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Botanical Name: Tenualosa ilisha
Species: T. ilisha
*Clupanodon ilisha Hamilton, 1822
*Clupea ilisha (Hamilton, 1822)
*Hilsa ilisha (Hamilton, 1822)
*Macrura ilisha (Hamilton, 1822)
*Tenualosa illisha (Hamilton, 1822)
*Tenualosa illsha (Hamilton, 1822)
*Clupea palasah Cuvier, 1829
Common Names: ilish, hilsa, hilsa herring or hilsa shad
Other Names: Ellis, palla fish, hilsha etc. Bengali: ilish, Gujarati: Modar or Palva, Odia: Sindh?: pallu machhi, Telugu: pulasa or polasa : Tamil – ‘Ullam’. The ilish word is also used in India’s Assamese, Bengali-, Odia- and Telugu-speaking regions and in Pakistan’s Sindh province. In Iraq it is Called Sboor In Malaysia and Indonesia, it is commonly known as terubuk. Due to its unique features of oily and tender, some Malays call it TERUBUK UMNO.
Hilsa fish is a species of fish in the herring family (Clupeidae), and a popular food fish in South Asia. The fish contributes about 12% of the total fish production and about 1% of GDP in Bangladesh. About 450,000 people are directly involved with the catching for livelihood; around four to five million people are indirectly involved with the trade. It is also the national fish of Bangladesh.
The fish is marine; freshwater; brackish; pelagic-neritic; anadromous; depth range ? – 200 m. Within a tropical range; 34°N – 5°N, 42°E – 97°E in marine and freshwater. It can grow up to 60 cm in length with weights of up to 3 kg. It is found in rivers and estuaries in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Burma and the Persian Gulf area where it can be found in the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in and around Iran and Iraq. It has no dorsal spines but 18 – 21 dorsal soft rays and anal soft rays. The belly has 30 to 33 scutes. There is a distinct median notch in upper jaw. Gill rakers fine and numerous, about 100 to 250 on lower part of arch and the fins are hyaline. The fish shows a dark blotch behind gill opening, followed by a series of small spots along the flank in juveniles. Color in life, silver shot with gold and purple. The species filter feeds on plankton and by grubbing muddy bottoms. The fish schools in coastal waters and ascends up the rivers (anadromous) for around 50 – 100 km to spawn during the South West monsoons (June to September) and also in January to April . April is the most fertile month for breeding of ilish. The young fish returning to the sea are known in Bangladesh as jatka, which includes any ilish fish up to 9 inches long.
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The fish is popular food amongst the people of South Asia and in the Middle East, but especially with Bengalis. It is the national fish of Bangladesh. Bengali fish curry is a popular dish made with mustard oil or seed. It is also popular in India, especially West Bengal, Odisha, Tripura, Assam, Andhra Pradesh and Southern Gujarat and in Mizoram and it is also exported globally.
In North America (where ilish is not always readily available) other shad fish are sometimes used as an ilish substitute, especially in Bengali cuisine. This typically occurs near the East coast of North America, where fresh shad fish having similar taste can be found.
In Bangladesh, fish are caught in the Padma-Meghna-Jamuna delta, which flows into the Bay of Bengal and Meghna (lower Brahmaputra), and Jamuna rivers. In India, the Rupnarayan (which has the Kolaghater Ilish), Ganges, Mahanadi, Chilka Lake, Narmada and Godavari rivers are also famous. In Pakistan, fish are caught in the Indus River. They are also caught in the sea, but some consider the marine stage of the fish as not so tasty. The fish has very sharp and tough bones, making it problematic to eat for some.
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(cumin) 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.
All figures below are expressed per 100g edible portion.
Energy (Calories)……262 Kcals/Calories
Energy (Kilojoules)…..1088 KJ
Research has shown that eating fish and shellfish regularly is beneficial to our bodies in many ways; here are ten great reasons to introduce a little more seafood into your diet.
1. Great for your heart
It’s no coincidence that fish-eating Inuit populations in the Arctic have low levels of heart disease; seafood is low in saturated fat and high in omega-3, (which can both) protect the heart from disease and lower the amount of cholesterol in the blood. One study has even suggested that an extra portion of fish every week can cut risk of heart disease in half.
2. Clearing the vessels
Eating fish can improve your circulation and reduce the risk of thrombosis. The EPA and DHA – omega-3 oils – in seafood can save your body from having to produce eicosanoids, a hormone-like substance which can make you more likely to suffer from blood clots and inflammation.
3. Joint benefits:
Eating fish as a regular part of a balanced diet has been shown to ease the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, a condition which causes the joins to swell up. Recent research has also found a link between omega-3 fats and osteoarthritis, suggesting that eating more seafood could help to prevent the disease.
4. The eyes have it:
Eating oil-rich fish regularly can help to keep the eyes bright and healthy. A recent study has suggested that omega-3 fatty acids can help to protect the eyesight of those suffering from age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition which causes the retina to degenerate and the eyesight to become blurred. Fish and shellfish also contain retinol, a form of vitamin A which boosts night vision.
5. Essential nutrients:
Seafood provides the body with many essential nutrients which keep us running smoothly, including iodine, selenium, zinc and potassium. Iodine is important for the thyroid gland, and selenium makes enzymes which can help to protect us from cancer. Fish and shellfish are also excellent sources of many vitamins, including vitamins A and D.
6. Take a deep breath:
A number of studies have indicated that fish and shellfish may help to protect our lungs. Not only can seafood relieve the symptoms of asthma in children, but it has shown signs of preventing it. Eating a lot of fish can also keep your lungs stronger and healthier as you age in comparison to those who don’t eat a lot of fish.
7. Brighten your outlook:
Seafood may also play a large part in preventing depression; research has highlighted links between low omega-3 levels and a higher risk of depression. Seafood could also help us to avoid Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and post-natal depression.
8. Your skin looks great:
Not only does omega-3 help to protect the skin from the harmful effects of the UV damage, but eating lots of fish can also help with the symptoms of skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Fish is also a great source of protein, which is an essential ingredient of collagen, a substance which keeps the skin firm and flexible.
9. Good for down below:
Evidence suggests that a diet rich in fish oils can help to protect us against serious inflammatory bowel diseases (BD) including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. There is also evidence to suggest that omega-3 could help to slow the progression of inflammatory bowel disease in some sufferers.
10. Boost your brainpower:
The human brain is almost 60% fat, with much of this being omega-3 fat. Probably for this reason, research has indicated that people who eat plenty of seafood are less likely to suffer dementia and memory problems in later life. DHA, an omega-3 fat found in seafood, has also been linked to improvements in children’s concentration, reading skills, behaviour, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.