Updated: Sep 23, 2021
By: Arpita Mukherjee Mitra
Bengal and fish are synonymous. No meal is complete without a diet of fish and the term 'machhe-bhaate bangali' (rice and fish makes a bong) is no exaggeration. And talk about fish, how can any discussion be carried out without mentioning ইলিশ or Hilsa? This silvery beauty is termed as the Queen of the fish both in West Bengal and Bangladesh. ইলিশ or Hilsa is the first love of the Bengalis and the fight between Ganga and Padma ইলিশ will go on for eternity. However, in Myanmar we do get the Hilsa fish from the Irrawaddy river and the taste is outstanding. The Irrawaddy ইলিশ can anytime give competition to Ganga or Padma Ilish.
Delicacy and ইলিশ goes hand in hand. ইলিশ cooked in pungent mustard paste and green chillies is something worth to die for! The less spicy Hilsa curry (Jhol) with eggplants and green chillies is another delish! The fish in the curry is not fried but lightly sautéed with green chilly paste, salt and turmeric before adding the water. My mother makes the Hilsa curry this way and there is absolutely no deviation except I use my own proportions.
Running short of time to make a proper curry? Fret not! Just a quick meal of dimwala ইলিশ mach bhaja (fried pieces of Hilsa with eggs) and steaming hot rice is as sumptuous as one could ever imagine. Those who have never tasted Hilsa eggs would not know how lip-smackingly good it is. To compare it loosely, it is just like Caviar for Bengalis.
ইলিশ is not just a fish, it's a nostalgia and a love affair for Bengalis of both sides of the partition notwithstanding the geopolitical boundaries and differences.
About the Author - Arpita Mukherjee Mitra
The typical life of a modern woman, whether she is working or single, a mother or a wife, is multi-faceted. They are the masters at juggling various aspects of life with ease keeping all the trials and tribulations inside their heart . Arpita has been a master at this game for a long time - whether its managing the household , challenges of a teen age daughter and a forgetful husband or managing a huge work force of 3000 plus employees as a Director of Human Resources - she has done it all and also doing it currently . Add to it her passion for fitness or cooking up various delicacies ( Cooking she proudly claims to be her first love ) ,
Arpita is a champion in the true sense of the term . She loves cooking and feeding people with food which she can conjure in no time , sometimes with very basic ingredients . In-spite of all the challenges and difficulties that has become a part of our lives now, Arpita is an extremely passionate person when it comes to her work , taking care of her family , maintaining a strict fitness regime or cooking lip smacking delicacies for friends families and colleagues , Arpita epitomizes the Modern Woman.