Steamed Hilsha Fish – BHAPA ILISH  

This is a popular traditional Bengali dish called Bhapa Ilish or Steamed Hilsha. This is the most common Hilsa recipe and is cooked in almost all Bengali households. This preparation tastes best with fresh Hilsa. However, you can also try this with fresh Shad fish which is available in North America and has a taste close to Hilsa.

Serving Size: 2 people

Cooking Time: 60 mins


  • 6 pieces of Hilsa fish
  • 2 tsp Black Mustard Seeds
  • 2 tsp Yellow Mustard Seeds
  • Paste of 4 Green chillies
  • Quarter cup of Shredded Coconut
  • Quarter cup of Coconut Milk
  • Few slited Green chillies
  • Half a tsp of Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • Mustard oil
  • Salt to taste

Cooking Procedure:

  1. First season the fish with little bit of salt and turmeric powder.
  2. Now make a paste of cumin seeds and mustard seeds and also add a little bit of salt to prevent the bitterness.
  3. Then in a bowl then add all the paste: mustard paste, green chillies paste, shredded coconut, coconut milk, turmeric powder, salt and a little bit of water. Mix everything well.
  4. Then in a steel tiffin box arrange the fish first and then add the above paste, slit green chillies, and sprinkle with mustard oil. Then close the tiffin box.
  5. Preheat the oven  500 degree F and put this on the middle rack and bake it for about 45 mins.
  6. Bhapa Hilsa is now done.

Serving Suggestion:

Enjoy Bhapa Ilish or steamed Hilsa with hot steamed rice. It took me about an hour to prepare this dish and serves 2 people.

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