All posts filed under: Bangladesh

Recipe for Vegetable Biryani

Vegetable Biryani for my “Rickshaw Girl”

Cooking a pot of Biryani can be deer-in-the-headlights overwhelming – so much so, most people wouldn’t consider getting the spiced rice dish anywhere but a restaurant. But – ah! I recently learned a few tricks that make cooking this party dish less like facing an oncoming semi-truck, and more like conducting a well-orchestrated fireworks show. A lesson in perseverance Real talk: The first time I made biryani I crashed, burned, and vowed to never make it again. Though you can also find the recipe in India and other nearby countries, I first got the idea of tackling biryani while reading Rickshaw Girl with my daughter. This empowering Bangladeshi chapter book features a young artist who wants to help her struggling family. Though the little girl can’t make money with her Alpana drawings, she hatches a plan to drive her sick father’s rickshaw to supplement the family’s income. Though men traditionally earn the money in her community, she perseveres, proving that girls contribute as much as boys. When the girl’s family shares a platter of biryani on International Mother Language Day (February 21 – “to promote the …

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Monday Meal Review: Bangladesh

Entertaining tip: If the food is going to be spicy, invite people who can take the heat! Sounds like a no-brainer, but little details like this are important. Not knowing your guests’ preferences can turn a great night into a total buzz-kill. “Oh, I didn’t know you don’t like spicy food!” “Oops, I had no idea you were allergic to shellfish.” “What do you mean, you are vegan!?” “What does kosher mean?” “Oh, you don’t approve of drinking alcohol with lunch?” See what I mean? Awkward, awkward, awkward. Bangladeshi food is intensely spicy both in heat and flavor. That’s why it was important to find a guest who could appreciate this. As a hostess it is so more much fun to watch people enjoy the experience you created for them, rather than “fake” enjoyment. Thankfully my husband and our friend Joe (from Joe’s Burger Search) enjoys sweating over their meals. Joe likes hot food so much that he actually makes his own habanero hot sauce in his kitchen, simultaneously creating a 15 foot wide cloud of homemade …

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Vermicelli in Sweet Custard | Shemai Custard

Serves 8-10 This sweet custard reminds me of rice pudding. The man who taught me all about how to make this dish told me that the mixture should neither pour off the spoon, nor stick too much to the spoon. I love directions like that – they make sense! Anyway, if you want to increase this recipe, or decrease it, use this guideline: for every cup of vermicelli, you need 4 cups milk. Ingredients: 3 oz roasted vermicelli – about 2 cups (about 1/2 the package pictured) 8 cups milk pinch of salt 4 cardamom pods, cracked 1 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup himalayan raisins (or golden raisins) 1/8 cup thinly slivered almonds Method: NOTE: Roasted vermicelli is made of wheat flour. I found it at our local Indian market (Laxmi Spices of India 5555 East 41st St, Tulsa). 1. Cut vermicelli into 1 inch pieces with scissors, taking care to not fling pieces all over the kitchen. Just go slow and you should be fine. 2. Add vermicelli to a large pot with milk, salt, …

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Fish and leeks in Hot Mustard Sauce | Sorse Bata Diya Maach

Serves 4 We made this flavorful dish with salmon which became incredibly tender after an overnight marinade and gentle steaming. Although not very spicy, the mustard sauce reminds me of wasabi. Ingredients: About 1 1/2 lbs of fish pieces or 4 fish filets (salmon or trout are ideal) 1 large leek, cleaned and sliced thin (only white and medium green, not dark green parts) 4 green onions, sliced thin For the sauce: 1/4 cup chopped cilantro 4 cloves garlic, crushed 1 1/2 inch fresh ginger, grated (about 1 Tbsp) 2-6 green chilis (4 = Medium Hot) 1 tsp cracked mustard seed (Rai Kuria) 1 tsp turmeric 1/2 tsp cumin 1 tsp garam masala 1/2 tsp salt 1 15oz can diced tomatoes 1 Tbsp mustard oil Method: For the sauce: 1. Put all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Puree. (or use an immersion blender). 2. Add sauce and fish to a casserole. Sink fish into the mixture and cover completely. Let marinate overnight in the refrigerator. 3. Heat a little mustard oil in …

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Spinach Bhaji | Palong Shaak Bhaji

Serves 4 The haunting spice of the panch phoron (fennel seed, mustard seed, black nigella, golden fenugreek and brown cumin seed) really makes this dish unique. Panch phoron is not blended into a powder. Instead the seeds are added whole, creating a subtle crunch. Very tasty variation on spinach. Ingredients: 1 Tbsp vegetable oil 3 green chili peppers 1 small onion sliced thinly 2 cloves garlic, crushed 1 tsp panch phoron 1 lb chopped, frozen spinach 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp black pepper Method: 1. Heat the oil in a skill over medium-high. Add chili and toast for 2 minutes. 2. Add onion and cook until soft. Add garlic and panch phoron. Spices will start to pop and crackle when ready. 3. Add spinach, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, allowing all the flavors to meld. Votes: 1 Rating: 5 You: Rate this recipe! Print Recipe The haunting spice of the panch phoron (fennel seed, mustard seed, black nigella, golden fenugreek and brown cumin seed) really makes this dish unique. Panch phoron is not …

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Potato Curry | Aloor Dom/Aloo Dum

Serves 4 The curry sauce is fire-hot (I was sweating while eating), however the potatoes do not absorb the heat so you can easily control how much chili you get in a bite. To make this dish more mild, adjust the amount of chili powder (or remove this spice completely). NOTE: This recipe makes a LOT of curry sauce, so you could freeze half of it and save for another dish if you wanted to – unless you think you’ll sop it all up. Ingredients: 20 baby red potatoes For the curry: 1 small onion, chopped 1 cup chopped tomatoes 1 tsp grated fresh ginger 3 garlic cloves, crushed 1 tsp cumin powder 1/8 tsp ground clove 1 tsp sugar 1 tsp red chili powder (Lanka guro) (this is VERY hot, adjust according to your tolerance) 1/2 tsp Garam Masala 1 tsp salt Aromatics: 2 Tbsp mustard oil 1/2 tsp cumin seeds 2 bay leaves 1 cinnamon stick 4 cardamom pods 2 cups water Method: 1.  Boil potatoes in salted water until almost cooked. Drain. …

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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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