Doodh Ilish | Narkel Dudh e Ilish Mach | Bangladeshi Delicacy Doodh Ilish | Hilsa in Coconut Milk
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Bengali
Serves: 4 servings
  • Ilish Mach: 4 pc, large pieces preferable
  • Green chili: 3-4
  • Nigella seeds: ½ tsp
  • Turmeric powder: 1 tsp,
  • Red chilli powder: ½ tsp, optional
  • Salt: 1 tsp
  • Milk: 500 ml
  • Bay leaf: 1 large
  • Sugar: ½ tsp
  • Mustard Oil: 4 tbsp
  1. Clean ilish mach carefully but don’t wash under running water; it will wash away the flavours from fresh fish. Marinate hilsa pieces with salt and turmeric powder; cover all the sides and cavity neatly. Keep aside for 10 mins until needed.
  2. Pour milk in a heavy duty saucepan and bring it to boil. Add bay leaf and keep the milk on simmer until the volume of the milk is reduced to half of original volume. Say, 2 cups milk should be reduced to 1 cup or so.
  3. Heat mustard oil in a deep bottomed pan to the smoking point. Simmer the flame and add marinated hilsa pieces one by one carefully to the hot oil.
  4. Cook for 2-3 mins and then flip the fish very gently without breaking into pieces.
  5. Cook for another 2 mins and flip again to check whether fish is cooked through.
  6. If both sides of each fish are turned into golden brown and firm, ilish mach is cooked.
  7. Remove ilish from oil with care; they tend to break into pieces and set aside into the serving bowl.
  8. Add nigella seeds and 1-2 green chilli to the hot oil and allow to splutter.
  9. Add ½ tsp turmeric powder to the oil and fry for 30 secs. or unless raw smell is gone.
  10. Simmer the flame and add thickened milk to the pan. Whisk quickly before milk curdled.
  11. Add sugar and adjust seasoning with salt if needed and stir nicely. Keep the flame to minimum.
  12. Add fish pieces into milk; cover and keep on simmer for 5-8 mins.
  13. Switch off flame; add more green chilli and keep on stand by for 10 mins to infuse curry with the flavours of fish.
  14. Transfer the serving bowl and add more green chili if desired.
  15. Serve Doodh Ilish immediately with hot steamed rice. Enjoy!
Recipe by Scratching Canvas at