Nona ilish bhuna (Salted Hilsa fish curry)

    Sun dried salted Hilsa fishes can be preserved for 1-2 years.  The hilsa is preserved with salt so that fish lovers can be happy during those torturous months when raw fish is not available.  A layer of the fish is mixed with salt and kept in an earthenware pot. A second layer goes on top and so on till you reach the mouth of the pot, which is sealed with a muslin cloth. The pot is stored in fridge or in olden days, buried under the ground for months. The fish is washed for a long time as it contains a lot of salt, and then cooked as curry or stir fried. Enjoy this dish with plain steaming rice, round slices of onions and geen chilies.


    Dhaka, Bangladesh
    12 people made this


    • 4 nona ilish mach slices or salted sun dried Hilsa fish slices
    • 1/2 cup of soybean oil
    • 1 cup of onion slices
    • 1/2 teaspoon of ginger paste
    • 1/2 cup of garlic slices
    • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon of red chili powder
    • 4-5 green chilies cut in half along the length


    1. Wash the nona Ilish or sun dried salted Hilsa fish. There will be a lot of salt, so wash for a while.
    2. Cut the fish into small slices.
    3. Heat a frying pan with soybean oil. Add the onion and garlic slices and ginger paste, turmeric and red chili powders. Stir and cook until the ingredients are mixed well, and the water released dries up a bit and the oil starts to simmer on top.
    4. Add the salted sun dried fish slices. Pour in 1 cup of water. Stir and cook for 30 minutes with lid on.
    5. By now the onion and garlic slices should become soft. The strong smell of the spices will be gone as well, and the fish pieces will become oily and fried.
    6. Sprinkle the green chilies, simmer for 3-4 minutes and serve.

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