The most celebrated Bengali steamed fish dish is Ilish Bhapa, made with Steamed Hilsa. However, good Hilsa is only available and affordable during the monsoon season, which makes this version with Rohu a boon for all Bhapa Machh (steamed fish) enthusiasts.
Interestingly, my sister is not a fan of eating fish. However, the blend of mustard, green chillies, and coconut in this recipe is the only way to sway her taste buds. Therefore, my mother often prepares this dish, not only to encourage her to eat more fish but also because we all enjoy a good serving of Rui Bhapa with Gorom Bhaat (hot rice) every now and then at home.
- Rohu (Rui) fish: 300 grams
- Black mustard: 2 tsp
- Yellow mustard: 2 tsp
- Poppy seeds (posto): 1½ tsp
- Green chillies: 3 (for marinade); a few more (for garnishing)
- Freshly grated coconut: ½ cup
- Curd: 2 tbsp
- Turmeric powder: 1 tsp
- Chopped ginger: ½ tsp
- Turmeric powder: ½ tsp
- Salt to taste
- Sugar: 1 tsp
- Mustard oil: 2 tbsp
- Begin by soaking the mustard seeds and poppy seeds in water for 30 minutes.
- After soaking, strain the seeds and transfer them to a mixer jar.
- Add the coconut, green chillies, salt, sugar, and turmeric to the mixer jar. Incorporate a few tablespoons of water to facilitate the formation of a smooth paste.
- Transfer the smooth paste to a heatproof box, then add curd and a tablespoon of mustard oil. Mix thoroughly to combine.
- Taste the paste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
- Submerge the fish pieces in the marinade, making sure to thoroughly massage the fish with the paste.
- Drizzle a tablespoon of mustard oil on top and place a slit green chilli on each fish.
- Cover the box and let the fish marinate for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a pot, bring some water to a boil. Place a small wire rack at the bottom of the pot, and set the box on the rack.
- Cover the pot and steam cook the fish on high heat for 15 minutes.
- Once done, remove the box from the pot and let it rest on the counter for 10 minutes.
- After resting, uncover the box and serve the fish with hot steamed rice.
Watch this recipe here – Rui Bhapa
Meet Binita, a passionate culinary aficionado whose love for food led her to make a remarkable career shift. Originally a practising engineer, Binita decided to let her gastronomic passion take centre stage. Now, she artfully creates content, showcasing the tantalising delights of Bengali cuisine. Through her journey in the world of social media, Binita not only shares her love for food but also invites her audience to immerse themselves in the rich, flavorful world of Bengali culinary traditions.
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