_dsc0439_2Ilish (hilsa) as we call it, is itself a delicacy no matter how u cook it. At least the Assamese and Bengali fish lovers goes   over this fresh water fish curry. The rustic and strong flavor of poppy seeds and mustard seeds makes this fish apart all other fish curries.

Breaking the monotony of  weekend special meal to a weekday special meal  is what wallowing life to the fullest means to me. Well this is what happened during one fine sunny weekday lunch when few friends from US visited Bahrain for work, came home for lunch. It is a fact that people of Assam and Bengal would die for this customary hilsa fish made in mustard-poppy seeds sauce. Our friends with a mind-set of having a light lunch couldn’t stop relishing over this Ilish curry over hot steam rice. good company, nostalgic chats over some great food makes any day a special one.


The key fixing in xoriyoh-posto ilish is the utilization of fresh mustard and poppy seeds paste which gives the sauce the rustic and pungent flavor, into which the pan seared hilsa fish is seeped in.


  1. 1 kilo hilsa fish cut into medium slices
  2. 1/2 tsp turmeric powder.
  3. 2 sliced green chilies
  4. 1 very small onion and an inch of ginger blended into a paste
  5. 1/2 tsp sugar
  6. salt as per taste
  7. 1/2 tsp red chili powder( optional)
  8. 3 tbsp Mustard oil

For the sauce

  • 2 tbsp white mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 2 green chilies
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 2 tsp beaten yogurt

For garnish

  • chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • Fine ginger julienne


  1. Marinade the hilsa fish slices with turmeric powder and salt.
  2. In a blender add all the ingredients along with enough water needed for the sauce or curry. Now blend it into a fine paste and keep it aside.
  3.  Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan and sear the fish on both sides for a min. Carefully turn the fish slices as they ate quite soft compared to other fishes. Take out the fried fish slices into a plate.
  4. Now in the same pan add another table-spoon of oil, then add the panch phoren until it crackles. At this point add the onion and ginger paste and saute for a minute until the raw smell of the paste is gone.
  5. Add the prepared mustard-poppy paste into the pan, mix gently. Now add turmeric powder, red chili powder, sugar, season it with salt and sliced fresh green chilies. As the sauce starts bubbling put in the fish slices gently. Cover with a lid and simmer on low heat for a few minutes.
  6. Remove the lid and pour a dash of pure mustard oil for that extra kick and authentic flavor. Allow a last simmer, then turn off the heat and garnish with fresh coriander and fine ginger julienne.

Serve simple with hot steam rice.



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