Monday, 14 September 2009

Ilisher Matha Diye Ambol / Hilsa Head in a Sweet and Sour Gravy

This is a hurried post ... so not too much of rambling today.

In my hurry to get over with my Ilish / Hilsa recipe series, I overlooked one recipe. The very favourite ambol / tauk / tok with ilish head.

And I got three requests ... two mails and one comment ... all in one day. So leaving aside a half done post, I am posting this for my readers. :-)

This recipe with ilisher matha / hilsa head, was a regular in my home .... my ma used tamarind while Thamma (grandmom) used dried mangoes ( there we call it amchur ... but now I know the powdered dry mango is actually called amchur) for the sourness.

And Thamma used to add a little diluted mustard paste to any ambol she cooked. I love the flavour ... but have not used it in my recipes.

In fact, since I was cooking for myself, I made the ambol for both the ilish roe and the head at one shot. ( You cannot miss the roe in the gravy). ;-)

Need : Ilisher matha bhaja / Hilsa head ... 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 : Break the fried fish head into medium 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.

If you want to add a little mustard paste, add now. 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 matha / fish head pieces and boil for some more time.
The consistency of the gravy for an ambol / tok / tauk is very thin ... almost watery. So keep that in mind when boiling it.

The ilish head has a very unique taste and after soaking up the gravy, it gets even more tastier and flavorful. Goes great with plain rice.

Scrunch on, dear all. Enjoy !! :-)


  1. All I can do is dream here. I would love to give it a try.

  2. Eitao amar dida korto. Ekhane Ma ba Sasuri Ma thakle kora hoy, ami chara ar keu khay na

  3. wow...amar kache ekta natun dish, aage kakhono khaini...tobe mourola macher tok khub priyo. Ilish anle try kore dekhbo :)

  4. Sharmila,
    eyi ta khokhono kayi ni ami...kinto tok/ambol dekhle jibhe jol ashe...thanks for sharing this..
    hugs and smiles

  5. swwet and sour gravy...awesome.
    its so great, knowing that a dish can be prepared in several different ways!!
    i saw cal u the hilsa lady ;) watsay?

  6. are killing me :) With your yummy fish recipes. I usually don't know what to do with Ilish fish head since it is stronger in taste..will give this recipe a shot! Just saying Ambol makes my mouth water..we call salted dry mangoes ambala :)

  7. Jibhe top top kor ejol chara ar kichui bolte parchina aaj:-)

  8. Ilish machh is my favourite dish but I have never tried with ilisher matha diye ambol. It looks delicious and must be very very tasty.

  9. wow - thats a lovely shot.. My favorite part of the fish - the head! I love it in poi khanta - this must be awesome too...

  10. Thanks Sharmila! Will go for it today. Thanks for the immediate response.

  11. Do try it ISG. :-)

    Sandeepa .. ekhaneo ami chara ar keu khaye na. :-)

    Tulip .. mourolar tok darun lage. :-)

    Jaya .. jodi ilisher matha bhalo lage ekbar try koro .. ambole darun! :-)

    Hilsa lady Rush? LOL.

    Right Pragyan .. ambula khatta. The hilsa head tastes wonderful in this due to its strong taste. :-)

    Kichu bolte hobena Soma. :-)

    Try it Babli ... bhalo lagbe. :-)

    Somoo .. poi ethi payeni. :-(

    My pleasure Sunetra! :-) Thanks for writing in. :-)

  12. I have never had this. Tok in my house is generally restricted to just mangoes.
    Looks like it is very easy to make. Will try when my parents come to visit this year. Kids and hubby are not too fond of fish.

  13. Choto macher ambal kheyechi..ilish diye khaini kakhono...such an authentic recipe, sharmila...thanks, will try for sure

  14. Love that creamy and yum looking gravy....

  15. Nice gravy..Looks yumm :) very different !!


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