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Each year a large number of fish are caught in the Padma-Meghna-Jamuna delta, which flows into the Bay of Bengal. It is a sea fish but it lay eggs in large rivers. After being born the young Ilish then swim back to the sea. They are caught before they swim to the sea. Ilish is also caught from the sea. However, those caught from the sea are not considered to be as tasty as those caught from the river. The fish is full of tiny bones which require trained eating/hands to handle.

In Southern Gujarat, Bharuch located on the banks of river Narmada is famous for this fish. The fish from Bharuch is in huge demand in Mumbai and is even exported to many foreign countries. The fish in coastal area of Gujarat is known as Modenn if it is female and Palva if it is young male.

As it is anadromous in nature, the Ilish lives in the sea for most of its life, but migrates up to 1,200 km inland through rivers in the Indian sub-continent for spawning. Distances of 50–100 km are usually normal in the Bangladesh rivers.

In Bangladesh, Ilish is mainly caught in the Padma (lower Ganges), Meghna (lower Brahmaputra), and Jamuna rivers. Those from the Padma are considered to be the best in taste. In India, the Rupnarayan, Ganges, Mahanadi, Chilka Lake, Narmada and Godavari rivers are famous for their tasty breeds. 

Ilish is also found in the deltaic region of southern Pakistan, in the province of Sindh. Here it is commonly referred to as the Palla fish. The fish was usually found in abundant quantities in the district of Thatta. Recently, however, the lower reaches of the Indus have dried up as water is stored upstream, and the Palla cannot make its journey into the river any more.


Panta Ilish - a traditional platter of congee with fried Ilish slice, supplemented with dried fish, pickles, dal, green chillies and onion - is a popular serving for the Pohela Boishakh festival.

Ilishi maachha curry with ginger mustard garlic paste in tomato seasoning in Odisha style in Oriya cuisine.

Shorshe Ilish, a dish of smoked ilish with mustard seeds, has been an important part of Bengali cuisine.

Ilish is an oily fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Recent experiments have shown its beneficial effects in decreasing cholesterol level in rats and insulin level.

In Bengal, ilish can be smoked, fried, steamed, baked in young plantain leaves, prepared with mustard seed paste, curd, Begun (eggplant), different condiments like jira and so on. It is said that people can cook ilish in more than 50 ways. Ilish roe is also popular as a side dish. Ilish can be cooked in very little oil since the fish itself is very oily.

In North America the shad fish is sometimes used as an Ilish substitute, especially in Bengali cuisine. This typically occurs near the East coast of North America, where fresh shad can be fished. The substitution is possible because of the fairly similar flavour and consistency of these two fish.

Read More at Wikipedia
Recipe for Ilish  Link1    Link 2

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