Elish Pulao/Bengali Rice Pilaf With Hilsha Fish

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Ilish Polao

Polao is a dish in which rice is cooked in a seasoned broth. In some cases, the rice may also attain its brown color by being stirred with bits of cooked onion, as well as a large mix of spices. Depending on the local cuisine, it may also contain fish, meat and vegetables. In West Bengal hilsha is very much available and popular. In monsoon Bengali people make so much of hilsha dishes. Hilsha fish cooked early with spices and then layered with Basmati Rice.




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60 Minutes

45 Minutes



Cooking Level

Meal Type

Ingredients for Ilish Polao

Preperation steps for Ilish Polao

  Clean and soak the basmati rice for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes take the rice out of the water and spread on a paper towel to soak all the water of the rice.

  Wash and clean the fish and pat dry them. Now in a large bowl marinate the fish pieces with yoghurt Salt & turmeric and keep aside for 30 minutes.

  Now heat oil in a pan and add the whole garam masala and fry till the smell comes out from the masala.

  Now add the onion paste and fry till light brown the paste. Add the ginger & garlic paste and fry for couple of minutes.

  When the oil starts separating from masala add the marinated fish into the masala along with the yoghurt and cover for sometimes.

  After some time open the lid and carefully stir the fish pieces for couple of minutes and then take them out and place on a plate.

  Stir fry rest of the masala which was in the pan for 2-3 minutes and then take the pan out of the stove and keep the pan aside.

  Now take a Handi or Large Pan( in Bengali it is called "dekchi") and heat some oil in it and add sliced onions and fry them till golden brown. Now add some salt and sugar into the pan and 3 cups of water and bring the water to a nice boil.

  (If you want to enrich the flavor of your polao you may add some whole garam masala and bay leaf into the water).

  When the water has started boiling add the rice and lower the heat for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes open the lid and check if the rice is cooked enough or not.

  If the rice is cooked then take half of the rice from the pan and place the fish pieces and some slit green chilies on half of the rice and cover the fishes with rest of the rice and cover the pan and put the pan on very low heat for 5 minutes.

  After 5 minutes the "Ilish Polao" will be ready to serve. Before serving sprinkle ghee on top.


This rice dish does not need any curry.

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