This is a simple recipe to cook some good fresh ilish to be paired with steaming rice. We had paired it with Raniakanda for a simple, wholesome and flavourful lunch.
For 4-5 people,
- Ilish, 8-10 medium pieces
- Eggplant, 250gms, cut lengthwise into halves if small, or into quarters, if big
- Nigella seeds, kalojeera, 1 tsp
- Green chilies, 3-4, slit, depending on the amount of heat preferred
- Mustard oil, 2 + 2 + 2 tbsps
- Turmeric powder, 1+1 tsp
- Red chilli powder, optional, 1 tsp
- Salt, as needed
- Water, as needed
- Grated coconut, 80-100gms, optional
1. Prep the fish before, avoid washing it under running water. Lay the pieces down on some kitchen roll and pat them dry. Sprinkle salt on both sides.
2. Prep the eggplants: soak them in salted water for 5minutes. Drain the water, and pat the eggplants dry. Sprinkle some salt and 1tsp turmeric powder.
3. Heat 2 tbsps oil in a pan or kadai. Carefully fry the ilish without overcrowding the pan in batches. Avoid crisping up the fish. Flip the pieces to gently cook them for 2 minutes in total. Take them out and keep them separate.
4. In the same pan, add 2 more tbsps of oil, once the oil starts smoking, add the prepped pieces of eggplants. Fry them lightly, keeping them slightly undercooked. You can add about 100 gms of grated coconut at this point if you want. Take them out. Take them out.
5. In the same pan, add 2 more tbsps of oil, add the nigella seeds. Once the seeds start spluttering, add the slit green chillies. Once they start to get some colour, add water as required, depending on the number of people. You can add turmeric powder and red chili powder at this point as well. Let it come to a boil, add the fish pieces, gently stir them around and cover. Reduce the flame to low to cook on simmer for a minute.
6. Once done, remove the cover, increase the flame and add the brinjal pieces and gently stir. Once it comes to a gentle simmer, adjust salt and switch off the flame. Cover and let it stand before serving with some white rice.