PRAWNS IN BOTTLE GOURD LEAVES (CHINGRI MACHER PATORI)
½ kg prawns (head and tails 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
Mustard oil (2 tbsp for the filling; 6-8 tbsp to fry)
10-12 bottle gourd leaves (lau shak)
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 with a grainy texture or can be as smooth as a paste. Add salt, sugar, and mustard oil to create the filling.
Before using the bottle gourd leaves, make sure to wash them thoroughly. Take an individual leaf, spread the mustard and coconut mixture in the middle of the leaf and place a prawn in the middle. Wrap the bottle gourd leaf so that there is no filling coming out and set aside.
Repeat this process until you have enough parcels to fry.
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 10 minutes, make sure to check in a few times and turn the parcels around.
Place on top of rice of your choice.
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. Mix well and pour half a cup of water. Keep simmering the gravy over medium heat. When the oil starts to float, 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 for 5 minutes, flip the pieces of fish and cook covered, for another 5 minutes. This process should reduce the gravy and bring the oil to surface, and is also an indication of the fish being entirely cooked.
8-10 medium pointed gourd (potol)
¼ tsp turmeric
2 tsp salt
¼ cup oil
½ cup onion paste
1 cinnamon stick
½ tsp ginger paste
½ tsp garlic paste
Red chilli powder
½ cup yoghurt
1 tsp sugar
10-12 prawns (optional)
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 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 darken, take 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. Cleaned and deveined prawns can be added while the gourds are cooking under the lid. Turn off the heat and let it sit under cover for a few minutes before serving.
Food and photo: Sobia Ameen