Ilish Bhapa

Recipe 21: Ilish Bhapa (Steamed Hilsa Fish)

SaffronStays Xanadu, Alibaug

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21 days, 21 Home Chefs share their secret recipes…

Ilish Bhapa or Steamed Hilsa Fish is a delightful Bengali dish which looks extremely elegant and honestly is super easy to make. Here’s our in-house chef Sukhchandji of SaffronStays Xanadu, Alibaug sharing his go-to recipe with us from his treasured diary. 


(For Marination)

  • 500 gm ilish fish or (mackerel/ pomfret)
  • 50 gm yellow mustard seeds
  • 5-6 green chillies (as per preference)
  • Ginger
  • 6 tsp mustard oil
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt

(For Curry)

  • 2 tsp mustard oil
  • ½ tsp black fennel seed (kalonji)
  • ½ cup water


  1. In a blender, grind yellow mustard seeds, green chillies, and a small piece of ginger to form a fine paste. 
  2. Marinate the cleaned fish with freshly grounded mustard paste, mustard oil, turmeric powder, salt and set aside for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Heat mustard oil in a pan, add black fennel seeds (kalonji) and let them pop for few seconds. 
  4. Add the marinated fish and water. Allow the gravy to boil for a minute.
  5. Cover the pan with a lid and let the gravy simmer on a slow flame for 10-12 minutes.
  6. Garnish the gravy with slit chillies and coriander. Serve hot with steamed rice.   

Read more: If you’ve missed our Chicken Popti.

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