Friday, 24 July 2015

Ilish er Muri Ghonto / Hilsa head cooked with rice and spices

"There she goes again! She and her Ilish!"

I know, I know. I have a little too many Ilish recipes on my blog.
But then, I am sure you are not complaining. Or are you?
Come monsoons and I do buy at least one Hilsa fish to satiate my cravings for it. After all, I wait patiently the whole year through and never make do with the false ones, from the shores of Gujarat or Andhra, that make their way into the markets through out the year.
And my fishwala never disappoints me too.
"Aapke liye sirf Kalkatta Hilsa", he says.

And when I get that more than one kilo of divinely smelling fish home, I have to rustle up all the recipes I know with the Ilish.
The head, the tail, the petis, the gadas,  the roe ... all have different recipes to go into.
And I make full use of them.
Resulting in a happy me, with a zen like smile on my face, that you can get to see only on a cat after it leaves a kitchen that has just seen fish cooked.
And some good Ilish posts.
And a grumpy B, who has to suffer through these 2 months of monsoons when I get the Ilish home.
But this year, I haven't brought an Ilish home; not yet.
I had a couple of recipes lying around from last to last year and hence making some posts.
The last one and this. I don't think I have anymore.
And I don't think I will be cooking the Ilish this time.
Will go to my current favourite Assamese restaurant when I get the craving.

Of late, I have seen a number of people coming over here, browse through and then only too soon I see a post on their blogs.
Most of them think they are savvy enough to make changes to the recipe by adding a spoonful of an unnecessary ingredient just to make it look different. Like adding jeera to a recipe that has mustard seeds as tempering is so out and out foolish.
And sometimes a shoddy photograph along with one of mine.
I am assuming that they are new bloggers but at times there are older bloggers too.
All I say to them is dear ones, do be a little original.
I know these recipes are common but there can be a whole bunch of changes in them from family to family.
Like picking up my Thamma's recipe and saying it is your cook's recipe is just not done.

And as for plagiarism of ideas, I really have nothing to say.
Have long given up hope of seeing any light in these blokes' brains.
Coming to today's recipe,  I had made a light Ilish er jhol with cumin and ginger paste.
Remember?  If not, it is here.

So I had this masala left and wanted to use it with the Ilish head this time.
Did not want an ambol or tauk.
So decided on the muri ghonto.

I had never made muri ghonto with anything other than the Rui or the Katla head. So this was going to be new.  It does not have any onion or garlic and hence can be called a Niramish muri ghonto too. 

The fact that Ilish has a lot more and much finer bones in the head did not deter me at all.
My Dadu, Ma's father, was well known for his ability to chew and finish off all the bones of  the Ilish head. 
And as his grand daughter, the least I could do was to try it once.

 Need :

For the Jeera paste : -
Jeera / Cumin seeds - around 5 tbsp, soak for around 3 hours
Ginger - 1 and ½" piece
Whole red chillies - 4 (if you like spicy then use around 6 or 7)
Tomato - 2 medium sized

Other ingredients : -

Ilish head - 1 , cleaned and marinated with a little turmeric powder+salt
Tej pata / Bay leaves - 2
Rice - 1 cup, washed and soaked ( I used Basmati )
Cooking oil - 2 + 2 tbsp ( I use Mustard oil )
Ghee - 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Whole red chillies - 2, broken
Lemon juice - 4 tbsp
Bhaja moshla - 1 tbsp
The jeera paste - 3 tbsp 
Salt - to taste
Water - 2 cups

How to :

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a heavy kadahi / wok.
Lightly fry the fish head, break into pieces and keep aside.

In another kadahi / wok, heat 2 tbsp oil + ghee.

Add the bay leaves + whole red chillies + the jeera paste.

Stir well and keep frying till oil starts to leave the sides.

Add the rice and lightly fry.

Raise heat, add the fish head pieces + turmeric powder + lemon juice + salt + water.

Cover and cook till rice is just done.

Remove cover, sprinkle the bhaja moshla all over, give a light toss and cover.

Switch off heat after 5 minutes and let it stand for another 5 minutes.


I like to keep the rice grains fluffy and separated though traditionally the muri ghonto is slightly sticky.
You can add chopped potatoes to it too.

I love it just as it is.
As a whole meal, if I do not have guests.

Rustle up a salad or a raita and you are good to go.

Here is a list of my Ilish / Hilsa recipes to enjoy in this monsoon. 


  1. রবিবার দুপুরের লাঞ্চ ঠিক করে ফেললাম। আজ বাড়ি ফেরার পথে ইলিশ কিনে নেব। অনেক ধন্যবাদ, শর্মিলা।

    1. Arey bah Kuntala! Ilish anle ambol ta o ekbaar kore dekho. Enjoy! :-)

  2. You always have yumm stuffs to show! :)

  3. Hi.. Real long time.. Lovely post..

    About plagiarism.. I know it will make your posts less delectable but put ur name across..diagonally opposite..

    It just hurts, I know it does .. Hope so it gets sorted..take care


    1. Thanks Ash! Plagiarists know how to remove watermarks too. And then there is text and ideas too ... can't do anything about them.


Thank you for sharing Kichu Khonn( a few moments ) with me in my kitchen!