How to make Ilish maachh bhaja with Ilish maachher tel – recipe with photos

Making ilish maachh bhaja with ilish maachher tel recipe with step-by-step photos. White rice with Ilish maachh bhaja and Ilish maachher tel is one of my favorite dishes. Most Bengalis especially the Ilish maach lovers have a common favorite dish, right? A simple recipe and does not need to introduce to a Bengali, especially people from West Bengal or Bangladesh. 

Ilish maachh bhaja with eggs in peti (stomach)

About this recipe

Ilish maachh bhaja is nothing but salt & turmeric smeared (marinated) hilsa fish fried in kachchi ghani or cold pressed mustard oil. Whereas, Ilish maachher tel is all about the fat of hilsa fish which is released while frying in oil. Relish both with piping hot white rice and have maach bhaja with khichuri (niramish muger daler khichuri or patla musur daler khichuri).

Ilish maachh bhaja with khichuri or Khichuri ilish maachh bhaja

You must be thinking, Ilish maachh bhaja is so simple to prepare why do I need to post this recipe? This recipe is only for beginners and bachelors who the first time going to fry the fish especially hilsa with their own.

Here I describe the all tips and tricks on how easy to fry Ilish maachh without sticking to the pan. Even how beginners can prevent themselves from the spluttering of oil while frying this fish.

How to choose the best ilish maachh?

As per my dad, to choose the best ilish maachh, along with seeing its silver glittering shine all over the body must check its belly with a light pinkish color. As shown in the pic below. Though experts like my dad can easily recognize whether the ilish belongs to Kolkaghat, Diamond harbour, or Howrah Ganga. Even just look at the fish’s shape & texture. However, still, I do not have a clear knowledge of whether the hilsa belongs to even from river or sea. As in Bangalore, ilish from Gujrat & Mangalore sea also captures fish market due to high demand & huge cost. Tastewise just so bad no matter how bigger the fish is. Even taste podda’r ilish (Imported from Bangladesh) too, comes with a sealed packet, more expensive but not great as expected.

Later consult with Dad & he says, must take ilish having a flat body, as hilsa with flat belly is best at the taste. Dad’s expert tips for ilish with a flat pinkish belly work best. Though as big the hilsa is considered best in taste at least 1 kg weight. Must buy at least more than 600 – 650 g weight of ilish for better taste. Less weighty fish must have lots of small bones and the taste won’t be great if you are not too lucky.

Though ilisher dim (hilsa eggs) taste awesome. However, expert says, that fish carrying eggs lose its taste. So if don’t want fish eggs then check the fish belly whether it is flat means no eggs but a little swollen stomach means carrying eggs. However, an experienced fish seller also can help you to select eggless fish.

After buying the fish, instruct the fish seller or fishmonger to cut the fish into ring pieces or round slices or steaks if not too big in size, and have eggs in the belly. If you are staying out of Bengal, especially in Bangalore, go for bengali cut (Fish in ring cut).

Ilish maachh with turmeric powder, salt & mustard oil or with 3 ingredients of this recipe

Whether it is a rainy season (best time to have Ilish maachh in the Bengali fish market) or Ranna puja occasion and you are staying far away from your home. Missing those rainy days or ranna puja occasions, family lunch or dinner with Ilish maachh. But never cook anything on your own but planning to fry Ilish maachh for the first time. Then my step-by-step recipe (with pictures) surely helps you to perfectly fry the fish.

You can try my other Ilish maachher recipes

Ilish Maacher Paturi
Bhapa Ilish
Shorshe Ilish
Doi Ilish
Ilish Maacher Biryani
Ilish Maacher Patla Jhol (Kalo jeera bata diye)

How to make Ilish maachh bhaja with Ilish maachher tel- recipe with photos

Recipe by Moumita PaulCourse: Lunch/DinnerCuisine: Bengali, Bangladeshi, IndianDifficulty: Easy
Servings

3

servings
Prep time

5

minutes
Cooking time

10

minutes
Calories

300

kcal
Total time

15

minutes

Ilish maachh bhaja is nothing but salt & turmeric smeared (marinated) hilsa fish, fried in kachchi ghani or cold pressed mustard oil. Whereas, Ilish maachher tel is the fat of hilsa fish which is released by ilish maachh while frying in oil. Relish both bhaja & tel with piping hot white rice & have maachh bhaja with khichuri (niramish muger daler khichuri or patla musur daler khichuri).

Ingredients

  • 3 Ring Pieces / Round Slices Ilish Maachh (Preferably with Peti)

  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder

  • 1/2 tsp Salt

  • 8 tbsp Mustard Oil (Kachchi ghani or cold pressed)

Instruction

  • Before frying the ilish maach, first, wash the fish (in pieces/steaks/slices).
  • By taking the fish pieces in a bowl, add 2- 3 cups of water, and gently remove the fish scales if still remain. Don’t wash under running water, can lose its flavor & taste.
  • Remove the water and wash the fish with another 2-3 cups of water and completely discard the water.
  • Make sure no water is remaining with the fish steaks.
  • Then smear the fish steaks with 1/2 tsp salt & 1/2 tsp turmeric powder and mix it well, keep it aside for marination.
  • Heat a pan (iron korai or nonstick pan preferably for beginners & bachelors) first on medium heat until the pan releases smoke or gets enough hot. 
  • Then add mustard oil to the pan and with a spatula spread the oil on the sides of the pan (especially iron pan). 
  • Once the oil release smoke or bubbles on oil disappears, one by one leave the fish (salt & turmeric powder marinated fish pieces) into the oil. 
  • But do not overcrowd the pan. If you are frying the fish for the first time, then better to put only 1 or 2 pieces in oil by keeping some space between the fish to avoid sticking to each other.
  • After 5-6 mins of frying, gently turn the fish with a spatula and fry the opposite side for again 5-6 mins. 
  • Once the fish is golden from both sides, that means maach bhaja is done, remove the fish from the pan. 
  • If you need to fry the fish until golden brown then keep it for 1-2 more mins in the pan. 
  • But do not fry the fish for a long time that can make the fish hard and will spoil its taste. 
  • After frying the ilish maachh, the leftover oil in the pan is Ilish maachher tel (released by Ilish maachh while frying in oil).
  • Ilish maachh bhaja & ilish maachher tel is ready, just make white rice and relish in lunch or dinner, especially on Sunday. Even relish with khichuri (niramish muger daler khichuri or patla musur daler khichuri).

Tips & tricks about this recipe

  • Don’t wash the fish for a long time can spoil the flavor & taste of the fish.
  • Make sure no water should be left with the fish while marinating or smearing with turmeric & salt.
  • Must heat the pan until starting to release smoke or check whether the Kadai is perfectly hot or not by putting your hand from 5-6 inches up of the kadai. If the heat touches your hand means the Kadai is perfectly hot & ready for frying fish.
  • After putting oil in Kadai (especially iron kadai), spread the oil up to 1 to 1+ 1/2 inches of the wall of the pan.
  • Until the oil release smoke doesn’t put the fish in the oil or similarly check the heat of the oil with your hand by putting your hand from 5-6 inches up of the kadai, if feel the heat, then only put the fish in oil. Or if you notice the bubbles on oil disappear also means oil is perfectly hot.
  • While frying the fish, always gently put the fish in oil from one side of the kadai. Throwing the fish in the middle of the kadai is not the right way, high chance of spluttering oil.
  • Ilish maachh is well known for its fat & such fat-contained fish have a tendency to splutter in oil. So if you are a beginner, after putting the fish in oil must cover the pan with a lid to prevent yourself from getting burnt with hot oil.
  • Again while removing the lid from the pan, be careful because water droplets are under the lid, if droplets drip in hot oil, again it will splutter the oil.

How to make Ilish maachh bhaja (with ilish maachher tel)

How to clean & wash the fish

  • Before frying the ilish maach, first, wash the fish pieces/steaks/slices.
  • By taking the fish pieces in a bowl, add 2- 3 cups of water, and gently remove the fish scales if still remain. Don’t wash under running water, can lose its flavor & taste.
  • Remove the water and wash the fish with another 2-3 cups of water and completely discard the water.
  • Make sure no water is remaining with the fish.

Frying Method

  • Then smear the fish steaks with 1/2 tsp salt & 1/2 tsp turmeric powder and mix it well, keep it aside for marination.
Ilish maachh smeared with turmeric powder & salt
  • Heat a pan (iron korai or nonstick pan preferably for beginners & bachelors) first on medium heat until the pan releases smoke or gets enough hot. 
  • Then add mustard oil to the pan and with a spatula spread the oil on the sides of the pan (especially for iron pan). 
  • Once the oil release smoke or bubbles on oil disappears, one by one leave the fish (salt & turmeric powder marinated fish pieces) into the oil. 
Frying the fish in smoky hot oil
  • But do not overcrowd the pan. If you are frying the fish for the first time, then better to put only 1 or 2 pieces in oil by keeping some space between the pieces.
  • After 5-6 mins of frying, gently turn the fish with a spatula and fry the opposite side for again 5-6 mins. 
  • Once the fish is golden from both sides, that means maachh bhaja is done, remove the fish from the pan. 
  • If you need to fry the fish until golden brown then keep it for 1-2 more mins in the pan. 
  • But do not fry the fish for a long time that can make the fish hard and will spoil its taste. 
Fried hilsa fish direct from the pan
  • After frying the ilish maachh, the leftover oil in the pan is Ilish maachher tel (released by Ilish maachh while frying in oil).
Ilish maachher tel
  • Ilish maachh bhaja & ilish maachher tel is ready, just make white rice and relish in lunch or dinner, especially on Sunday. Even relish the maachh bhaja with khichuri (niramish muger daler khichuri or patla musur daler khichuri).

Storing Suggestions

You can store it in the refrigerator in an airtight food-grade container. When planing to eat, take it out from the fridge, and make it hot in the microwave oven for 30 secs to 1 min. Or Shallow fry on medium heat (gas stove) for 1-2 mins to keep it soft and tasty as before.

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