Month: May 2010


The Wild Weather of Bangladesh

Happy Friday, everyone! Here’s a few fun facts about Bangladesh: – the country earned it’s independence in 1971. – “Bong” is a nickname for people whose mother tongue is Bengali (this applies to people in Bangladesh and some parts of India – check out Desihomecook’s comment on this post. – The weather is terribly dangerous. Floods, cyclones, tornadoes, and tidal bores are almost yearly occurrences. According to Wikipedia: In September 1998, Bangladesh saw the most severe flooding in modern world history. As the Brahmaputra, Ganges and Meghna spilt over and swallowed 300,000 houses, 9,700 kilometres (6,027 mi) of road and 2,700 kilometres (1,678 mi) of embankment 1,000 people were killed and 30 million more were made homeless with 135,000 cattle killed, 50 square kilometres (19.3 sq mi) of land destroyed and 11,000 kilometres (6,835 mi) of roads damaged or destroyed. Two-thirds of the country was underwater. There were several reasons for the severity of the flooding. Firstly, there were unusually high monsoon rains. Secondly, theHimalayas shed off an equally unusually high amount of melt water that year. Thirdly, trees that usually would have intercept rain water had been …

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Technique Thursday: Whole Spices

The people of Bangladesh typically store their spices whole. This is because husks, shells, and pods keep spices’ sizzling potential sealed in better than any Tupperware or glass jar. To season food they simply dry roast a small batch of whole spices and then grind them into powder. Preparing spices as needed ensures food with the most vibrant, intense flavor. After all, spices dramatically lose their pungency after only 6 months (sooner if exposed to heat and sunlight). The flavor difference can be compared to making a cup of tea from a fresh tea bag or from a used tea bag. Or a handful of dust. Big difference. I know, I know. You’re thinking… but, Sasha, my spices are fine. And that’s probably true. Just … fine…. But wouldn’t you rather your spices be explosive? Outrageous? Wide-eyed wonderful? Like Michael Jackson in thriller? I thought so. One easy method for dry roasting spices: Heat a skillet over medium-low heat. (do not use a non-stick pan as the coating should never be heated up dry) Add spices and …

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Menu: Bangladesh

In my hunt to find the perfect combination of recipes I read this old saying, “Mach-e Batth-e Bangali” (“Fish and rice make a Bengali” – “the country of Bengal” is the direct translation of Bangladesh). This saying gives a snapshot of what daily meals are like on the river delta where fish are plentiful and rice is handy. If you have time a pot of Basmati rice goes wonderfully with this menu. Other great sides include naan and chapati breads. PS. The potatoes were hot. Not advised for children, unless you are ok with the side effect: laser eyes. Potato Curry (Aloor Dom/Aloo Dum) [Recipe] Small red potatoes cooked in a blend of spices including cardamom, cinnamon, red chili powder, ginger paste, and onion. Fish and leeks in Hot Mustard Sauce (Sorse Bata Diya Maach) [Recipe] Even when marinated overnight, a hearty fish like trout or salmon holds up to a spice bath of turmeric, mustard, cumin, garam masala, cilantro, ginger, and garlic. Spinach Bhaji (Palong Shaak Bhaji) [Recipe] Spinach stir-fried with panch phoron, the Bangladeshi 5 …

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About the food of Bangladesh

Once in a while I hear a word which causes the most curious knee-jerk reaction harking back to my formative school years. For example, whenever I hear the word “Bangladesh” my mind automatically and violently spits back “Dhaka!!!!!” Take this to be a testament to my 7th grade geography teacher. Similar reactions occur when I hear Lima (Peru!!!!!), or Bhutan (Thimphuuuuuu!!!!).  The exclamations marks are subtle compared to how passionately these words materialize. Once out of my subconscious, they rattle around my brain for hours, like a song you can’t get out of your head. So here we are in Bangladesh (Dhaka!!!!) where the climate is tropical and the weather is sunny with alternating floods, droughts, and typhoons. Although more than half of GDP is generated through the service sector, about 45% of Bangladeshis are employed in the agriculture sector, with rice as the single-most-important product. (Source: CIA World FactBook) Let’s talk a bit about their food. Generally speaking, the food of Bangladesh is reminiscent of Northern Indian and Middle Eastern food. Some of the spiciest …

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Monday Meal Review: Bahrain

This is meal #13 in my personal challenge to eat one meal for every country in the world. “Shrimp Balls?” my husband asked, frowning. “We’re having Shrimp Balls for dinner?” “Yeah. Like Meatballs. Only Shrimp. You’ll love them.” Technically I was lying since I never had a shrimp ball in my life, I wasn’t looking forward to trying them, and  I wasn’t even sure why I decided to make them. I know. You’re wondering where my integrity is. I promise you, my heart is in the right place. Sometimes little white lies are necessary if I’m going to beat his Picky Eater Syndrome. Trust me. Still unsure? Well, let me tell you a secret. He was a big fan. He liked the shrimp balls more than I did. So there. Roasted Eggplant Dip (Uukkous Al-Badinjan) [Recipe]   What I liked most about this dish: I’m in love. Really in love. As in… I’m never making baba ganoush again. As you know, I am a big fan of making food ahead so that I can enjoy the party. …

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Adding shrimp balls to sauce

Bahraini Shrimp Balls | Chebeh Rubyan

Serves 4 Shrimp balls blend the flavors of the Middle East with India. Though these are traditionally stuffed with minced onion, I prefer the simplicity of unfilled balls. If you like spicy food, add a sprinkle of cayenne. The way the recipe stands, however, this dish is mild, but wonderfully flavorful. TIP: Use the cheapest shrimp because you are just going to puree it anyway. Ingredients: 1 lb cleaned shrimp 1 Tbsp cilantro 1/4 tsp ground turmeric 1/2 – 1 tsp salt 1/2 cup brown rice flour 1/3 cup ghee or butter 1 onion, minced baharat powder: 1 tsp paprika 1/4 tsp nutmeg 1/4 tsp black pepper 1/4 tsp coriander 1/4 tsp cumin 1/4 tsp cinnamon 1/8 tsp cloves 1/8 tsp cardamom the rind of 1/2 a lemon, grated 1 tsp tamarind paste 1 cups warm water 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes 1/2 tsp chili powder 2 Tbsp sugar Method: For the shrimp balls: 1. In a food processor blend into a paste shrimp, cilantro, turmeric, salt, and rice flour. Chill until needed. For …

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Rosewater Pilaf - Mulhammar

Rose Water Rice Pilaf | Mulhammar

Serves 4 Mulhammar is a slightly sweet rice pilaf is wonderful with spicy food. You’ll love the taunting aroma of rosewater, saffron, and cardamom. Everything is very subtle and mild. Ingredients: 1/2 tsp saffron threads 3 cardamom pods, cracked 2 Tbsp rosewater 6 cups water 1 Tbsp salt 2 cups basmati rice 1/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup ghee or melted butter Method: 1. Combine saffron, cardamom and rosewater in a small bowl. I then used a spoon to mash the saffron mixture into the sugar. 2.  In a medium pot, bring water and salt to a boil. Meanwhile, rinse rice under cool water until water runs clear. 3. Add rice to boiling water and cook 8 minutes uncovered. Stir every few minutes. Drain. 4. Put rice back in pot and add saffron mixture over the top along with the melted ghee or butter. With the handle of a wooden spoon, poke a few holes in rice. Cover with lid and let steam over very low heat for about 20 minutes, or until tender. Serve hot. …

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Fruit Leather Made thin with jarred applesauce

Apricot Fruit Leather | Quamar-el-Deen

Makes about 8 strips Feel free to play around with this recipe to make flavors and combinations that you like. Be sure to check out the tips in Technique Thursday. Time may vary on when this is done, depending on your oven. Please check multiple times so as not to overcook this! Ingredients: 12 ounces dried apricots, quartered 1 cup water 2 Tbsp honey 4 cardamom pods Method: 1. In a small pot, simmer dried apricots with water, honey, and cardamom pods. Simmer about 20 minutes. 2. Carefully remove cardamom pods. Using an immersion blender, puree mixture. The mixture should be a bit thicker than applesauce. 3. Line a baking sheet with silpat (or microwave safe saran wrap). Pour apricot mixture over silpat about 3/8″ thick. Spread evenly. 4. Place baking sheet in a warm oven for 6-8 hours, or until apricot leather is just tacky to the touch. Store, covered in a cool, dry place, refrigerate or freeze.   Votes: 0 Rating: 0 You: Rate this recipe! Print Recipe Feel free to play around …

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Smooth and spicy Eggplant Dip

Roasted Eggplant Dip | Uukkous Al-Badinjan

Serves 4 Make this dish a day ahead to allow time for the flavors to mingle. Uukkous Al-Badinjan blows baba ganoush out of the water! Ingredients: 3 eggplants 4 cloves garlic, crushed 2 Tbsp olive oil 1/4 tsp cayenne 1 1/2 tsp sweet paprika 2 Tbsp lemon juice 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced 1/2 – 1 tsp salt Method: 1. Using a fork, poke eggplants all over. Roast eggplants at 350F for about 1 hour or until soft. NOTE: Today it’s pretty hot in Oklahoma, so I decided to keep the house cool and grill the eggplants. Grill at 350F for about an hour or until soft. 2. Remove from oven and let cool until you can handle the eggplants. With a knife, split eggplants open and scoop out all the flesh into a food processor or blender. Or if you’re like me, into a bowl and use your immersion blender. 3. Add remaining ingredients and puree. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Chill and serve with flatbread or as an accompaniment to main meal. …

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