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narkel ilish

…narkel ilish or hilsa (fish) steamed in coconut milk…

I know, it sounds strange a little, but hilsa is one such fish which gives ample scope of experiments. Having attended some hilsa festival in the town, I got intrigued by the idea of using coconut milk in hilsa preparation. So this one purely crops up from my imagination and it left scope for improvisation.  This recipe is entirely inspired by another signature dish of Bengali cuisine Prawn malai curry. I omit some  of the ingredients from that recipe to suit my palate and which actually complement the subtle taste of hilsa. I called it narkel Ilish or hilsa steamed in coconut milk.

Have a look into the recipe in detail and enjoy the dish.

Narkel ilish


narkel ilish

narkel ilish or hilsa steamed in coconut milk

Ilish maach (Hilsa fish): 4-6 pieces
Ginger (chopped): 1 tsp
Green chilies (chopped): 2-3 tsp
Yellow mustard seeds: 2 tbsp
Cumin powder: 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder (optional): 1/4 tsp
Coconut milk (thick): 1 cup
Mustard oil: 1 tbsp
Salt to taste


Method to Prepare:
Wash the Ilish maach (Hilsa fish) pieces well and clean it properly.

Soak the white (yellow) mustard seeds for half an hour and grind them together with green chilies, ginger and salt.
Make a thick, creamy and smooth paste out of it and keep it aside.

Heat little mustard oil in a skillet and add the above chili-ginger-mustard paste along with cumin powder and saute till the oil leaves the side. Add half cup coconut milk diluted with water and mix well. Next put the hilsa pieces into it and close the lid and cook for 10 minutes.

Open the lid, check the seasonings and add rest half of the coconut milk .

Mix them well and serve the narkel ilish or coconut hilsa with steamed rice or pulao.

Before serving garnish narkel ilish with little scraped coconut.


  • Reply
    February 6, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Wow…..that new….and awesome….. 🙂

    • Reply
      February 7, 2011 at 8:10 pm

      Welcome to saffronstreaks Priyanka, am sure you will like the recipe
      and thanks a lot for passing the award to me.

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