Volume 2 Issue 23 | November 24 , 2007 |


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Journey through Bangladesh

From Moulvibazar
Hatkora Lemons

For Sylhetis, the true-bred ones, the Hatkora is a legendary and greatly demanded item at the dinner table. This species of lemon is an essential to go along with the curry at dinner for Sylhetis with the finer taste-buds.

Botanically, Hatkora is a species of the Rutaceas family. It looks green and round like any regular lemon, but has a reputation unlike any other. A Hatkora tastes sour and sweet. Sylhetis accustomed to its taste find it delicious while it has very little appeal to non-Sylhetis. One reason for that is that although it is available almost everywhere in Sylhet, it is not grown or even consumed anywhere else in Bangladesh.

The Indian states of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Monipur are producers of the best kinds of Hatkora. Hilly areas of the Sylhet Division also produce plenty of Hatkora. The demand for Hatkora particularly in Moulvibazar and Sylhet is so high that Bangladeshi producers can hardly cope with it. Some import this variety from India.

If you happen to be invited for dinner to a Sylheti household, you will be entertained with fish or meat or curry dishes perked up with Hatkora lemons. When you try to prepare curry, with Hatkora, you must be very careful about the quantity. Too much would ruin the whole curry. Hatkora is strong, so all that is required is a hint of it.

There is that account of a non-Sylheti man who heard about the lemon and decided to buy a bulk load of it. To get the best out of the buy he advised his wife to use a large amount of it in the cooking. His wife knew nothing about this species of lemon. So she prepared a fish curry mixing it with huge pieces of it. Needless to say, it was too sour for any human to consume. Not everybody agrees on the merits of Hatkora. Some hate it; others can't live without it.

Hatkora is so popular among the Sylhetis that they love to send it abroad to their friends and relatives who live in the UK, the USA, Canada and other countries.

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