A Bengali recipe for special occasions

Cooking hilsa fish doesn’t require any demonstration of skill. Ilish paturi is a popular and traditional way of making hilsa curry in Bengal. The banana leaves retain the flavour of the fish as well as the spices. Any other fish can also be cooked with this recipe. Eating this dish makes me nostalgic.

What you need

Hilsa fish – 450 gm

Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp

Black mustard - 2 tbsp

Yellow mustard - 2 tbsp

Poppy seeds (Posto dana) - 2 tsp

Mustard oil - 4 tbsp

Green chillies - 3

Salt

Banana leaves

Cooking instructions

Make a smooth paste of black and yellow mustard seeds, poppy seeds and chillies.

Add mustard oil, salt and turmeric powder to the paste.

Slice the hilsa into six pieces. Wash and pat dry gently.

Spread the paste across the fish pieces. Marinate for 15 minutes.

Cut the banana leaves into rectangular pieces. Wash and dry. Soften leaves over a low flame. This makes it easy to fold the leaves.

Wrap each fish piece in a banana leaf and wrap a string around it.

Cook the enveloped pieces in a pre-heated oven (180 degree C) for 15 to 20 minutes till the green leaves start to have brown patches. Alternately you can also cook the pieces on low heat in a greased pan covered with a lid. Flip the wraps in between for even cooking.

Serve with rice.

Sunanda Guha is currently pursuing an M.Phil degree in Political Science from a city college.