Hilsa is the national fish of Bangladesh. Hilsa is an integral part of the Bengali culture. One can not imagine the monsoon in Bengal without cooking and feeding on fried Hilsa, or Ilish, as it is known in Bengali. It is also associated with religious ceremonies, and purchasing hilsas on soma incidents like on the day of Saraswati Puja is even considered auspicious.
Essentially a sea fish, hilsa caught from the sea are thin and small, and not at all tasty. In the rainy season, the fish swim into the inland rivers to lay eggs, and become flesh and extremely tasty. Sweet water Hilsa, especially from the river Padma that runs through Bangladesh are believed to be the best in taste.
There are various ways to cook the hilsa. It can be smoked, fried, steamed, baked. Often it is wrapped in young plantain leaves and baked in a steam pot of rice. It can also be prepared with curd, brinjal or green banana.
Here is a recipe to prepare Hilsa with mustard seeds.
Hilsa fish: 500 gm (can be replaced with Salmon, tastes almost the same)
Mustard seed: 5 to 6 teaspoon full
Paste of Green chillies: 6 or 7
Turmeric: half teaspoon full
Oil: 6 to 7 teaspoons
Salt to taste
Wash the fish properly. Make a paste of the mustard seeds and mix well with the turmeric and green chilli paste. Coat the fish with this mixture along with the salt and the oil. Marinate for about an hour. Then bake in a microwave for 12 minutes, till tender. Serve hot with cooked rice.