Mustard Hilsa with a Twist

30 March 2015

Mustard Hilsa with a Twist

Mustard Hilsa with a Twist

30 March 2015
Prep Time
Cook Time
4 Person

Question to all Bengalis – How do you serve Hilsa to a non-Bengali? Needless to say that Hilsa is the Caviar or Truffle or Foie Gras to Bengalis, whatever comparison you want to draw. It’s the most coveted food anytime. If it doesn’t mean so much to you then you are not a true Bengali. What troubled me over the years is explaining the marvel that it is to a non-bengali without giving them a taste of it. But how do you get past all those fine threadlike sharp bones that stand like the Great Wall of China between the most coveted dish and a non-Bengali? Like all food lover I also find the greatest joy in sharing what I like with others. I am sure I am not the only one who has been frustrated with this.


Today I was presented this dilemma of serving a mixed couple (Bengali and Punjabi) Hilsa as snacks by my husband. Living in Bombay for a couple of years I know what it is like to live without good hilsa. So I took it upon myself to scrape every cell of my brain to figure out a way to treat my guests to some amazing Padma Hilsa. A quick call to my Fish-Monger Mr. Manik, thankfully he had a couple of the PH which he agreed to save for me. Sent the husband to pick it up (with fingers crossed, as I would not trust anyone to pick fish for me). I made a second call behind my husband and explained the gravity of my need of a good quality piece just to ensure …..


Yes! My guy didn’t let me down. (That reminds me I should call him up to thank). Equipped with a great fish, my brain cells worked extra and finally managed to put together this dish today – Inspired by my son’s love of sushi. I hope the guests loved it, but I surely loved the idea of it as well as the taste.

Utensil/ Appliance

A flat frying pan


Salt to taste


Rice: I used one cup cooked salted Japanese sticky rice. You can use any sticky rice.


Mustard sauce: 1 tbsp brown mustard seeds + 1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds + 2 (or more) green chillies + 1 tsp raw mustard oil + a pinch of salt


Prepare the rice first and keep aside to cool. Once cool, run them in the food processor to make them into a sticky dough. Rub salt on the fish slices and keep for 5 minutes. Fry them in mustard oil till lightly browned. Next de-bone and roll them into one inch diameter balls and keep aside. To put together the dish wet your hand with some water, take a tea-spoonful of the rice dough, roll it into a ball and then press it into the middle of the palm with three fingers to flatten (wet hands keep the rice sticking to hand). Smoothen it to make a nice and neat disc of 2 1/2 inch dia. Now place it on a banana leaf circle, smear it with a pinch of the mustard sauce, place a fish ball on top. Gently squeeze with finger tips to flatten everything slightly. Place another pinch of the mustard sauce on top if you like.

To make the mustard sauce, soak the mustards in same amount of warm water for 5 minutes and then grind them along with salt and green chillies on a mortar and pestle stone to a smooth paste. It gives a fantastic kick. To serve, place the mustard sauce in a small bowl and pour the oil on top.

You can have it warm or cold. Serve it with the mustard sauce as a snack to anyone and enjoy the pleasure of sharing this beautiful dish.