Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Ilish Maacher Dim diye Ambol / Hilsa Roe in a Sweet and Sour Gravy

Ambol or Tauk/Tawk is a sour dish that is usually served at the end of a proper Bengali meal. The aim is to create enough salivation to aid in digestion and also to clean the palate for the final round ... i.e. the sweet dish.

Ambol usually has tamarind for the sourness ... but is sometimes made with pieces of dried mango too. Usually different types of small fish like Chuno punti or Mourala is used.

Sometimes vegetables like the bhindi / okra and brinjal/eggplant can be used too to make a vegetarian ambol.

This time I had some good Ilish roe. So like the ambol made with the Ilish head back home ( recipe coming up next ) , I made it with the Ilish roe/dim.

The Ilish roe/dim itself is so flavourful that just frying it is enough to chomp on and enjoy.But when in the sour gravy, it turns even more flavourful. Too good!

Need : Ilisher bhaja dim / Hilsa roe marinated with a little turmeric powder and salt and fried in mustard oil,
some fresh curry leaves, whole dry red chillies, mustard seeds,
a little cooking oil, tamarind pulp diluted with water, salt and sugar to taste.

How to : Cut the fried fish roe into bite sized pieces.

Heat a little oil in a kadhai / wok / pan. Add the mustard seeds. When they start to splutter, add the red chillies and then the tamarind water.

Bring to a boil. Adjust salt and sugar. It is entirely up to you to decide how you like it ... a little too sour ... or a little more sweet ... or salty and sour ...

Add the ilish maccher dim / fish roe pieces carefully and keep boiling.
Do not stir too much ... the roe might break.

The consistency of the gravy for an ambol / tok / tauk is very thin ... almost watery. So keep that in mind when boiling it.

Serve cool or cold with rice.
I personally like it after keeping it in the fridge for a while ... with plain rice and some fresh green chillies.

All you fish loving folks ... enjoy!! :-)


  1. hmm..
    i've eaten tawk with rui machh but this is new ....good.

  2. Sharmila,
    This is a really unique recipe, I had never tasted the ilish macher barar ambol though :) but will try out this weekend

  3. Mouth watering stuff.
    Very difficult to get Ilish in Mumbai, specially where I stay. BTW did you read that this time the ilish prices rose to Rs 1600 a kg in Kolkata? Crazy.

  4. Amar dida korto eta, kintu curry pata dito na.
    Jibhe jol eshe gelo

  5. everyday u are having Hilsa kya?
    exclusive Hilsa series!!

  6. hi Sharmila,
    I'd heard abt this kinda dish from my in-laws side havent had the courage to taste it :) you've made it sound so chatkedar ;) should try it some time.

  7. I've never had tauk with rui Sangeeta! Will try out your idea. :-)

    Do try it out Sudeshna. :-)

    Thanks Somoo! :-)

    Too bad Aparna. And yes, bechara bangalir je ki hobe . :-)

    Darun lage .. tai na Sandeepa? :-)

    Story of my life Rush. I get a whole fish .. and by the time I get to finish it off ( half the time I can't) am so tired of Hilsa that I easily pass a whole year before I feel like having it again. :-)

    It is chatakdar Suparna. Try it. :-)

  8. hey ...thanks so much. Had a box full of ilisher deem. And now inspirationn. So you are supposed to have this cold?

    Aparna, I got some fairly good ilish at Rs 250 a kg at Khar last wekend at Mumbai

  9. Thanks Cham! :-)

    Don't use up all of them Kalyan .. another recipe coming up. Warm / cold is entirely your choice. If you are having this for the first time, try both ways and decide. :-)
    250/- a kilo? Lucky you! :-)

    Thanks Parita! :-)

  10. Ei recipe ekdom notun type er..Khub bhalo laglo..Kheteo darun hobe..Ilish machh to amar bhishon priyo...Uff dekhe mone hochhe ekhoni baniye khai.

  11. Sharmila ji
    Illish muchh er dim er ambol, bhai khoa hoe otheni kakhono, bhaja hole phriye jai. jadi lobh samlate pari tabe hate pare ambol. Ekhane illish nei, jungle thaki bhari mon kharap koriye dilen.
    If you are not a Bengali then please pardon. Illish muchh reminds me only bengal and I am a simple pure Bengali( Ghatti).

  12. Baniye felo Babli. Priyo ilish beshidin pabena. :-)

    Pradipda, ami bangali ar bengal er baireyi thaki. It reminds me of home too and so all this enthusiasm regarding it and recreating its recipes thinking of home.

    Ami toh nijer jonne banayi, tachara ebare ekta boro maach peyechilam ... tai prochur dim chilo ... as a reslt eto gulo recipe. :-)

  13. curry pata diye eta kono din khayi ni.. sarmila tomar ilish er fest cholchay:-) ami ekhane kothaye macher dim paabo? kintu amar to bhison khete ichey korchay.. ki shob nostalgic jibhe jol asha recipe post korcho:-(

  14. Sharmila,
    eto shob bhalo ranna, ami ki kori ,khete parchinaa ,bolo to ?
    darun hoyeche dimer tok...
    hugs n smiles

  15. Soma ... amar ma curry pata dito .. tai amio follow korchi. Okhane kono bangaldeshi fishwalar khoj koro ... usually orai jogar kore deye. :-)

    Jaya .. ki je kori ... shobai amar recipe dekhe eto koshto paccho ... amar e kharap lagche post kore. :-)

  16. I turned to your blog yesterday because my husband, who is very very fond of ilish macher mathar ombol, wanted me to cook the same. Just couldn't find what I was looking for, though. Please enlighten....wonderful blog btw

  17. Sunetra ... I realise I am a little late. Sorry for that.
    I'll post it as soon as I can.

    Actually you can make it the same way this recipe says ... I did both the macher dim and matha together. Just wanted to make different post ... and got delayed.

    Follow this recipe and instead of the macher dim add the fried and smashed ilisher maatha. That's all. :-)
    If you like, you can add a little mustard paste to the ambol too ... but that is optional.

    Thanks for liking my blog. :-)


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