Ilish or Hilsa fish is a delicacy in Bangladesh, and in the eastern part of India – in states like West Bengal. Assam, Orissa, and Tripura. Ilish is a mouthwatering delicacy of Bengal, often cooked with Shorshe (Bengali for mustard). Shorshe illish is usually a part of any Bengali family feast.
Ilish, also known as Hilsa, is a Herring family fish, which is considered as one of the tastiest fish because of its soft oily texture and mouth watering flavor. It is called the “king of fish” in Southeast Asia.
Fun Facts about Ilish
- The unique taste of Ilish has often been attributed to the presence of certain fatty acids like steareic acid, oleic acid and many poly unsaturated fatty acids. Recent experiments have shown its beneficial effects in decreasing cholesterol and insulin level in rats.
- Ilish is more tastier in the pre-spawning stage than in the mature stage
- Female Ilish tastes better than male Ilish.
- Ilish is a salt water fish, which travels to sweet river water for breeding. It is available in Padma river in Bangladesh, Ganga (Hoogly) river delta in West Bengal, Chilika Lake in Orissa, Indus River Delta in Sindh, Pakistan, Tigris, Euphrates river in Iraq, Iran.
- Ilish is the national fish of Bangladesh and the industry around it provides livelihood of around 5 million people.
- Ilish is not available in North America. Bengalis in North East part of North America often substitute it is other Shad fish, which is a sub family of the Herring family where Ilish belongs to.