Come Boishakh we renew our pledge in our identity as Bengalis in every sphere of our social and cultural
lives. This week Star Lifestyle goes overboard with everything that defines Boishakh. Cuisine, by all means, forms a big part of it. Selina Parvin shares her kitchen secrets -- sending us her Boishakhi wishes through the means she knows best. While Mannan Mashhur Zarif romances the desi staple, Rice!
Think rice. Think of its various forms served on our tables: there is the ubiquitous steamed rice -- 'bosha' or otherwise – which forms our everyday staple. Yet our love affair takes rice to an even higher level.
In the sweltering summer many feast on 'panta' (rice soaked overnight) with fried hilsa, but even without any curry on the side, 'panta' is as divine as any other dish taken simply with roasted, red chilli and some salt to taste.
On wet, monsoon afternoons we crave sticky khichuri. Served with beef, or simply a spoon of clarified butter, this is one concoction that never disappoints. Some prefer a drier version, the 'bhuna' khichuri, which probably goes best with duck cooked in thick gravy.
On festive occasions like Eid when we want to binge, our culinary focus turns to the long-grained rice, 'kataribhog' or 'basmati' for instance. These bring out the rich flavour of the dishes that are prepared with it. And of course, there is always the pilaf made from 'chini gura', the must-have in any grand, Bengali meal.
It would be a wrong assumption that rice only forms part of our main course; in the Bengali kitchen, rice like the 'binni' is prepared into deserts with milk, sugar or jaggery. Binni rice is also used to prepare a sticky version of rice which goes well with almost all Bengali curries, bhorta et al. Rice is so close to our hearts that we have even turned it into a snack. Take some eggs, rice, oil for frying and toss in some red chilli and voila! You have the perfect Bengali snack -- bhaja bhaat (fried rice).
Think rice. Think of the many ways we consume rice. And think of the great memories that you can associate with it.