Most Bong celebrations are considered to be incomplete without fish in the menu. Being in rainy season Hilsa tops the list of Bong gluttonous thirst. Typically known for it’s unique flavour, silver lining body and lip smacking oil, hilsa is cooked in multifarious ways. Some loves it just fried, some die to have steamed Hilsa and oodles of Bongs prepare hilsa in thick mustard curry. Besides, doi hilsa is quite popular too. Here I am sharing the recipe of Shukto hilsa or ‘Ilish Shukto’. This is a vegetable stew with the royal fish and the dish holds a legendary value of our culture which brings back the memories of yummy curries cooked by our grannies and moms (Maa thakumar haater / desher ghorer ranna).
Shukto is ideally meant for people who are not well as its light and mild and has a typical aroma that classifies it due to the specific spices used, keeping the flavours intact.
Secret Ingredients –
So let’s come to the ingredients.
1. 1 medium sized hilsa cut into ring pieces
2. 2 tsp radhuni or celery seeds
3. 1 tsp of fenugreek seeds
4. 1 tsp of black mustard seeds
5. 1.5 tbsp of ginger paste
6. 1.5 tbsp of poppy seed paste
7. 1 cup milk / fresh cream
8. 2 Potol or pointed gourd
9. 1 raw banana
10. Half medium raw papaya
11. 8 to 10 bori / lentil dumpling
12. Salt and mustard oil as required.
Cooking Steps –
1. Marinate the fish with little salt, shallow fry in mustard oil and keep aside.
2. Mix celery, fenugreek and black pepper in a bowl and keep aside.
3. In the fish fried oil, add desired amount of oil and allow the celery, fenugreek and pepper mixture to splutter.
4. Add the vegetables, fry till light brown.
5. Sprinkle little salt, add ginger paste, poppy seed paste, add 1 cup of water and cook it in low flame to allow the vegetables to be tender as desired.
6. Now gently place fried fishes and fried boris, add the milk and a little fresh cream.
7. Finish it up with some ground radhuni and dollop of butter for lovely aroma (optional).
8. Your yummy ilish shukto is ready. Serve with hot rice.
Tips to cast the spell:
1. You can add egg plant and drum sticks to make it more yummy and healthy.
2. Coconut milk can be used in place of normal milk.