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Barisal is a major city of Bangladesh on the banks of Kirtankhola river. It is one of the oldest municipalities and river ports of the country, established in 1876 under the British. The ancient city of Barisal was known as Bacola in Europe. Ralph Fitch, the first ever Englishman, a leather merchant, known to have visited Bengal in the mid-1580s, described Barisal in his journal as, “From Chatigan in Bengal, I came to Bacola; the king whereof is a Gentile, a man very well disposed and delighted much to shoot in a gun. His country is very great and fruitful, and hath store of rice, much cotton cloth, and cloth of silk. The houses are very fair and high built, the streets large, and people naked, except a little cloth about their waist. The women wear a great store of silver hoops about their necks and arms, and their legs are ringed with silver and copper, and rings made from elephants’ teeth.”

For all those who had forefathers in Barishal, would have at some part of their life had Ilish with coconut water. Here is the recipe:

Ilish with coconut milk

Ingredients:

Big Ilish fish  1
Coconut Milk  1 cup
Oil    ½ cup
Onion paste  ½ cup
Turmeric paste   1 tea spoon
Coriander paste 2 tea spoons
Red chilli paste 2 tea spoons
Salt   to taste
Green chillies 5

Method:    

• Wash and clean the fish
• Put oil and masala in a handi, and cook till dry. 
• After it’s done, pour 1 cup of water and spread the fish into it. 
• Once the fish is boiled/steamed and the water dries, pour coconut milk and 5-6 green chillies. 
• Prepare it on low flame for 10-15 mins and then once done, serve it!

While, Narayanganj is near the capital city of Dhaka and is a bustling port. It is also a centre of business and industry, especially the jute trade and processing plants, and the textile sector of the country. It is nicknamed the Dundee of Bangladesh due to the presence of its many jute mills. Since it is a port, no wonder this place has a constant supply of Hilsa. So try out the following recipe from Narayanganj. 

Ilish Machher Paturi

Ingredients:

A big Ilish fish  1
Chopped onions 2 cups
Chopped green chillies ½ cup
Ginger paste 1 tea spoon
Garlic paste  1 tea spoon
Red chilli powder  1 tea spoon
Turmeric powder ½ tea spoon
Jeera paste  ½ tea spoon
Coriander powder ½ tea spoon
Salt  to taste
Oil (for frying) accordingly

Big leaves of pui saag to cover the fish
Thread to tie the fish and leaves

Method:

• Cut the fish into big pieces. 
• Wash the pui leaves and keep them those ready.
• Make a paste of the spices and chopped onions and smear them on the fish, then cover it fully with the pui leaves and tie it with a thread.
• Fry it in the oil. Cut the thread and serve it!