Initial details:

Prep time – 5 mins

Cook time – 45 mins

Total time – 50 mins

Recipe type: Main

Cuisine: Bengali

Serves: 4


For Fish:
Ilish (Hilsa): 4-6 pieces
Onion, chopped: ½ cup
Onion paste: 3 tbsp
Ginger paste: 1 tbsp
Garlic paste: 1 tbsp
Red chili powder: 1 tbsp
Green chili: 2-4
Mishti Doi (sweetened yogurt): ¼ cup, whisked wellCoconut milk: 1 cup
Ghee (clarified butter): 3 tbsp
Salt: 1 tbsp

For Pulao Rice:
Rice: 2 cups or 500g, Basmati or Gobindobhog
Coconut milk: 1 cup
Green chili: 1-2
Ghee (clarified butter): 1 tbsp
Salt: 1 tsp
Warm water: 3 cup

Whole Garam Masala:
Bay leaf: 1
Cinnamon stick: 2”
Green cardamom: 4-5,
crushed cloves: 5-6, pounded

For garnish : beresta /fried onion or coriander leaf


  1. This recipe calls for only 5 mins prep work and that washing and cleaning the rice. Then soak rice in water for 20 mins. Begin with this step so that by the time fish will be done, the rice will be ready to cook.
  2. The cooking begins with ilish. Heat 3 tbsp ghee in a deep bottomed wok and fry chopped onion until onion turns translucent and pale golden in colour.
  3. Add onion, ginger, and garlic paste with red chili powder and fry until oil separates. Sprinkle water in between if required. This is known as koshano in Bengali or bhunna in Hindi.
  4. Once masala is ready to add whisked mishti doi, salt and stir well to mix with the masala.Pour half of the coconut milk and stir quickly to incorporate everything.Add raw fish pieces into the gravy very carefully in a single layer without overlapping the fish.
  5. Add green chili and cook for 4-5 mins, depending on fish size.Flip ilish pieces gently as hilsa is extremely delicate and fragile.Add rest of the coconut milk and cook for 10 mins with cover or until fish is cooked thoroughly.Once done keep the fish covered until needed. Otherwise, gravy will be dried out.

  6. Now it’s time for the rice. Heat 1 tbsp ghee and add whole garam masala to tamper oil.Now add half of the gravy from hilsa along with warm water. Bring the mixture to boil.
  7. Add previously soaked rice into the mixture and let it cook for 10-12 mins. or until rice is half cooked.
  8. Add coconut milk, salt and cook with cover for another 10 mins.Now arrange the ilish pieces on bed of rice and pour the gravy on it.
  9. Add green chilies. Cover and cook for 5-7 mins on simmer.Once done, remove from flame but keep the Ilish Pulao covered. Only remove the lid once ready to serve. Garnish with beresta and Enjoy!