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Ilish Bhapa Recipe | How To Make Steamed Hilsa At Home Easily

Hilsa fish is already delicious in taste. So cooking recipes with Hilsa is very easy as the flavor and aroma of the fish multiply when it is fried in oil. Many mouth-watering dishes can be cooked easily with very few ingredients.


One such dish is Bhapa Ilish, which is famous among the Bengalis. I remember savoring this all the time since my childhood whenever the monsoon rolled in. The recipe makes its place at the dining table of a Bangali house when the season comes. If you are fond of fish and want to try something new, this is a must-try.

Let us go through the list of ingredients and the process to yield a great result.

Ilish Bhapa Recipe (Bengali Style)

Madhushree Dutta
Recipe to make tasty Ilish Bhapa easily at home. Simple ingredients, instructions, and equipment to prepare Bengali-style Ilish Bhapa easily.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Bengali, Indian
Servings 4 servings


  • 1 Induction Cooktop
  • 1 Cooking Pan/Pot
  • 1 Steel Tiffin Box


  • 4 pieces Hilsa fish/Ilish
  • Mustard oil
  • 2 tsp White mustard
  • 2 tbsp Black mustard
  • 1 tsp Poppy seeds
  • 5-6 Green chilies
  • 2 tbsp Sour Curd/Yogurt
  • ½ tsp Turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste


Prepare the fish

  • First, wash the Ilish fish.
  • Place the fish on a plate and add salt and turmeric powder. Coat the pieces of fish with the salt and turmeric powder and keep them aside.

Arrange fish in a steel tiffin box

  • While the fish is resting, soak the mustard and poppy seeds in a bowl.
  • After around half an hour, take a sil batta/mortar and pestle/blender and add the white mustard, black mustard, poppy seeds, two green chilies, and a little salt.
  • Make them into a fine paste and keep them aside.
  • Now whisk the sour curd/yogurt well until creamy.
  • After that, place the fish in a big steel tiffin box.
  • Add the paste of the spices and whipped sour curd.
  • Add salt to taste and combine everything nicely. Coat all the pieces of fish with the creamy paste and curd.
  • Arrange the fish inside the tiffin box and drizzle 2 tsp Mustard oil over the fish.
  • Slit the green chilis from the middle and place them on the pieces of Ilish fish.
  • Put the lid of the tiffin tox tightly and keep it aside for 10-15 minutes.

Prepare the Ilish Bhapa

  • Now boil water in a pan or a large pot. Place a stand in the pot on which the tiffin box can be placed.
  • Keep the amount of water accordingly so that the box is half submerged in water.
  • When the water boils, place the closed airtight box on the stand and cover the pan/pot with a lid. Keep the flame on medium.
  • Let the fish steam for 15 minutes in the boiling water.
  • After that, take the tiffin box out of the water and keep it for 6-8 minutes. This will help the flavors to infuse well.
Keyword Bengali Recipe, Fish Recipes, Non Veg Recipes


There you go! The Ilish Bhapa is ready to get served. Pair it with some steamed rice and a piece of fragrant lime. With this dish, you will never know how an entire plate of rice will vanish.

It is fascinating how bongs can prepare dozens of recipes with fish, especially when it comes to the “Queen of fishes”, Hilsa, or Ilish. Once you have it, you will forever remember the indelible taste of this delicacy.

Share it with your close ones and they will keep on licking their fingers, be sure of that. Bon Appétit!

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