Summer indulgence | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 16, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 16, 2019

in search of comfort food

Summer indulgence

With the summer heat now an all too familiar situation, why not beat the heat by whipping up a seasonal raw mango juice? It is refreshing, and has enough electrolytes to keep you going throughout the hot days. Want to kick up any celebrations one notch higher? Assemble a couple of light dishes that will surely impress guests and is a delight to have with any rice of your choice.


Prawns in Banana Leaves (Chingri Macher Patori)


½ kg prawns (head and tail removed)

1 tbsp poppy seeds (posto)

1 tbsp white mustard seeds

1 tbsp black mustard seeds

2-3 tbsp water

1 green chilli

½ cup grated coconut

½ tsp salt

Pinch of sugar

2 tbsp mustard oil (for the filling)

6-8 tbsp mustard oil (for frying)

1 big banana leaf (cut into rectangles)

Kitchen string


Start by preparing the filling for the patori: in a bowl, combine the poppy seeds, white mustard seeds, black mustard seeds, water, and soak it for 15-30 minutes. (Add a tiny pinch of salt to prevent the bitterness of mustard seeds) Once the seeds are soaked, add the green chilli and grind into a paste. Combine the paste with the grated coconut, this can be left as is, or can be prepared as a paste. Add salt, sugar and mustard oil to create the filling.

Before using the banana leaves, make sure to wash them thoroughly and expose it to fire/heat on the stove, this prevents it from creasing or crumpling. Spread two rectangular banana leaves- one on top of the other, like a cross. Place a prawn with roughly a tablespoon of the filling. Wrap the banana leaves so that there is no filling coming out, and tie it like a parcel with kitchen string so that the prawn and filling are secure. Do this with the remaining prawns and filling.

In a frying pan, heat the mustard oil and place the parcels individually, once the leaves start to change colour, flip the parcels and cover for ten minutes, making sure to check in a few times and turn the parcels around.

Place on top of rice of your choice. Try serving enclosed in the banana leaves as the process of opening makes it festive but also allows the flavours to seep in. 

Orange Hilsa (Komola Ilish)


3 tbsp mustard oil

2 whole cardamoms

2 tsp cumin seeds

½ cup onion paste

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp salt

½ tsp sugar

1½ cup water

1 cup fresh orange juice

5 pieces of hilsa (Illish)


Place a shallow pan over medium heat- pour mustard oil, and wait to hear the oil crackle. Once the oil is hot enough, add the cardamoms and cumin seeds- wait for the seeds to sputter. Once the seeds begin to pop, add the onion paste, turmeric, chilli powder, salt and sugar and mix well. Pour ½ a cup of water and keep simmering the gravy over medium heat. When the oil starts coming to the surface, add the orange juice and remaining water. Bring the gravy to a boil and carefully place the pieces of hilsa fish into the gravy. Cover with a lid and let it cook under cover for 5 minutes, flip the pieces of fish and cook under cover for another 5 minutes. This process should reduce the gravy and bring the oil to surface, it is also an indication of the fish being entirely cooked. 

Doi Potol (pointed gourd with yoghurt)


8-10 medium pointed gourd (potol)

¼ tsp turmeric

2 tsp salt 

¼ cup oil

½ cup onion paste

1 cinnamon stick

2 cardamoms

½ tsp ginger paste

½ tsp garlic paste

Red chilli powder

½ cup yoghurt

1 tsp sugar


Peel the pointed gourd and slit into halves, the pointed gourd can be kept whole, but with slits to allow the spices to seep through. Peel the pointed gourd completely or an alternate of skin and no skin. Marinate with turmeric and a teaspoon of salt. On medium heat, add oil to a frying pan and fry the pointed gourd, once the skin starts to darken, take it off the heat and set aside. In the same pan, with the remaining oil, add onion paste, cinnamon stick, cardamoms, ginger and garlic paste, keep cooking until the raw smell has subdued. Add the salt and red chilli powder. Combine the sugar and yoghurt and add to the pan over low heat and cook for 3-5 minutes, water can be added if the yoghurt starts to thicken. Finish by placing the fried pointed gourds into the gravy and cover over low heat for 2-4 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it sit covered for a few minutes before serving.


Photo Courtesy: Sobia Ameen

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