Friday, July 24, 2015

Doi ilish...

The sun hiding behind the clouds, thunderstorms, the aroma of rain drenched earth and the pitter patter of raindrops on the window...Monsoon, the relief from the scorching heat of summer is a much awaited season in India. Monsoon is extremely important to people of this subcontinent, it irrigates and sustains the crops, it nourishes the greens around us, fills up the water bodies.

To be very honest, sometimes I do not enjoy rain much. I complain about the puddles of water on the road during daily commute, I get irritated with water logged streets and overdose of rain, but monsoon has it's own charm. And being a foodie I relate everything to food, and Monsoon is no exception. The cooling rain and a lazy afternoon with some crispy pakoras and a cup of hot tea is nothing but bliss.  

The reason I can overlook all the negative sides of this season is a fish, the Hilsa, the fish no Bengali can resist. Hilsa and monsoon are synonymous to me. As mangoes are to summer, hilsa are to monsoon. The silver shiny fish is the king of all. Taste, texture, flavor nothing compares to it. So for this monsoon special event I made a very simple but traditional hilsa recipe, doi ilish,  i.e. hilsa cooked in a yogurt and mustard gravy.

The ingredients are very simple and easily available. Fresher the fish, tastier will be the dish. The recipe calls for black mustard paste. To make black mustard paste, soak the mustard seeds for at least an hour in water and grind with a pinch of salt and green chilies.

Things needed to make Doi Ilish:

  • Hilsa fish cut into steaks: 4-6
  • Yogurt: 100 gm
  • Black mustard paste: 1/4 cup
  • Green chilies: 4-5
  • Kalojire/ onion seed: 1/4 tsp
  • Turmeric powder: 1/4 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Mustard oil to cook

Steps of making Doi Ilish:

1. Beat the yogurt with a little water and keep aside.

2. Smear the fish pieces with salt and turmeric powder, let it rest for 15-20 min.

3. In a kadhai or Indian wok, heat mustard oil (3 tablespoon), when the oil is hot, fry the fish for 1 min on each side. Take out from pan and keep aside. Do not overcook,

4. In the same oil add kalojire (onion seed/kalonji), green chilies, as it splatters add the yogurt. Cook over low heat for 4-5 min. Add the mustard paste and the fish pieces, add salt. Cover and cook for 10 min.

This post will be part of the the Monsoon special event  of  Kolkata food bloggers.

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  1. You are doing a fantastic job of presenting Bengali cooking to the world. I am yet to come across an Bengali food blogger who is doing doing photography of this quality. Are you based in Calcutta?

    1. Thank you for your generous words. Yes I live in Kolkata.