Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 62, Tuesday April 7, 2009



Boishakhi delights

The festival of Pohela Boishakh, the first day of the Bangla New Year is one that is exclusive to our culture and parts of South East Asia. The celebration of Pohela Boishakh began under the reign of emperor Akbar. It was customary to clear up all dues on the last day of Choitro.

On the next day, or the first day of the new year, landlords would entertain their tenants with sweets. Such traditions are still followed today both in rural as well as urban communities and is particularly seen among the jewellery shops in their tradition of the haalkhata.

The concept of Boishakhi lunch is also a similar tradition, where friends and families, after having visited the various melas that are set up throughout the country in celebrating Pohela Boishakh all accumulate at a relative's place for a lunch consisting of all the specials of the season that are famous in the Bangla cuisine.

½ kg kacha kathal (green jackfruit), cut into cubes and steamed with a pinch of turmeric
250g potatoes, cubed and parboiled
1½ cups sliced onions
2 tbsp ginger paste
1 tbsp garlic paste
2 tbsp turmeric paste
1½ tbsp green chilli paste
1 tbsp coriander (dhaniya) paste
1 tsp cumin (jeera) paste
1 tsp roasted cumin powder
2 tsp garam masala powder
5-6 dried bay leaves
8-10 green chillies
2 tbsp ghee/butter oil
Salt, to taste

Heat oil in a pan and sauté all the sliced onions (keeping 2 tbsp aside for later use) until brown. Add bay leaves and then half-cup of water. Then one by one, add all the spices except the roasted cumin powder and the separated sliced onion.

In the frying spices, add the blanched pieces of kathal and the potatoes and cook covered. Then add some water so that the potatoes and kathal are thoroughly cooked.

Meanwhile in a separate pan, heat the ghee and fry the remaining onions, until brown and slightly crispy, then sprinkle over the cooked kathal along with green chillies.
Serve hot with steaming rice.

Kola'r mocha
1 kola'r mocha, boiled and cut into small pieces
4 tbsp coconut paste
½ cup oil
½ cup sliced onions
2 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp turmeric paste
1½ tsp chilli paste
½ tsp coriander (dhaniya) paste
1 tsp roasted cumin powder
½ tsp garam masala powder
2 dried by leaves
3-4 green chillies
Salt, to taste

Put the boiled kola'r mocha pieces in a food processor and grind to a paste.

Heat oil in a pan; sauté onions, and all the spices. When flavour of spices is released, add the pasted mocha and stir well. Add a little water and stir for a further 2-3 minutes until thoroughly cooked and oil begins to rise slightly. Take off heat and serve immediately.

Mustard shojne
1/2 kg shojne, cut into 3 inch pieces
2 potatoes, cut julienne style
3 tomatoes, cut julienne style
3 tbsp mustard paste
½ cup oil
½ cup sliced onions
2 tsp ginger paste
1½ tsp turmeric paste
2 tsp chilli paste
5-6 green chillies
Salt, to taste

Heat oil in a pan, sauté onions, and one by one add all spices except the mustard paste. Cook spices for a while, then add the shojne and potatoes and cook further. Then add the mustard paste and 2-2½ cups water and cover. Let simmer, until shojne and potatoes are cooked through. Add tomatoes and cover again. When tomatoes are softened, add the chillies, stir further and take off heat. Make sure to not dry curry altogether so that a little gravy remains before taking off heat.

Nona Ilish with eggplant
200g nona ilish, soaked in water and cut into strips
400g eggplant, cut julienne style
4 tbsp sliced garlic
2 tsp garlic paste
2 tsp ginger paste
2 tsp turmeric paste
4 tsp chilli paste
½ cup sliced onions
½ cup oil
Salt, to taste
8-10 green chillies

Heat oil in a pan and sauté onions until soft. Then add the all the spices and cook. Add the hilsa to the spices and cook further. Then add the cut up eggplants. Cook until fish and eggplants are thoroughly cooked. If needed, add a little water. Once the water has dried, and the oil begins to rise slightly, add the green chillies, stir one last time and serve immediately with rice.

On The Cover

Gear up for the big celebrations with the colours of the celebration. If you haven't got your outfit yet, flip to page 6 and 8 for the latest collections to help you pick.

Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayeed
Model: Asif Azim
Wardrobe: Cat's Eye
Make-up and styling: Farzana Shakil

Ls Boishakhi Lunch Menu

Star Lifestyle cordially invites its readers to indulge in an all-out Boishakhi spread. Flip through our pages for the perfect lunch spread, and our picks for the hottest eateries to hit on this Bengali New Year.

Chilled bel (wood apple) sherbet with malai (cream), unsweetened lassi, green mango juice with mint. Pumpkin flower fritters, piyaju, dahi bora

Main course:
Plain white rice, brown binni, sticky rice, shutki bhorta, potato and egg bhorta, eggplant bhorta, shrimp bhorta, kacha kola bhorta, Kola'r mocha bhuna, fried fish, kacha kathal echor with shrimps, muro ghonto, mustard shojne curry, rui with green mangoes, beef bhuna.

Doodh kodu, seasonal fruits topped with yoghurt, sweet yoghurt, shondesh.


In the recipes we have used the original Bangla names for many of the ingredients. Here, we have a list of explanations of all the ingredients for the benefit of our readers:

Echor is a curry made out of unripe jackfruit that is abundant during this season.

Kola'r mocha are the insides of the flower of the banana tree, which is boiled and mashed and cooked into a curry that is a famous native favourite.

Shojne is a seasonal stem-like fruit that is an excellent source of anti-oxidants and valuable vitamins. It can be cooked in various styles, most commonly with lentils, but in this version it has been cooked in a mustard curry.

Nona Ilish are basically chunks of hilsa fish marinated with lots of salt and preserved in clay pots. It is considered a famous delicacy in Bengali cuisine.



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