April 20, 2010

Narkoler Dhudh Diye Ilish Machh/ Hilsa Fish With Coconut Milk

 Ilish machh or Hilsa Fish has its own taste and because of that taste we Bengalis die for it. Despite of the excessive bones in the flesh we are ready to spend what ever time is needed to devour the fish. When it comes to cook Ilish or Hilsa fish my family restricted their taste withing the Bhapa Ilish or Shorse Ilish. They will not go for anything else. I love this unusual way of making the Ilish or Hilsa fish. A bit offbeat dish that I treasure as a heirloom recipe. So one day I make this dish for them and they really enjoyed it. So one more Hilsa recipe entered to my regular menu. 
                                Being a staunch Brahmin at my maternal grandparents' house, Garlic, Onion, Chicken and Chicken Egg were totally restricted at my Grandfather's house. They only used to eat Mutton and the duck eggs. So you can imagine that all the non-veg dishes used to get cooked without the flavour of garlic and onion. For me I really dare to try. Now this Narkoler Dhudh Diye Ilish Machh or Hilsa Fish With Coconut Milk, my grandmother used to make with out onion. It was just about flavouring Coconut milk gravy by tempering with Garam Masala and ending up with a dash of ghee to make the flavour of the dish more aromatic. That taste was so heavenly that we all cousin brothers and sisters keep on licking the last drop of the gravy on the plate and would ask for more and more to have. I still think that she had magic in her hand and the power to make anything tasty by just touching it. 
                                       My father's house belongs to the liberal Brahmin family where they eat chicken onion garlic eggs meat. So to tickle my father father's taste bud (who loves to eat rich and spicy but not hot dishes) my mother introduced onion to this dish to make a bit more enriched in taste. I once tried making this dish without onion. But it didn't taste like the one my Grandmother used to make. So I too continued to make the dish with onion. So enjoy the recipe given below and let me know how much you liked it. 

Ilish/Hilsa fish- 4 blocks
Coconut milk – Out of one small size coconut or the ready made coconut milk 200ml + 1/4 cup water (See Notes - How to make coconut milk).
Onion- 1 small (Optional)
Garam Masala (Whole) - 2 of each (Cardamom, Clove & Cinnamon)
Bay Leaves- 2-3
Mustard oil- 2 tbsp
Turmeric powder- ½ + ½ tsp
Red chili powder - 1/4 tspn (optional)
Salt as per taste
Sugar (optional - See notes #Tips2)
Green Chilli-2-3
Ghee- 1/4 tbspn

1. Season the Ilish /Hilsa Fish with pinch of salt and 1/2 tspn turmeric powder.
2. Grate or grind the onion.
3. Heat the oil and shallow fry the both sides of the fish blocks and reserve.
4. In the same oil add the garam masala and bay leaves. Wait to splutter. Add the onion. Fry till the onion turns brown. Add the light coconut milk first. Add turmeric powder, Red chili powder and salt. (If using the ready made coconut milk see notes #Tips1)
5. Stir nicely. Let the milk boil, and then add the fish. 
6. Boil till as much thick consistency you want. If required then you can add water for more gravy.
7. Just before taking off the stove add the Thick coconut milk. Cook for a minute. Then add green chilies and ghee. Serve with rice or pulav/polao.
How to make coconut milk -
1. Scrape out the coconut flesh out using a coconut scraper.
2. Keep semi hot water ready by your side.
3. Now take bowl and squeeze out as much milk you can by using a muslin/ cheese cloth or by hand. I would like to suggest to use a muslin/ cheese cloth, because it is quick.
4.. Now sprinkle hot water on the squeezed coconut. Make sure that it is moist enough. But don't make it too soggy. 
5. Now take a separate bowl and take out the light milk out of the coconut. Repeat this for 2 to 3 times.
6. Hence your Thick and light coconut milk is ready.

1. If using ready made coconut milk then take half of the milk and mix it in 1/4 cup warm water. Use this light milk first and the at end the remaining thick coconut milk.
2. Taste the coconut milk, if it is not sweet then add a bit sugar in the curry.

I am sending this recipe to Priya's Cooking With Seeds - Cardamom Seeds Event.

PS. I have updated the post with new set of photos that I clicked on 15th August'2015 at Kolkata. Attaching the old set of photos here. Looks like I have improved a bit in Food photography.


Priya Suresh said...

Slurppp!!!!makes me drool...mouthwatering dish..

Ushnish Ghosh said...

Dear Kamalika
Believe me , I am going to break all Bong style trdsaitional cooking and try this dish , this week end in Milan..every thing is in stock..But if I leave for India this weekend then on Monday for lunch sure.
I have tried Ilish with ginger-mustrad paste also with garlic , onion and mustrad ( Burmese recipe),tomato, onion, garlic stuffed whole Ilish ( Kuwait-Arab style) and of course coconut mustrad ...but this one, with Garam masala , never ..will be great I am sure ..
Thanks for sharing

PranisKitchen said...

what a delicious fish curry .the name and the recipe is very new to me.but we used to prepare the fish curry with coconut milk..but this one is very differnet..Sure try this new recipe..
Liked the yellow color.feel to have it now.sure i am going to prepare fish for today's dinner...

Soma said...

I am the only Ilish eater in the family, smiles and no smiles for me as in a way it is good that I get all of it to eat but have to cook for just me. This is one unique recipe I want to try when I get a BIG fish :D

Unknown said...

I love anything with coconut milk..This looks so inviting Kamalika..I would love to have it with plain rice..Great recipe!!

Ana Powell said...

The combination of ingredients are absolutely divine.
Awesome colours too.
Wishing you a great weekend x

Hari Chandana P said...

Wondeful Blog... first time here... Gr8 job!!

abraham said...

mouthwatering dish..what a delicious fish curry .

Satrupa said...

Thanks a lot Kamalika for dropping in my space and leaving those lovely words.

You too have a gr8 space ..... n this fish curry looks finger licking good :)

Cheers n Happy Cooking,


Satrupa said...

Thanks a lot Kamalika for dropping in my space and leaving those lovely words.

You too have a gr8 space ..... n this fish curry looks finger licking good :)

Cheers n Happy Cooking,


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