Ilish Pulao (Hilsha Fish Pilaf)
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
Total Time
1 hr

Ilish Pulao (Hilsha Fish Pilaf) is a traditional Bengali fish pilaf recipe. It is a rich mix of fish, spices and rice, that is fit for a king. Get a taste of Royal Bengal with this recipe. 

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Bengali
Servings: 6
Author: Tamara at Foodieverse
  • 3 tbsp oil (neutral oil, not olive oil)
  • 1/4 cup onion paste
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 cup beaten yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 chillies
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6-7 pieces Hilsha(Ilish) fish
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp sliced onions
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp juice of ginger
  • 2 cups pre-washed short grain rice (Chinigura, Kalijeera or Gobindobhog) (Or Basmati if that's all you have)
  • 3 3/4 cups water
  • 2 chillies
  • 1/4 cup fried onions
  1. Heat oil in a pot, add onion paste, garlic paste, the spices, yoghurt, milk and sugar. Stir and simmer for a minute. 

  2. Add chillies and salt. Stir.

  3. Place fish pieces on gravy and cook for 1 minute.

  4. Turn fish over and cover. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.

  5. Take off heat and reserve 5 tbsp of gravy.

  1. Heat oil in another pot and fry onions for 30 seconds. 

  2. Add bay leaf, ginger juice and rice. Stir and cook for 1 minute.

  3. Add 5 tbsp of gravy and stir. 

  4. Add water and chilli. Cover and cook on low heat for 15-18 minutes until all the water is absorbed and rice is fluffy. 

To assemble
  1. Scoop out half of the rice. Place fish pieces and remaining gravy. 

  2. Add fried onions and top with remaining rice.

  3. Cover and simmer on very low heat for 5 minutes.

  4. Carefully serve with fish pieces on top. Garnish with more fried onions and chillies.