If you are a bong, then this must be your most awaited part of the year. With the arrival of monsoon at this time of the year, the local markets get flooded with hilsa in large numbers. The hilsa loving bongs get crazy and to satisfy their love for hilsa, they try out various preparations of this fish. Seeing the local craze for hilsa, the restaurants in the city come up with special menu and festivals to attract hilsa lovers. To set a new trend, several restaurants are focussing more on innovation and fusion dishes with hilsa, thereby making an attempt to change the way by which we are used to have it. Thus, the authentic and traditional hilsa preparations are slowly losing their charm. Noticing this fact, De Sovrani, Salt Lake has launched a wide range of authentic hilsa preparations whose origin is Bangladesh.
Panchphoron was invited at the inauguration of ‘Dhakar Swade Ilish Patey’ festival at De Sovrani. The name of the festival means that the hilsa preparations of Dhaka will be served to your plates. This is obviously a great opportunity for fish lovers to taste such authentic recipes which are extremely rare to find in any restaurant. There are fifteen different hilsa preparations, each of which comes with two pieces of fish along with a platter consisting of steamed rice, veg, dal, fries and a dessert. So, ordering a dish of hilsa from here will itself serve as a meal for a single person.
Coming to the ambience, the place is classy and elegant. Starting from the furniture to the décor everything is top notch ! The top view of the road from the glass wall is quite amazing !
Now, the fifteen hilsa preparations that have been introduced are :
1. Dhakai Ilish Bhapa ( ₹745 ) – Though a very common name, the taste was very different from the normal household preparation. Steamed hilsa was cooked slowly with mustard paste and grated coconut. The fish was fresh, indicating that the fish was of fine quality. The mustard gravy was absolutely lip smacking.
2. Ilish paturi ( ₹745 ) – The fish was first marinated with chillies, mustard paste and hung curd, followed by wrapping it in a banana leaf and then steamed ! The presentation was really well as was its taste !
3. Ilish er korma ( ₹725 ) – Had heard much of chicken or mutton korma, but ilish korma was something much unique. The fish was cooked with onion and poppy seeds in a rich gravy.
4. Ilish pur-e bhapa patol ( ₹699 ) – Patol or parwal is something I really hate so initially I was hesitant to have it. But when it has hilsa stuffed in, I decided to give this a try. And, it was amazing ! Boneless hilsa was cooked in garlic and chilli tempered poppy seed paste and stuffed into parwal. The result was something unexpected and it was the magic of the hilsa that took the dish to another level. This is something one must order !
5. Ilish er kofta curry ( ₹725 ) – Boneless hilsa was fried into kofta balls and cooked in a tomato and onion based spicy gravy. The koftas were very good as was the gravy. I believe this is their specialty.
6. Gondhoraj ilish ( ₹725 ) – The fish was cooked in a gravy flavoured with gondhoraj lemon and tempered with nigella seeds. This dish was packed with flavours. The slight bitterness of gondhoraj imparted an unique taste to the dish.
7. Kochu saag diye ilish ( ₹725 ) – Hilsa was cooked with the stem of taro (kochu). Don’t confuse this as the head of hilsa being served in a mass of veggies. Here, pieces of hilsa are served for a change.
8. Tele begune ilish ( ₹725 ) – The fish was cooked with brinjal in a light gravy. This is one of the oldest and traditional recipes using hilsa. One who is used to having this in their childhood days, is bound to feel nostalgic !
9. Ilish er Tel jhal ( ₹725 ) – Hilsa was cooked with cumin, green chillies and ginger paste in a light, spicy gravy and tempered with nigella seeds. This had a very homely touch and I loved the simplicity with which it was prepared.
10. Lotika ilish ( ₹745 ) – The fish was cooked in a blended curry of grated coconut, mustard paste and taro stolons. This was really unique and one must try this out to experience the authenticity of this dish.
11. Kancha Lonka dhone pata bata bhape ilish ( ₹745 ) – The fish was steamed in a paste of fresh coriander leaves and green chillies. The presentation is really tempting and one can obviously try out this spicy and tangy hilsa preparation.
12. Kalo jeere kancha Lonka diye ilish ( ₹699 ) – This is a traditional dish where hilsa is cooked with nigella seeds and green chillies. This light yet spicy preparation is sure to impress you !
13. Ilish er muro diye ghonto ( ₹345 ) – Don’t confuse this as muri ghonto. Instead, this is muro diye ghonto, wherein mixed vegetable is tempered with Panchphoron and cooked with the fried head of hilsa. This is one of my favorites.
14. Ilish er kofta polao ( ₹725 ) – I can bet most of you haven’t heard of this. I can relate this to awadhi biryani which has mutton kofta balls but ilish kofta is something more heavenly than I ever think of. And when, this awesome thing is presented before you by De Sovrani, then it would be wise not to miss this out. The koftas of hilsa were cooked with basmati rice and spices, giving it a fine aroma and taste.
15. Ilish biryani ( ₹725 ) – Bored with mutton and chicken biryanis? Then, just try this out for a change and obviously this will bring a smile in your face by its delightful flavours. Moreover the biryani has been cooked in dum pukht style, which is an additional benefit.
Apart from these fifteen hilsa preparations, there is a hilsa thali which includes steamed rice, dal, shak bhaja, 4 types of fries, one veg dish, one hilsa preparation, one chicken preparation, chatni, papad, curd and sweets. The pricing of the above mentioned dishes are exclusive of government taxes.
Overall, it’s time to relish and get nostalgic at De Sovrani with the traditional flavours which one had been missing out. The fish has been treated with utmost care and paired with ingredients that make it even more delectable. The festival starts from 5th August and ends on 14th August. So, hilsa lovers, this is something you shouldn’t miss out. Visit De Sovrani and try the amazing Hilsa preparations before the festival expires !