

  • Banana leaf as required


Step 1

Take fish darnes in a bowl. Add salt, ½ teaspoon turmeric powder and lemon juice and rub well. Set aside.

Step 2

To prepare paste, grind together green chillies, ginger, black mustard, yellow mustard, remaining turmeric powder and salt alongwith some water to make a smooth paste.

Step 3

Put some prepared paste over the fish mixture and mix well. Add mustard oil and mix again.

Step 4

Heat some water in a non-stick pan. Place a glass steamer in it and heat.

Step 5

Take a banana leaf, place each prepared fish darnein it and wrap it. Place them in the steamer and steam for 10 minutes.

Step 6

Serve hot.

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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.