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Hilsa recipes for Jamai Shoshti

The signature fish of the Jamai Shoshti festival, the Hilsa, is one of eastern India’s most prized delicacies. Here are two recipes from Chef Sujoy Gupta, Taj Bengal, Kolkata, to enjoy at home.

Jamai Shoshti is a festival celebrated in eastern Indian states such as Bengal and Odisha. While it’s all about strengthening bonds between families, as with most festivals, Jamai Shoshti revolves around food. The thali that is traditionally presented to the son-in-law is reputed for its enormous variety of dishes served.

Image courtesy Taj Bengal, Kolkata


Of course, given that these states are coastal, fish is a big part of the food culture. And none, perhaps, are as popular as the Hilsa. So, naturally, Hilsa dishes are part of the star cast of the Jamai Shoshti thali ensemble.

Ilish maacher biryani

Melange of Hilsa and basmati rice flavoured with green chilli pickle

Serves four

Ingredients:

  • 600gm Hilsa
  • 300gm basmati rice
  • 70ml mustard oil
  • 25gm green chilli pickle
  • 4-6 green chillies
  • 5gm black onion seeds (kalonji)
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Water as required
  • Salt to taste
  • 15gm whole mustard

Preparation

Clean and cut the fish into medium-sized pieces. Apply salt and a little turmeric to the fish and set aside for 30 minutes.

Wash and soak the rice for 30 minutes. Slit the green chillies down the middle. Strain the soaked rice and add it to boiling water, cooking until it’s about three-fourths done.

Heat 50ml of oil to a pan and heat it until it starts to smoke. After cooling it a little, add whole mustard seeds and allow them to crackle. Add the slit green chillies after this.

Now add the fish and the green chilli pickle and cook it for a minute.

Add turmeric powder and salt. Reduce the flame, and layer the fish with the semi-cooked basmati rice. Cover the pan with a lid and seal it.

Cook on a slow flame until the fish is tender. Serve hot.


Ilish maacher paturi

Boneless Hilsa marinated with mustard paste, wrapped in banana leaf and steamed

Serves four

Ingredients:

  • 4 fillets of Hilsa (500gm each)
  • 80gm mustard oil
  • 75gm mustard paste
  • 2gm onion seeds (kalonji)
  • 1tsp turmeric powder
  • 5gm red chilli powder
  • 5gm sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 banana leaves measuring 6 sq inch (cut into squares and place on a hot griddle for 30sec to make it soft)

Preparation

Cut and clean the fish fillets. Marinate them with half the mustard oil, kalonji, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt. Set aside for an hour.

Now add mustard paste, sugar and remaining mustard oil. Set aside for half an hour.

Take individual fish pieces and wrap them in banana leaves. Skewer with toothpicks so they don’t open up.

Put in the steamer for 5-8 minutes or until the fish is done. Serve hot.



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