Taxobox | name = Hilsa

image_caption = Hilsa
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Actinopterygii
ordo = Clupeiformes
familia = Clupeidae
genus = Tenualosa
species = "T. ilisha"
binomial = "Tenualosa ilisha"
binomial_authority = (Hamilton, 1822)

Hilsa ( _bn. ইিলশ "Ilish") is the national fish of Bangladesh, also popular in India's Assamese-, Bengali- and Oriya-speaking regions and in Pakistan Sindh (Sindhī: پلو مڇي "Pallu Machhi"). In Gujarat it is known as either Modenn or Palva. It is an economically important tropical fish. This fish exists and is caught in Narmada and Padma rivers delta, Bay of Bengal. The fish in coastal area of Gujarat is known as Modenn if it is female and palva if it is young male. Like Bengal or Sindh this fish is not well known in Gujarat because fish eaters in Gujarat are Mostly Muslims and Hindu fisherman of the coastal areas.

As it is anadromous in nature (an uncommon phenomenon in tropical waters), the hilsa 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. Hilsa is mainly available in the major Bangladesh rivers of the Padma (lower Ganges), Meghna, and Jamuna (lower Brahmaputra). Those from the Padma are considered to be the best in taste. In India, the rivers Rupnarayan (known as "Kolaghater Ilish") and Ganga (Ganges) are famous for their tasty breeds.However, Hilsa is also caught from the sea. But those caught from the sea are not considered to be so tasty as those caught from the river. Hilsa is an oily fish rich in essential fatty acids(omega 3 fatty acids). Recent experiments have shown its beneficial effects in decreasing cholesterol level in rats [Banerjee I, Saha S, Dutta J. 1992 Comparison of the effects of dietary fish oils with different n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid compositions on plasma and liver lipids in rats. Lipids. 27(6):425-8 [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=1630277&dopt=Abstract Abstract] ] and insulin level. [Mahmud I, Hossain A, Hossain S, Hannan A, Ali L, Hashimoto M. (2004) Effects of Hilsa ilisa fish oil on the atherogenic lipid profile and glycaemic status of streptozotocin-treated type 1 diabetic rats. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 31(1-2):76-81 [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=14756688&dopt=Abstract Abstract] ]

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

In many Hindu Bengali families two Hilsa fishes ("Joda Ilish") are bought on special auspicious days, like some pujas. It is considered auspicious to buy two Hilsa fishes on the day of Saraswati Puja (The Goddess of Learning and Beauty), which takes place in the beginning of Spring and also on the day of Lakshmi Puja (The Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity) which takes place in autumn. But this custom is prevalent mainly among the Hindu Bengalis of former East Bengal (now Bangladesh) many of whom now live in West Bengal in India after the Partition of India. Some of them give Hilsa fish as an offering to the goddess Lakshmi, without which the Puja is thought to be incomplete.Hilsa is an important source of foreign exchange for Bangladesh. They export it to the European countries and USA. In Europe, Hilsa is available at the Bangladeshi grocery stores.

Hilsa 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 anymore.

In North America (where Hilsa is not always readily available) the shad fish is sometimes used as a Hilsa 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.




ee also

*Oily fish

External links

* [http://www.virtualbangladesh.com/bd_ilish.html Ilish]
* [http://www.pathcom.com/~mizan/ Hilsa shad]
* [http://www.bangalinet.com/ilish.htm More details]
* [http://www.senskitchen.com authentic Hilsa recipes]

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • hilsa herring — perpelinė hilza statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas taksono rangas rūšis atitikmenys: lot. Tenualosa ilisha angl. hilsa herring; hilsa shad; ilisha rus. индийская тенуалоза ryšiai: platesnis terminas – kininės hilzos …   Žuvų pavadinimų žodynas

  • hilsa shad — perpelinė hilza statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas taksono rangas rūšis atitikmenys: lot. Tenualosa ilisha angl. hilsa herring; hilsa shad; ilisha rus. индийская тенуалоза ryšiai: platesnis terminas – kininės hilzos …   Žuvų pavadinimų žodynas

  • hilsa herring — kininė hilza statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas taksono rangas rūšis atitikmenys: lot. Tenualosa sinensis angl. Chinese herring; hilsa herring rus. китайская гильза; китайская тенуалоза ryšiai: platesnis terminas – kininės hilzos …   Žuvų pavadinimų žodynas

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