Lets make a list of top 5 which will definitely have1 of your choice
- Ilish machh bhaja- Ilish fried in mustard oil and definitely needs to be consumed piping hot.
- Ilish Paturi- Ilish wrapped in banana leaves, steamed with rich mustard and poppy seed paste. A modest drizzle of mustard oil before serving and it is food for the gods, if the gods were non vegetarian.
- Sorshe Ilish- The evergreen classic – mildly fried Ilish is cooked with a rich paste of mustard seeds, green chilies and that dash of mustard oil required to make this piquant.
- Ilish Begun jhol – One of the most undermined ones in this entire fare, perhaps for its simplicity but this is one of the dishes where the spices and other ingredients don’t over rule nor destroy the taste of the fish.
- Doi Ilish – I will slightly tuck in this dish as this is our personal favourite at home and Ma is a master artist in this. Incidentally the Doi Ilish is now available in Taj Bengal Kolkata as a part of their ongoing Ilish Festival menu . Check out how we cooked there – (link)
Why Ilish Begun jhol?
Keeping it simple yet elevating a dish is tough. Many a times, in order to create something extraordinary out of this kingly fish, even a maestro has messed up. I had written about it earlier where in that particular year, there was so much of innovation that I had to shout out- Don’t touch my Ilish recipe please.(Read here)
While Sorshe Ilish and Doi Ilish are must for the Ilish season, this is one of the easiest, quick adaptations to welcome Ilish at home. Ilish begun Jhol is non complicated, unworthy of a thought of finding layers of taste, spices, textures and all that one will look for in a dish as a food lover. Why then? if Ilish is your key protagonist, then Ilish Begun Jhol is the perfect script. Long slices of begun or egg plant of the same size of the Ilish or even bigger than that, a very light broth (a perfect translation for jhol ?) with nigella seed, where the oil released from the fish and mustard oil are in unison is what all one can ask for.
Just as Ilish from Bangladesh is often considered as the better than the ones which are available here, this dish is also a migratory dish in our house. Hold me at gun point, anything from Bangladesh to West Bengal is migratory. So why not this dish? This dish has its origin in Rajshahi in Bangladesh and got passed on by Madhushree’s grandmother to her. So doesn’t that make it migratory? Sorry, by migratory, I do not want to invoke a controversy as big as the one which Mesut, Ozil, the German footballer has gone through and had to eventually resign from the German national side.
What is your favourite Ilish dish? Does any of the 5 mentioned here make a cut? Let me know?
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