The Bangladeshi Kitchen

Shorshe Ilish – Hilsa in mustard sauce

1.5 hours
Prep: 45 minutes | Cook: 45 minutes | Servings: 4

Fish loving Bangladeshis love the Hilsa fish (ilish) so much that we have it is their national fish. Bangladeshis the claim that Hilsa can be cooked in a 100 different ways. This recipe is one of my all time favorites. The best Hilsa comes from the Padma river (as the Ganges is called in Bangladesh).


  • 1 Ilish (Hilsha) fish, cut into steaks
  • 1 tablespoon mustard (or ground mustard paste)
  • 6 green chilis
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons oil, mustard oil preferred
  • Salt to taste


  1. Rub some salt and turmeric on the fish steaks and set aside
  2. If you use whole mustard seeds, ground them into a paste along with the green chili and a tablespoon of water
  3. Heat the oil in a flat bottomed pan
  4. Saute the onions until light brown
  5. Add the mustard/chili paste and rest of the spices and striy fry 2-3 minutes
  6. Add 1/2 cup of water, making sure you scrape any spices that are stuck to the bottom of the pan
  7. Add the fish steak and cook covered over medium heat for about 10-minutes
  8. Flip over the fish and cook covered another 5 minutes until excess water has evaporated
  9. Check for salt and sprinkle additional salt if necessary

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