Echor doi (Green jackfruit in yoghurt gravy)
½ kg echor (green jackfruit)
6½ cups water
1 tsp turmeric powder
3 tsp salt
2 tbsp ginger paste
2 cups yoghurt
½ cup ghee
3 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp gorom moshla (spice combination made out of cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks and cloves) powder
Using a greased, sharp cleaver or chef's knife, peel off the hard, spiky outer rind of the jackfruit and slice into four wedges. Chop the wedges into 2cm-by-2cm pieces. Put the jackfruit pieces in a pot; pour 6 cups of water, add turmeric powder and mix. Add 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil and cook until jackfruit is slightly tender but firm.
Drain the liquid from the pot, and reserve the jackfruit pieces. Squeeze the ginger paste as hard as you can to extract juice, discard the fibre.
Mix the juice of ginger with yoghurt and pour over the jackfruit pieces. Rub with your fingers to coat the pieces evenly with the yoghurt mix.
Heat a wok over high flame; pour ghee. Add coriander and red chilli powder dissolved in ½ cup water when ghee is hot.
Mix well. Bring to a boil, and reduce gravy partially. Now pour 3 tbsp water, add the jackfruit pieces and 1 tsp salt. Stir and cook until done. Add gorom moshla; stir to mix well and serve.
Doodh aam bhaat (Fresh mangoes with warm milk)
10 cups of fresh milk
6 ripe mangoes
Pinch of salt
Boil the milk, stirring it frequently, until it is reduced to 6 cups. Pour milk into individual bowls. Serve with peeled mangoes in another platter. Serve salt on the side.
For the majority of Bangladeshis a fistful of steamed rice in a cup of steaming cow's milk, sweetened with seasonal fruits, such as aam (mango), kathal (jackfruit) or kola (banana), makes a good dessert. If fresh fruits are not available, a sliver of dried aam shotto (mango pulp) or a khondo (piece) of gur will do for the sweet-toothed Bengali.
Prawns in tomato gravy
1 cup soya oil
1 cup onion, sliced
1 tbsp ginger paste
3 tbsp onion paste
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp red chilli powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tbsp cumin powder
2 tbsp garlic paste
1 cup fresh home-made tomato puree
4 tsp salt
6 giant prawns
5 fresh red chillies
5 green chillies
1 cup cilantro, finely-chopped
Golda Chingri is the king of all preparations -- the piece de resistance of Bangladeshi cuisine. It marks occasions that are indeed very special. The prawns are bought fresh and alive the same day they are served. The head of the golda with its deep orange brain is its tastiest part, while the legs and succulent body are equally delectable. The claws are cracked open at the nodes and the meat pulled out.
The tough sinew in the leg muscle is discarded and the meat consumed with great relish, preferred only next to the head in terms of taste.
Make a fresh tomato puree for this dish. However, please do not use the ready-made ones, not only to show deference to the king but also for the sake of savouring a superior taste!
Heat oil in a large wok, lob in the sliced onion, and saute till translucent. Add ginger paste and saute for a minute, stirring vigorously. Add the onion paste and cook for another minute, stirring all the time.
Toss in turmeric and red chilli powder. Mix and sauté, stirring for 2 minutes. Add coriander, cumin powder and garlic paste and stir. Keep stirring until the mosla emits its aroma.
Pour the tomato puree, sprinkle salt and sauté, stirring occasionally until oil separates from the mosla.
Gently slide the prawns into the wok, scoop up some mosla and coat the prawns, using a spoon. Turn the prawns over as the underside starts to turn pink.
Scatter the red and green chillies all over and cover with a lid. Reduce heat to minimum, cook for 10 minutes. Take off the lid-sprinkle with cilantro, cover again and take wok off the flame. Do not reheat this dish.
Katla moorighonto (Fish head cooked with lentils)
200g sona moong dal
1 tbsp oil
1 katla head (300g)
1 tbsp ghee
2 tejpata (bay leaves)
1 tsp cumin seeds
5 cardamom pods, gently cracked
2 cinnamon sticks, 5cm-long
3 red onions, sliced
2 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp ginger paste
2 tsp red chilli powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
3 tsp salt
10 green chillies
½ cup + ½ cup cilantro, chopped
Katla of the carp family is a tasty fish with a disproportionately large head. Its meaty head and protruding lower muscular jaw makes it ideal for moorighonto preparations.
Roast moong dal on a heated griddle, until a beautiful roasted aroma rises from the pan. Wash and boil dal with enough water until tender. The cooked dal should contain 2 cups of water. Keep dal aside.
Heat oil in a korai (wok); sauté the fish-head turning it often for 5 minutes and then set aside.
Heat ghee in the same wok and add bay leaves, cumin seeds, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves, all together. Sauté for a minute. Lob in the sliced onions and sauté until these are translucent.
Next, add garlic paste, ginger paste, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and 2 tablespoons water and stir. Sauté stirring constantly until the mosla releases its flavour.
Add the fried fish-head and heat thoroughly. With a metal spatula hack the head into 3 or 4 pieces.
Pour ½ cup water, sprinkle salt, mix to coat the fish-head pieces well with the mosla and cook for a minute.
Pour the cooked dal along with its liquid. Bring it to a boil.
Add green chillies and ½ cup cilantro and stir. Cook for 10 minutes. Sprinkle ½ cup cilantro and remove from the heat. Serve with a few gondho lebu (flavourful lemon wedges) on the side.
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Special thanks to Shumon Sengupta for preparing the food and arranging the photoshot for Star Lifestyle.