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Ilish Begun er Tel Jhol
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5 from 1 vote

Ilish Begun er Tel Jhol | Hilsa fish curry Bengali style

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.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Bengali, Indian
Keyword: begun diye Ilish mach, Hilsa fish curry, Hilsa recipe, Ilish maacher tel jhol, Ilish recipe
Servings: 4
Author: Arpita@Gastronomic Bong


  • 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 did not fry the fish for this curry. But you can lightly fry the fish in mustard oil before adding it to the curry. 
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.