Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   |  Volume 7, Issue 20, Tuesday, May 15, 2012




Dressing Fish

By shawkat osman

For long, it had been the tradition of urban Bangladeshis to offer their guests only Moghul food, such as meat-korma, meat-rezala, and biryanis. Fish, was never served cooked in the Bengali way in any formal function. Luckily, this is changing, and the deshi hostess known for her hospitality, is more than happy to serve her guests with mach-bhat. So much so, that deshi homemakers these days, fall over each other to serve as many items as the dining table will hold.

A special mention about the cut of fishes in Bangladesh. Though most cuts are "DARNE", other cuts are also practiced.


Gutted fish are whole fish, with guts removed and sometimes scaled with head and tails intact. Usually small fishes like "tengra' "mola" & Pomfrets are prepared this way.

1. Slit the neck of the fish.
2. Pull out the innards.

Dressed fish will be scaled, gutted, and have gills and fins removed. Head and tail are intact. A dressed fish, such as "pabda" & "koi" or pomfret is usually cooked as intact pieces.

Scaled, gutted with gills, fins, head and tail removed. As in smoked hilsa, Bain-eels (skin also removed) fish are pan dressed.

The most common of all the cuts, slice of 'Dressed Fish' cut on the bone, cut diagonally into steaks.

Hilsa Darne
Pan-Dressed body of Hilsa cut lengthwise to divide the fish into hump and belly part. Then cut diagonally into hump and belly pieces.


Steaks are large cross-sections cut from 'Dressed' fish. They are generally 2 to 4cm thick. Large fish such as rui, katla, and mrigel are steaked. Steaks are cut from abut 11cm from the head to end.

Fillets are the boneless or 'pin bone-in' sides of a fish, cut away from the backbone, and removed in one piece. In some fish there may be pin bones radiating at right angles from the backbone. When these are removed, the fillet is boneless. Sea fishes are typically filleted.

Pabda Aadajamir
Pabda is a catfish, which has a flesh as soft as butter, it is a much sought after sweet water fish, presently much cultivated in fish farms. The best size is when it is 25 cm long.

The landmass between north-eastern Bangladesh and northern Thailand, where many more related species grow wild), is the hub of lebu's (citrus) origin. Out of the more than 2000 varieties of lemon/lime, there are more than 20 varieties commercially grown in the north-eastern region of Sylhet. One such lemon: Adajamir (Citron medica) may be the progenitor species of modern lemons and limes. The peel is very thick, and has an edible 'albedo' tissue (the white, spongy portion of the peel around pulp), which is used in cooking.

Use of lemon rind as food is prevalent only in Sylhet, where another lemon: Shatkora (rind: 2.5 cm thick) is used in meat preparation. The name Adajmair comes from the original Munda (autochthonous languages of eastern India) word 'Jamir' for lemon, adopted into Sanskrit as 'jomvhiro'. The Bengali name for the largest lemon fruit Pummelo: 'Jambura' (C. grandis. or C. maxima), comes from the same source. Pummelo is called 'batabi-lebu' in West Bengal, after the English tradition, who named it as Batavia Lemon, as the Westerners first witnessed it in Batavia, Java.

The European word 'lemon' originate from Arabic limun, ensuing from an Indo-European root: 'lent' (Latin lentus: flexible), derived from the Sanskrit term: 'lata' (creeping plant). Lemon trees are creeps with sharp thorns.

1 kg pabda fish, dressed
2 tbsp mustard oil
3 onions, chopped
3 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp red chilli powder
10 green chillies, slit
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp cilantro, chopped

Slice the 'aadajamir' into eight vertical wedges. With a sharp knife scrap off the fleshy fruit sections and the soft white pulp from the rind; slice the rind into 1 cm wide strips. Heat oil in a 'korai'/wok, lob in the onions, and saute until they turn translucent.

Stir in the following: garlic + turmeric + red chilli + salt + 2 tbsp water. Saute the spice stirring vigorously until it releases its flavour.

Chuck in the 'aadajamir', pour in ½ cup water; and bring it to a boil. Slide in: fishes + green chilli. Cook for 5 minute/done. Sprinkle with cilantro and fold to mingle, serve immediately.

Photo By Rukhsara Osman


As part of Star Lifestyle's expansion to a 20-page publication, we have re-introduced our shopping column, Shoptalk, in a new guise. It will now focus on highlighting specific products and to this effect businesspersons, retailers and product manufacturers are requested to send products and product information (except clothes)that they would like to promote. All product suggestions should be emailed to lifestyleds@yahoo.com or raffat@thedailystar.net.

Quick fix with a delicious mix
For a stressful day when even walking into the kitchen and remembering a recipe seems like the last straw, fall back on Mama Noodles, a widely popular instant noodles brand. Tk 75 for the large pack and Tk 45 for the small pack; this highly affordable meal is packed with quite the taste.


Colour your celebration
Add a little more colour to regular or special occasions with these coloured printed napkins, priced at Tk 115 a pack, in various designs and colours. Even an ordinary meal by your lonesome can be brightened by the presence of these.

A skin to sin for
Speaking of indulgence, pamper your skin and your senses with Body Butter or Scrub available in a wide range of essences, to moisturise normal or dry skin.


Exhale without fail
To top off the freshness, pop in a few Listerine mouth-fresheners, which are now available in handy pocket packs. Breathe easy and freely.


Let there be bubbles
If nothing works, get away from the hustle and the bustle of the busy city life. Take a cool shower and envelope yourself in the fragrance of Yardley soap as it lulls you back to the times of peace and tranquillity of yesteryears. The cost of this sweet reverie is Tk 125 a bar. But unwinding with a good memory is a priceless one to indulge in.

Beat the heat
To beat the heat this summer, try the new Tropicana Twister, a refreshing orange drink with pulp, full of vitamin C, offering an immediate replenishment of energy.


Sensuous scents
And finally, to continue the feeling of invigoration all day long, invest in Glade's Scented Gel, which will leave any room smelling fresh and very inviting. The possibilities are endless.



An evening with your sweet tea
For those that prefer tea over all else, savour these two new flavours; Twinning's invigorating Lemon flavoured tea at Tk 290 or for a more adventurous taste try Lipton's Russian Earl Grey, a soothing bergamot flavour for Tk 295 a box.


By Osama Rahman
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed

* Prices of the products may vary according to market conditions. All products featured are available at general superstores and Gulshan 2 market.



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The summer line, comprising of over 30 designs is currently available in 25 outlets of Gallerie Apex across the country. So if you're a weekend rebel who values their freedom, it's high time you showed it with a pair of Mavericks.

Log on to www.facebook.com/ weekendrebel to find out more.


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