Ilish Begun er Tel Jhol (Bengali Hilsa Fish Curry) a super simple and comforting Bengali fish curry. The Hilsa fish curry made with fresh ilish maach, begun chunks/eggplant, mustard oil and minimal spices makes this fish curry extremely irresistible. Its light, soupy, flavourful and perfect with hot steaming rice.
“Ilish Maach” to a Bengali is not just a fish, it is an emotion. Only a Bengali knows what it means to them. My first Ilish/Hilsa of this year all the way from KOLKATA, India.
Yes! this Hilsa fish made a very long journey..Haha. My parents bought it all the way form Kolkata to UK. And I can’t explain in words how happy I am. Feeling blessed!!!
Look at that gorgeous fish!!
This was was my SUNDAY lunch platter. I was in Ilish heaven. Literally!
Ilish mach bhaja (hilsa fish fry), Ilish mach bhaja tel and Begun diye Ilish macher jhol (Hilsa fish curry with eggplant) and hot steaming rice. Soul food at its BEST. The fish curry is light and soupy with the flavour fresh fish and eggplant chunks.
How to make Begun diye Ilish macher Jhol?
This might be the simplest of all recipes. Yet irresistibly delicious. One important ingredient is mustard oil. It brings out the irresistible flavour and taste of Hilsa fish.
Fresh Hilsa/Ilish are first marinated with turmeric powder and salt.
Next heat mustard oil and fry the begun/eggplant chunks until almost cooked. drain and take it off the heat.
In the same pan heat rest of the mustard oil and temper with nigella seeds and slit green chillies. Then add 2-3 cups of water along with turmeric powder and bring it to a boil. Toss in the fried eggplant chunks and continue boiling for few mins. Then slide in the fish steaks and cooked in this kalo jeera/nigella seeds and spicy green chillies infused curry for 4-5 minutes until fish is cooked through.
Check out the step by step recipe below.
Here are some fish recipes that you can try.
Ilish Begun er Tel Jhol | Hilsa fish curry Bengali style
- large thick bottomed pan
- 500 gram Hilsa fish/Ilish maach
- 1 medium Eggplant/begun cut the eggplant in half lengthwise, then into narrow long wedges.
- 4-5 Green chillies slit
- 1/2 tsp Nigella seeds/ Kalo jeera
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder plus extra to marinate the fish steaks
- Salt as per taste
- 2-3 tbsp Mustard oil
- Marinate the fish steaks with turmeric powder and salt.
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan. Add the eggplant chunks and fry then until soft and golden brown. Drain and remove from the heat and keep aside.
- In the same pan heat the rest of the oil on medium heat. Then temper with nigella seeds/kalo jeera and slit green chillies and sauté until the seeds are crackling and fragrant.
- Next add 2 1/2 cups of water along with turmeric powder and bring it to a boil.
- Toss in the fried begun/eggplant and continue boiling for 2 minutes.
- Now slowly slide in the marinated fish in the curry and cook on low heat for 4-5 minutes. Make sure you don't stir the curry much or the soft fish steaks will break. (**check notes)
- Cook until the fish pieces are cooked through. Serve it hot with hot steaming rice.
I hope you enjoy this delicious Ilish Begun er Tel Jhol (Hilsa fish Curry) as much as we do!
If you have tried this recipe, I would love to see your wonderful creation. simply click a picture and tag me @gastronomicbong or #gastronomicbong on Instagram.