Shorshe Maach / Tilapia in Mustard Sauce – Guest Post for Vijitha @ Spices N Aroma

shorshe maach 7

I just came back from an amazing trip and we enjoyed every single minute of it! Will share some photos very soon and until then I have this spicy fish recipe from my homeland Kolkata.

If I have to pick one dish that I’ll never get bored of eating, it would be Bhapa Ilish (steamed hilsa fish in mustard sauce). Every Bengali soul can relate to this dish in their own little way. It’s one of my favorite dishes and a delicacy in Bengali Cuisine.

Hilsa fish, or Ilish mach as we call it in Bengali, is a sea fish but it is mainly available in the major Bangladesh rivers. Ilish is also caught from the sea but these are not as tasty as those caught from the river. As much as I enjoy fresh fish, I don’t mind frozen fish at times. Having said that, Ilish is one such fish I like to eat fresh and only fresh!

Back at home, whenever Mom cooks with Ilish, the whole house would get filled with warm aromatic flavors and it becomes very difficult not to feel hungry instantly.

Shorshe Maach / Tilapia in Mustard Sauce - Guest Post for Vijitha @ Spices N Aroma 1

Few weeks back, Vijitha of Spices N Aroma reached out to me to do a guest post for the series Friendship chain – spread the specialty, started by Anamika of Taste Junction.

I started visiting Vijitha’s blog couple of months back and within the first few weeks, we became friends – exchanging emails and chatting non-stop. She stays close to my house and we are planning to meet up sometime soon! Yes, you heard me right.. meet up in person 🙂

She loves to share recipes that she has grown up eating and gives extreme importance to the freshness of the ingredients. In her beautiful space, you can find every different variety of food including south beach diet and weight-loss food.. pretty incredible, huh!

When she told me that she enjoys seafood, ‘Bhapa Ilish’ immediately popped in my mind. Ever since I moved to California, I have been looking for Hilsa/Ilish fish and had no luck so far, so I used Tilapia for this dish.

Shorshe Maach / Tilapia in Mustard Sauce - Guest Post for Vijitha @ Spices N Aroma 2

In Bengali, Shorshe is mustard and Maach is fish and since I was not using Ilish, hence the name… Shoshe Mach 🙂

Typically, we use mustard seeds and mustard oil for this dish and that gives it a strong pungent taste, which I absolutely enjoy. If you want to mellow it down, you can add some coconut milk or grated coconut or even some plain yogurt to the sauce.

Shorshe Maach / Tilapia in Mustard Sauce - Guest Post for Vijitha @ Spices N Aroma 3

Another key ingredient to remember is green chili. You can use as much or as little you want. I have not seen my Mom using a lot of red chili powder in her cooking, but she always uses green chili and that adds an interesting flavor to the dish without making it super hot!

Shorshe Maach / Tilapia in Mustard Sauce - Guest Post for Vijitha @ Spices N Aroma 4

I used a bamboo steamer to steam the fish, but you can always bake it in the oven or use any other steamer. Just wrap the fish tightly in an aluminum foil or parchment paper and it should be fine. Depending on the fish you chose to use, steaming time may differ.

 Shorshe Maach / Tilapia in Mustard Sauce - Guest Post for Vijitha @ Spices N Aroma 5

 It took me about 10 minutes to cook the fish.

Shorshe Maach / Tilapia in Mustard Sauce - Guest Post for Vijitha @ Spices N Aroma 6

shorshe maach 7

Shorshe Maach / Tilapia in Mustard Sauce


  • 2 fish fillet, I used tilapia
  • 2 tbs mustard seeds
  • 3 green chilies
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 tbs oil, preferably mustard oil but I used canola oil
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • chopped cilantro, for garnish
  • a pinch of sugar
  • Salt


  1. Grind the mustard seeds to fine dust.
  2. Using a food processor, grate the onion and 1 green chili.
  3. Mix the powdered mustard seeds with grated onion, turmeric powder, oil and salt.
  4. Rub the mixture nicely on the fish fillet.
  5. Arrange each fish separately on an aluminum foil or parchment paper.
  6. Slit 2 green chilies in half, place on top of the fillets and wrap the fish properly.
  7. Let it rest for 15 minutes. Then, steam it for 10 minutes.
  8. Before you open it up, let it rest for 5 minutes.
  9. Garnish with cilantro and enjoy it with white rice.

Shorshe Maach / Tilapia in Mustard Sauce - Guest Post for Vijitha @ Spices N Aroma 7

Did you enjoy this Shorshe Maach / Tilapia in Mustard Sauce - Guest Post for Vijitha @ Spices N Aroma? Share your creation by tagging @playfulcooking on Instagram with the #playfulcooking and I will re-share in my story!

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Comments are closed.

  • Priyanka
    September 8, 2011 at 11:35 AM

    Nice baking option…
    Looks very tempting too 🙂

  • Vijitha
    September 8, 2011 at 11:38 AM

    Thanks for the lovely post sweety!

  • joanne
    September 8, 2011 at 1:43 PM

    It looks so good. I love Tilapia. It’s an easy fish to cook, very unintimidating and so mild.

  • Barefeet In The Kitchen
    Barefeet In The Kitchen
    September 8, 2011 at 1:43 PM

    Gorgeous photos! I’m off to look at the recipe now.

  • Divya
    September 8, 2011 at 1:44 PM

    Gorgeous pics! The dish looks really tempting.

  • Suzi
    September 8, 2011 at 1:45 PM

    Hi Kankana, hope you had a nice vacation. I am going over to Spice n Aroma next to read the rest of the ingredients. They look delicious. I have changed the theme of my site so it looks different now, let me know what you think. Thanks!

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      September 8, 2011 at 7:59 PM

      I was checking your site when your comment came:) I like the new look!

  • Liren
    September 8, 2011 at 2:01 PM

    Oh how lovely. I am so glad you had a good vacation. This dish looks just perfect on a hot September day like today. The mustard is such a beautiful sunny hue!

  • Christine
    September 8, 2011 at 2:26 PM

    Thanks for a great post.

  • Nishi
    September 8, 2011 at 2:41 PM

    Even though I am a hard core vegetarian, I can’t help but admire the deep yellow colour in this dish. Loved the shot of the mustard seeds. 🙂

  • Kiran @
    Kiran @
    September 8, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    Mmm… Delicious looking recipe. I love anything and everything fish. Hopping over for the recipe, thanks for sharing 🙂

  • tigerfish
    September 8, 2011 at 4:24 PM

    Wow, you are fast in the kitchen whipping up delicious dishes right after your trip!

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      September 8, 2011 at 8:00 PM

      Oh no .. i made this earlier last week 🙂 I am being very lazy since I returned from the trip !

  • sally
    September 8, 2011 at 5:55 PM

    This mustard sauce looks wonderful! I can’t wait to see some pictures from your trip!

  • Ann
    September 8, 2011 at 6:44 PM

    I’m allergic to fish, but this is absolutely stunning! Your pictures are a feast for the eyes!

  • Manu
    September 8, 2011 at 7:03 PM

    Gorgeous pictures as always!
    That sauce looks delicious! I love mustard oil and mustard seeds… I can almost smell them!!!! Looking forward to seeing the pictures of your holiday!

  • Kalyani
    September 8, 2011 at 7:15 PM

    Wow wonderful dish and lovely clicks ….. Thanks for a lovely comment on my blog …. Following u ……

  • Ryan
    September 8, 2011 at 7:29 PM

    Gorgeous photos! This dish is so beautiful with all of the vibrant colors. You did a wonderful job explaining all of the different tastes and it sounds lovely with the chilies and mustard seeds. I would love to try this!

  • Reem
    September 8, 2011 at 8:46 PM


    I must say thanks for this one dear…
    Lovely!!!!! and look at the pictures, I have never found mustard looking so sexy as here LOL
    How was your trip, will email u tmrw my dear in detail..

  • Julie
    September 8, 2011 at 8:51 PM

    Wow.. That’s a yummy fish recipe…looks mouthwatering!!
    Thanx again for dropping at my space with your responses!

  • Indrani
    September 8, 2011 at 9:55 PM

    Sorshe mach just looks like sunshine on ur plate…pics are absolutely treat for the eyes,so wonderful, darun dekhte hoyeche ek kathai

  • Richa@HobbyandMore
    [email protected]
    September 8, 2011 at 9:59 PM

    lovely clicks.. esp the mustard seeds.. that shot is amazing.. that mustard sauce will taste yummy with some tofu!

  • Treat and Trick
    Treat and Trick
    September 8, 2011 at 10:15 PM

    I love fish and yours looks so tempting with that lovely mustard. Off to check the recipe….

  • My Wandering Spoon
    My Wandering Spoon
    September 8, 2011 at 10:23 PM

    Very nice post, wonderful dish…traveling is amazing time to experience different types of foods and spices:)

  • Alyssa
    September 8, 2011 at 10:26 PM

    What a beautiful presentation. This fish sounds lovely!

  • Charles
    September 9, 2011 at 12:55 AM

    “without making it super hot!” – haha, I guess that depends on the chillies used! 😀 I enjoy spicy stuff, but I’ve had some bad experiences with green chillies too! Beautiful looking dish – especially the photographs, wow!

  • Kala
    September 9, 2011 at 2:31 AM

    Fantastic presentation of the subjects as always. Sounds delicious too.

  • nancy at good food matters
    nancy at good food matters
    September 9, 2011 at 5:17 AM

    with its bright sunny color, this fish dish fits perfectly with your blog–I enjoyed reading about your home-cooking tradition, and can imagine that this has vibrant flavors. Beautiful post.

  • Rosa
    September 9, 2011 at 5:59 AM

    That fish dish must taste exquisite! I love tilapia and the spices you used. Wonderful.



  • Kitchen Belleicious
    Kitchen Belleicious
    September 9, 2011 at 6:19 AM

    I am obsessed with putting mustard on any and everything. I think it has such a wonderful flavor and tang to it- especially if you use spicy brown mustard. This tilapia with mustard sauce sounds like something my husband would die for! Great recipe!

  • Angie@Angiesrecipes
    [email protected]
    September 9, 2011 at 6:34 AM

    Look so yummy and tempting!

  • Krithi
    September 9, 2011 at 7:34 AM

    This is one gorgeous looking dish Kankana… would love to taste!
    You could send this to our event happening at my place!!
    Krithi’s Kitchen
    Event: Serve It – Steamed

  • Jana @ delectablymine
    Jana @ delectablymine
    September 9, 2011 at 8:36 AM

    You post such interesting recipes and they all look so beautiful. It’s time for me to try something new, you’ve inspired me (and made me hungry!).

  • Tadka Pasta
    Tadka Pasta
    September 9, 2011 at 9:35 AM

    Oh! That is just lovely. How nice that one can bake/steam this. Gorgeous pics!

  • Nami | Just One Cookbook
    Nami | Just One Cookbook
    September 9, 2011 at 10:16 AM

    Whoa…beautiful color. Japanese food doesn’t have this beautiful yellow color in food and I’m just mesmerized. Steaming fish is a nice healthy choice and I love this dish! Going to Spices n Aroma now.

  • Liz
    September 9, 2011 at 10:38 AM

    Lovely guest post…and your photos are just spectacular~

  • Baker Street
    Baker Street
    September 9, 2011 at 11:43 AM

    Lovely guest post! I love mustard fish.

  • Sobha Shyam
    Sobha Shyam
    September 9, 2011 at 1:01 PM

    interesting fish recipe, nice to know that u had a great time..amazing clicks dear !!

  • Tanvi@SinfullySpicy
    [email protected]
    September 9, 2011 at 1:13 PM

    Oh my..this is one of my fav fish preparations too…love the fact that its super healthy & so easy to make. Love your bright pictures & the beautiful color ! Someone tell my husband that fish tastes awesome!! 🙁
    Have a great weekend!

  • sarah
    September 9, 2011 at 3:45 PM

    I can see why you would never get bored of eating this dish- it looks and sounds fantastic!! I’m always looking for new fish recipes and this one is getting bookmarked for sure!

  • Tanvi @ The Hathi Cooks
    Tanvi @ The Hathi Cooks
    September 9, 2011 at 4:05 PM

    I’m so excited you posted this recipe! Can’t wait to try making it!

  • Swathi
    September 9, 2011 at 5:14 PM

    Kankana, this mustard fish is ultimate Bengali meal. Looks awesome.

  • gloria
    September 9, 2011 at 5:41 PM

    Look delicious!! gloria

  • foodwanderings
    September 9, 2011 at 6:23 PM

    This is fabtastic Kankana. I never had Indian mustard fish. Lobely pics, my favorite is the bucket of mustards:). Have agreat weekend and cannot wait to hear about your trip.

  • aipi
    September 9, 2011 at 6:54 PM

    Such a classic dish Kankana n your pics n presentation are totally doing it justice! Love the yellow tint in the pics!

  • Anita Menon
    Anita Menon
    September 9, 2011 at 10:11 PM

    The fish looks so good, but I am vegetarian these days. Again the photographs might just force me to go back to my meat eating days. simply gorgeous, Kankana

  • Kalyan
    September 9, 2011 at 10:15 PM

    You can really feel the smell of the mustard from the pics itself…just looks mouthwatering and can’t wait to try it this weekend.

  • Amy Tong
    Amy Tong
    September 9, 2011 at 10:38 PM

    What a beautiful dish with vibrant color from the spices! It’s such a light and healthy dish as well. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a Ilish before. I think tilapia is a nice substitute that I an easily found here. 🙂 Thanks for sharing the story behind this recipe. I always enjoy reading them.

  • christine
    September 10, 2011 at 2:10 AM

    Glad to have met you via Kankana’s blog. Both of you have beautiful blogs with captivating stories and delicious recipes. This mustard seeds sauce sounds so yummy! I will try it! Thanks for sharing.

  • Shinta
    September 10, 2011 at 2:14 AM

    This is so amazing kankana… I am very partial to Bengali cuisine, having very close Bong friends… and this looks divine. Are you using a dim-sum steamer for this? As always, love the mix of colors you have in the picture !

  • Dee Dee's Delights
    Dee Dee's Delights
    September 10, 2011 at 7:50 AM

    Congrats on the top 9! This looks soooooo good!!

  • Sissi
    September 10, 2011 at 10:16 AM

    Wonderful fish recipe and if even tilapia tastes wonderful prepared this way, then your mustard sauce is definitely worth trying! I also prefer sometimes using green hot peppers, my impression is that they have a certain freshness red chilies lack…

  • Anamika
    September 11, 2011 at 8:47 AM

    Wow…the friendship chain has reached you. Truly trust the works of the friendship chain!! Great post..and I know how refreshing it must be to back from a trip 🙂

  • Roxana GreenGirl
    Roxana GreenGirl
    September 11, 2011 at 1:08 PM

    your fish sounds great. I love adding mustard seeds to my fish dishes but have never tried mustard oil. Gotta look for some.
    your photos are absolutely stunning Kankana!

  • Joanne
    September 11, 2011 at 6:18 PM

    I’m so glad you had such a fun trip! This mustard sauce looks delicious…rife with flavor!

  • The Yummy Morsel
    The Yummy Morsel
    September 12, 2011 at 5:47 AM

    Looks so yummy and delicious!

  • Jamie @ the unseasoned wok
    Jamie @ the unseasoned wok
    September 12, 2011 at 10:08 AM

    I can’t wait to hear about your trip! I need a vacation too. I doesn’t seem like I’ll get another one until next year. Your tilapia looks delicious! I think adding the coconut milk would make it perfect for me.

  • Tina (PinayInTexas)
    Tina (PinayInTexas)
    September 12, 2011 at 11:21 AM

    Another drool worthy dish from you, Kankana! Everything about this sounds heaven for me!

  • peachkins
    September 12, 2011 at 5:47 PM

    Tilapia is the only fish that I could eat everyday!great recipe…

  • lisaiscooking
    September 12, 2011 at 7:09 PM

    This sounds so good with the mustard oil! I love spicy fish. I’d love to try this.

  • Sandra's Easy Cooking
    Sandra's Easy Cooking
    September 12, 2011 at 7:24 PM

    I am blown away by your photography..very very pretty and delicious looking dish Kankana..Thanks for sharing my friend and have a wonderful night!!!

  • torviewtoronto and createwithmom
    torviewtoronto and createwithmom
    September 14, 2011 at 2:20 PM

    saw your delicious looking fish Kankana looks wonderful

  • Liz
    September 21, 2011 at 8:56 AM

    So bright and beautiful with the mustard sauce! How nice you could recreate a dish with such nice memories 🙂 Off to read you guest post~

  • Yasmeen @ Wandering Spice
    Yasmeen @ Wandering Spice
    October 2, 2011 at 3:41 AM

    Gorgeous photos, gorgeous colors, undoubtedly gorgeous taste as well! I can imagine how the house would smell when your mother would make this. Like Heaven, I suppose.

  • Sea Cuisine
    Sea Cuisine
    November 4, 2011 at 6:15 AM

    Another amazing tilapia recipe! Would love to taste this with hilsa fish! I’m sure having the native fish will instantly transport you to Bangladesh!

  • Divya
    December 8, 2011 at 7:29 AM

    I tried this last night and I loved it! It was really quick to put together. It was a bit too bitter for me (maybe because I am a mustard virgin of sorts or maybe because I used the more pungent black mustard?) but adding some coconut milk produced a wonderful gravy and took away the bitterness. Thank you for this great recipe Kankana!