Shorshe Ilish

Shorshe ilish

If you are a Bengali or come from the east coast of India, or even Bangladesh, you may have tried the Shorshe Ilish recipe with white rice. Aromatic, fragrant and spicy, “Shorshe Ilish” or Hilsa in mustard sauce is a Bong-born’s dream food.

Ideally cooked in mustard oil, hilsa tastes great fried too: Steamed rice and fish fried in mustard oil is a staple food for fishermen. If I could use the word succulent in this context, I would have, but I think otherwise. So, let’s just say, a juicy fish with loads of meat in it (you can say I am a Bong), Shorshe ilish has equal amount of fish as its bones. But if you are alright with a battle of fish vs man, we’ll tell you, you’re on for some treat.

And before we get to the Shorshe ilish recipe, here’s some Trivia: Did you know that Hilsa basically is a sea-fish which only comes to lay eggs in fresh water? Umm, well, that’s when they are caught. Moving on…


Shorshe Ilish


  • Mustard paste
  • Mustard oil
  • Chilli powder
  • Green and red chilli
  • Turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
  • Hilsa fish
  • Onion seeds or kalonji


  • Make a paste of mustard seeds and green and the red chillies. Marinate the hilsa pieces with salt and turmeric.
  • In a frying pan, heat the mustard oil and fry the onion seeds.  When translucent, add the mustard paste.
  • Stir for a minute and add the fishes. You’ll also need to pour about enough water to cover the fish half in the water.
  • Lid on, cook in low heat for about 10-14 min.
  •  Lid off, cook for 5-7 min if you want the gravy to thicken.
  • Serve with chopped coriander and steamed rice.


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