• Thursday, March 05, 2015


Jamai sashti

By Shawkat Osman

Bilashi Begun: Aubergines in yoghurt and poppy seed gravy
Aubergines come in egg-shaped, round, or tubular varieties. The berries vary in colour from dark purple to light striped green or white. The long, slim light purple ones with a thin skin and fewer seeds are slightly sweeter than the rest. The white variety, about the size of an egg, lends the vegetable its English name, eggplant.

2 cups yogurt
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp tamarind pulp
1 tbsp posto (poppy seeds)
2 tsp mustard seeds
5 green chillies
2 tbsp water
1kg aubergines
1 cup corn flour
4 eggs
2 tbsp soya oil
1 tbsp ghee

1. Put yogurt, turmeric powder, red chilli and sugar in a mixing bowl.
2. Whisk using a manually operated mixer to get a smooth fusion. Transfer mixture into a bowl and set aside.
3. In a food processor put tamarind, poppy seeds, mustard seeds and green chilli, add 2 tablespoons water and grind. Transfer mixture into a separate bowl and set aside.
4. Slice the aubergine diagonally into 1.5cm thick slices.
5. Spread out the corn flour on a flat platter, make its surface level, set aside.
6. Lightly whisk the eggs in a bowl.
7. Douse the aubergine slices in corn flour (# 5), dust off excess flour, dip in the egg wash (# 6), and coat again with corn flour.
8. Shallow fry the aubergine pieces in hot oil, on both sides, until cooked, and arrange on a serving platter.
9. Heat ghee in a separate saucepan, pour mixture 1 (# 2). As soon as little bubbles start forming at the edges of the mixture, stir in mixture 2 (# 3). Mix up and gently lead it to a boil.
10. Cook for 2 minutes and pour this cooked sauce over the shallow fried aubergine pieces (# 8).

Fish Kofta (Mach er Kofta)
Here's a recipe from Nahid Osman's cookery show on Tara TV, Khunti Korai. However, on the show she did not roll the fish paste to form balls. As the minced fish she used was more moistened than this recipe suggested, it was difficult to roll out balls that would not fall apart while cooking. So Nahid scooped up a tablespoon of the mince mixture and using a second spoon gently pushed the paste directly in the boiling gravy. Her method is an easier and less 'messier' version than the given recipe, but try both methods, and adopt the one you feel comfortable with. You may add some minced shrimps to the fish mince to give the 'koftas' an extra flavour.

1 kg bhetki (red snapper fish) mince (raw)
½ cup onion, finely minced
½ and ½  tbsp ginger paste
1 tsp and 1 tbsp garlic paste
1 tsp black pepper,  ground
1/8 tsp nutmeg, grated
5 green chillies, finely chopped
¼ and ½ cup cilantro, chopped
1 cup soya oil
½ cup onion, sliced
3 tbsp and 4 cups fish stock
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
2 tbsp water
1 cup tomatoes, skinned and chopped
1 tbsp 'kasuri methi' (dry fenugreek leaves)

1. In a mixing bowl, combine fish mince, minced onion, ½ tablespoon ginger paste, 1 teaspoon garlic paste, black pepper, nutmeg grate, green chilli and ¼ cup of cilantro.
2. Work the ingredients with your fingers, and shape into golf-ball sized spheres. Chill them in a fridge for 2 hours so they firm up.
3. Heat soya oil; lob in sliced onion, sauté until golden. Pour 3 tablespoons fish stock, and cook to soften the onions.
4. Add ½ tablespoon ginger paste, sautés, stirring vigorously for a minute and then add 1 tablespoon garlic paste. Mix well and sauté, stirring for another minute.
5. Toss in red chilli powder, turmeric, cumin powder, coriander powder, 2 tablespoons water. Mix together and sauté, stirring until the species release their flavour.
6. Add chopped tomatoes, sauté, stirring occasionally until the tomatoes disintegrate and the oil separates from the mixture of spice.
7. Toss in the fenugreek leaves and after a few moments pour 4 cups fish stock. Bring it to a boil.
8. Gently drop the fish balls, cook until they are ready (they will begin floating in the gravy when done).
9. Sprinkle chopped cilantro leaves and serve hot.

Golda chingri: Prawns in tomato gravy
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!
1 cup soya oil
1 cup onion, sliced
1 tbsp ginger paste
3 tbsp onion paste
½ tbsp 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
Heat oil in a large wok, lob in the sliced onion, and sauté till translucent. Add ginger paste and sauté 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 'moshla' emits its aroma. Pour the tomato puree, sprinkle salt and sauté, stirring occasionally until oil separates from the 'moshla'. Gently slide the prawns into the wok, scoop up some 'moshla' 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 a 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.
Moong Dal:Green Lentil Dal
Moong aka moog dal or sona moog is a de-husked (skinned) and split green bean. The segments are flat, yellow and they cook fast. Compared to other lentils/pulses, these are more flavourful.
1 cup moong dal
4 cups water
2 red onions, sliced
1 tsp ginger paste
2 tsp garlic paste
3 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
3 cardamom pods, cracked
2 cinnamon sticks, 2.5cm-long
6 cloves
2 tejpata (bay leaves)
3 tsp salt
1 tsp ghee
1 tsp cumin seeds
Pick over the dal, removing the odd grit. Heat a tawa (griddle) and roast the dal. Moong has a tendency to scorch, so dry roast, stirring continuously or shaking the griddle. After about 5 minutes or so, when the dal turns reddish-brown and shows brown spots releasing the aroma, transfer immediately to a flat tray and spread out to cool. Once the dal has cooled down to room temperature, put the grains between two clean cotton napkins to get rid of the dust. Set aside. Place pot over flame and add water, onions, ginger paste, garlic paste, coriander, cumin, turmeric, red chilli, cardamom, cinnamons, cloves and bay leaves. Stir several times to merge the species with the water. Bring to a boil.
Slowly pour the dal in the form of a drizzle, a thin flow, stirring constantly, maintaining the high boil. Cook until the dal gives off a flavour and an aroma. Lower the flame, sprinkle salt and stir a few times, using a dal ghootni (swizzle stick). Heat ghee in a saucepan, toss in the cumin seeds, saute until they stop sizzling. Mix ghee and cumin seeds with the dal and remove from the heat.
Lebu aachar: Spicy lemon preserve
Serves 6
20 lemons
1 cup salt
5 tbsp red chilli powder
½ litre sesame seed oil
½ tsp hing (asafoetida)
1 tsp methi (fenugreek seeds)
1. Rinse the lemons and pat dry. Cut these into 4 vertical wedges and place in a sterilised jar.
2. Sprinkle salt over the lemon wedges. Drape a piece of muslin cloth folded twice on the mouth of the jar and secure with a cotton twine.
3. Keep the jar in sunlight for 15 days.
4. Drain and discard the liquid that has formed. Transfer the pieces of lemon into a bowl; mix well with red chilli powder.
5. Heat the oil to a high temperature, add in asafoetida and cook undisturbed for a few seconds. Pour this oil over the lemons.
6. Sprinkle fenugreek seeds.
7. Transfer the lemons with all the spices to sterlised jars, cover with muslin and cure in sunlight for another 15 days.
Doodh aam bhat: Fresh mangoes with warm milk
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 'khondo' (piece) of gur will do for the sweet-toothed Bengali.
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.

Photo: Star Lifestyle Archive/Sazzad Ibne Sayed

Published: 12:00 am Tuesday, May 27, 2014

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