Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 70, Tuesday December 19, 2006

 

culinary roadtrip

This year, we're celebrating Bangladesh in a different way. That's right, mache bhaate Bangalis, we're touring the country through its cuisine. Along with Tommy Miah's delights on Page 8, we've also bugged some of our grandmothers around the country for their secrets to bring you an all-Bangladeshi banquet you'll never forget

Dhaka delicacies
Paya

Ingredients:
20 mutton legs
A pinch of garlic, crushed
Turmeric powder ½ tsp
Green chilli powder ½ tsp
Onions crushed 1 ½ to 2 tsp
Jeera (Cumin) 1 tsp
Dhania 1 tsp
4-5 black peppers, ground
2 cloves
2 cardamoms
Cinnamon 2 or 3 pieces
1 tamarind
Salt to taste
Water
Onion chopped as preferred
Crushed ginger as preferred
Ghee as needed
Method:
Boil the legs in water. When about half the water is dried, add all ingredients except the chopped onions, ginger and ghee. When the bones are softened, it's time to turn the heat off. Fry the onion and ginger in ghee or butter oil until brown then add to the dish. Serve hot.

Mughlai Paratha
Ingredients:
Flour 500 gm
Milk I cup
Water
Salt to taste
Keema (spicy minced meat) 500gm
Eggs 3
Ghee/ cooking oil for pan frying
Method:
In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt to taste. Add the milk a little at a time and knead. Then add water. Knead well to make a medium-soft, smooth dough. Cover with a damp cloth and keep aside for 15 minutes. Whisk the eggs with salt to taste and keep aside. Prepare keema separately by cooking with onions, chillies, and crushed garlic. A few cloves and cardamoms may also be added. Divide the dough into equal-sized balls. On a floured surface, roll a ball out into a 4" circle. Put a large spoonful of the Keema in the center of the circle and fold edges of circle up to close it. Gently press down on the filled ball to flatten it and then roll it, with very gentle pressure, into a 6" circles. Put the parathas on a pan with a little ghee on medium heat and cook till you see tiny bubbles appearing on the upper surface. Flip and grease the surfaces with a little ghee/ cooking oil and flip again. Brush the surfaces with some egg and keep flipping. The Paratha is ready when the egg on both sides is cooked.

By Diya

Bonus Barishal Recipes
Bhapa Chingri

Ingredients:
500 gm medium-sized shrimps (peeled, de-veined, washed, then drained)
100 gm cooking oil
½ portion coconut paste
2 tbsp onion paste
1 tbsp mustard paste
1 tbsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp red chilli powder
3 or 4 fresh, hot green chillies, finely chopped (do not remove seeds)
Sprinkle of coriander leaves
Salt to taste
Method:
Slightly grind the shrimp on top of a grinding stone, mixing it thoroughly with all the ingredients. Put it inside a steel pan or box that comes with a lid, and then wrap a plastic foil or polythene bag tightly around the pan. In a separate pan take water (amount as deemed necessary) and bring to a boil. Put the polythene-wrapped steel pan in the water and then place something heavy on top of the lid to stop it from being pushed up and above. After 30 minutes switch off the stove, take out the steel pan, and carefully remove the polythene from around it.
Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with piping hot rice or polao.

Foli Maach'er Kopta
Ingredients:
500 gm (2 large sized) Fali fish (cut, heads removed, washed,)
100 gm cooking oil
2 tbsp onion paste
1 tbsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp cumin paste
½ tsp cumin powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp red chilli powder
½ tsp garam masala
Salt to taste
Method:
Slightly grind the two fish on top of a grinding stone to help you separate them from their skin and bones. With the help of a spoon, scrape the skins away carefully, keeping them intact. Now grind the two fish to a paste, add the garam masala, cumin paste, a little turmeric and salt, and mix thoroughly.

Divide the paste into two equal portions then cover them completely with the skins of the two fishes. In a frying pan, heat oil (amount as deemed necessary), fry the fish moulds thoroughly, making sure the insides don't remain uncooked. Once fried, cut them into desired shapes and put aside. In a separate frying pan, heat 2 tbsp of oil (or amount as deemed necessary), add all the remaining ingredients, except the cumin powder, then fry for two minutes till the oil starts separating. Now add two cups of boiling water and bring to a boil. Add the fish pieces, lower the heat and simmer for 4/5 minutes.

When most of the water has evaporated, sprinkle the cumin powder on top, and then remove from the stove.

Serve with rice.
To make homemade garam masala from ground spices, mix 1 tbsp ground coriander, 2 tsp black pepper, 2 tsp ground cardamom, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, and 1 tsp ground cloves.

Chandrapuli Pitha
Ingredients:
Paste of 2 coconuts
650 gm sugar
1 kg milk
2 tbsp shuji
4 eggs
15 to 20 pistachio nuts, finely chopped
5 to 6 cardamoms
5 to 6 cinnamons
100 gm ghee (clarified butter)
½ tsp red food colour
Method:
Heat the milk in a pan until it becomes slightly thick and creamy in colour then set aside to cool. Beat the 4 eggs thoroughly, then mix it well with the milk. In another clean pan, take 30 gm of ghee then add 2 pieces of cardamom and cinnamon and some chopped pistachio nuts. Fry for a while under low heat, then add the milk mixture. Stir constantly, while slowly adding small portions of shuji every once in a while. Once all the shuji has been added, pour in 150 gm of sugar. Lower the heat even further and keep on stirring till the oil starts separating. Once the oil has separated completely, remove from stove and set aside to cool for a while. Then mould the mixture into a half-moon shape, around 1 to 1.5 inches thick.

In a separate pan, add the remaining ghee, cardamoms and cinnamons. Fry for a few minutes, then add the coconut paste. Lower the heat and stir for around 25 minutes. Then add the remaining sugar. Stir continuously until the oil separates completely. Pour the mixture on to a piece of foil or polythene, cover with another piece of foil or polythene, then use a rolling pin to mould into a round shape about 1 inch thick. Remove the top foil, place the half-moon shaped dough on top and then fold in the coconut mould. While still slightly warm, garnish with the remaining chopped pistachio nuts, and decorate with tiny cuts.

By Simin Saifuddin

Flavours of Khulna
The division of Khulna is well-known for its numerous coconut trees. Since this fruit is so commonly available, it has become an integral part of many of the traditional recipes of this region. Shrimps and lobsters are also abundantly available and an exquisite banquet here is hardly ever complete without a gigantic lobster delicacy adorning the table. Other traditionally available foods include figs, ole kochu (arum), chuijhaal, pure honey from the Sundarbans and many others.

Fig Curry with Coconut Crème
It may not sound all that appetising, chiefly because many of us are not well acquainted with cooking and eating this unusual fruit. However, it is treated as quite a favourite food among the southerners of the country.

Ingredients:
Figs ½ kg
Small shrimps ½ cup
Crème of coconut 1 cup
Sliced onions 1 tsp
Onion paste 1 tsp
Ginger paste 1 tsp
Garlic paste 1 tsp
Chilli paste 1 tsp
Cumin powder 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Sugar 1 tsp
Oil ½ cup
Green chillies 3-4 pcs (for garnishing)

Method:
1. Slice the figs in half and scrape out the seeds from inside using a spoon. Wash them thoroughly and boil them in water. Drain and set aside.
2. Put oil in a saucepan and add the onion slices to it. Sauté until golden brown.
3. Add the onion paste, ginger paste, garlic paste, chilli paste and cumin powder and stir to mix.
4. Put the shrimps in and sauté for a few minutes.
5. Add the boiled figs along with the crème of coconut. Bring to boil. No extra water is required.
6. Add a teaspoon of sugar and salt as per requirement and stir for a while.
7. Transfer to serving dish and garnish with green chillies.

Beef with Chuijhaal
An explanation is definitely required here! Chuijhaal is a traditional delicacy, which is actually the edible branch of a tree. It is usually used in curries and is quite popular among the people of Khulna and Jessore. As the name suggests, it is spicy and brings an atypical flavour to a normal curry dish.
Ingredients:
Beef 1 kg
Chuijhaal 5-6 pcs
Tomatoes 2-3 pcs
Chopped onions 1 cup
Onion paste 1 tsp
Ginger paste 1 tsp
Garlic paste 1 tsp
Chilli paste 1 tsp
Cumin powder 1 tsp
Oil 1 cup
Water 1 cup
Salt to taste

Method:
1. Cut up the chuijhaal into thin small pieces (about 2 inches long) and soak them in water before cooking.
2. Heat the oil in a pan and add the chopped onions to it. Sauté until a golden brown colour appears. Add all the spices one by one and stir to mix.
3. Put in the beef and combine well with the spices.
4. Add salt and leave the beef to cook on low heat.
5. Slice the tomatoes longitudinally. After the beef becomes slightly tender, add the tomatoes followed by the chuijhaal.
6. Cover with 1 cup of water and let it simmer.
7. Remove from the flame once the water is taken up and the beef is wholly done. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with onion rings and green chillies.

Anarosher Khatta
We end our course with a tangy, tasty dessert of a different flavour. While health conscious people may turn away by taking a glance at its rich ingredients, this mouth-watering dessert is definitely worth trying at least once! A major part of the “richness” of this dessert can be attributed to the inclusion of coconut milk. Home-prepared coconut milk is best for this recipe. While preparing, sieve out a thicker portion, which is the crème of coconut and collect the thinner filtrate to utilise as coconut milk.
Ingredients:
Pineapple 1pc
Crème of coconut (thick portion) ½ cup
Coconut milk (thin portion) 1 cup
Sugar 1 cup
Pure ghee ½ cup
Cinnamon 2-3 pcs
Cardamom 2-3 pcs
2 eggs
Deep fried onion for garnishing

Method:
1. Scrape out pulp from the pineapple and blend it to make a smooth puree.
2. In a pan heat ½ cup of ghee. Add the pieces of cinnamon and cardamom.
3. Add the pineapple puree and sauté for a few minutes.
4. Pour in the coconut milk and bring to boil.
5. Add all of the sugar and stir thoroughly to mix. Let the mixture simmer.
6. When the layer of ghee starts to separate, add the crème of coconut. Stir well and remove from the flame. Pour in a serving dish and allow it to cool.
7. Fry the eggs and place them on the prepared mixture. Garnish with the deep fried onion pieces to add colour to it. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving.

By Nusrat Khandker
Photo: Sharier Khan

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