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
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.