The Q-Zine team recently enjoyed a night of friendship, laughter & beautiful food when we cooking the food of Bangladesh.
Our Menu included:
Bengali Fish Curry,
Pumpkin Flower Pakoras Stuffed With Mango,
& Aromatic Pulau Rice With Spices, Nuts & Raisins
sliced fresh red chilli, Papadums & Mango Chutney
Bangladesh is probably better know for its food security issues
& history of famine than for its fabulous food,
but we found the Bengali cuisine to be
fragrant, fabulous & delicious.
In fact it was a huge success with all our dinner guests
Who gave the dinner an unbeatable, unanimous & perfect
Food rating of 10 out of 10
Was definitely the Pumpkin flower Pakoras prepared & cooked with skill by my beautiful girlfriend Toshie. We adapted this recipe by stuffing the flowers with mango because we could not access mango powder which was a component of the spice mix.
Toshie used long wooden cooking chopsticks to turn the delicate Pakoras in the hot oil – she also picked some of the pumpkin plant tips which she dipped in the last of the egg batter then fried in the same oil – not sure if this is something that cooks in Bangladesh would do but it was amazing so I recommend you try it too.
How long did it take to prepare?
Working busily, Toshie & I were able to prepare this meal for 6 dinner guests in 1 ½ hours; that includes going out to the garden to pick herbs & harvesting the pumpkin flowers.
We did it together so we enjoyed it but if you were on your own it would be a task:
Tip – make sure you have more than one person doing the washing up!
I loved the language in the original recipes & it inspired me to get a sense of how a cook or chef from Bangladesh might explain how to do something, so rather than erasing their words into a western way of describing their food I have left much of the language intact. I hope it inspires other western cooks to respect the many ways the people of the Globe view food & cooking, & to cook with courage & heart.
BENGALI FISH CURRY
Note: the spices in this curry are fragrant but not hot.
· 3 teaspoons coriander seeds
· 1 ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
· 3 whole cloves
· 10 dried cardamom seeds
· 6 cm of cinnamon stick
· 1 .2 kg or 6 fillets Mackerel or Mahimahi cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
· 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 3 tablespoons organic sesame oil
· 1 finely chopped red onion
· 1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
· 2 garlic clove, minced
· 2 bay leaf – sliced in chunks
· 3/4 cup water
· 1 ½ teaspoon salt
· 1 teaspoon sugar
· 1 ½ cup plain whole milk yoghurt
· fresh cilantro / coriander
· 4 fresh red chilli sliced thinly; for those who like food spicy to sprinkle on the fish
1. To prepare spice mix, combine first 5 ingredients in a spice or coffee grinder; process until finely ground.
2. To prepare fish, combine cubed fish with turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl; toss well.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
4. Add fish & cook 5 minutes or until fish is lightly browned and flakes easily when tested with a fork (do not overcook). Remove from pan.
5. To prepare sauce, add onion to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until tender.
6. Add ginger, garlic, and bay leaf; sauté 2 minutes.
7. Add ground spice mix; cook 2 minutes.
8. Stir in water, 1 teaspoon salt, and sugar.
9. Remove pan from heat; & gradually stir in yoghurt.
Note: Slowly add the yoghurt to the sauce for smooth results.
10. Cook over low heat 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
11. Return fish and accumulated juices to pan.
12. Cook over low heat 5 minutes or just until heated.
13. When ready to serve garnish with sprinkling of fresh corinander
Recipe adapted from original found at:
PUMPKIN FLOWER PAKORAS STUFFED WITH MANGO
· 12 pumpkin flowers
· 1/2 mild onion – sliced very thinly
· 1 Mango – meat sliced into thin chunks
· 12 pumpkin plant tips
· 1 egg
· I pinch pink Himalayan sea salt
· pinch cumin powder
· I pinch coriander powder
· I pinch dry ginger powder
· 1 pinch black pepper
· 1 pinch salt
· I pinch asafoetida
• Oil for shallow frying – we used 150 ml organic sesame oil
1. We will take only Pumpkin flower’s petal. So remove rest of part.
2. fill each flower with a teaspoon of sliced onion & a slice of mango and fold the petals over to enclose the stuffing
3. to make batter place all dry batter ingredients in a bowl then crack egg into the bowl & whisk until frothy
4. Heat the pan with oil on medium. When oil is ready, dip flowers into egg batter
& gently place in oil
5. Fry it till it becomes golden brown on one side then turn over.
6. now take the pumpkin plant tips & coat them with the remainders of the batter mix & drop them one by one into the still hot oil. fry pumpkin tips rapidly in oil then scoop out
7. Serve pumpkin flower fritters hot.
Recipe adapted from:
AROMATIC PULAU RICE WITH SPICES, NUTS & RAISINS
· 250 gm Basmati rice
· 3-4 cardamom
· 1 cinnamon stick
· 1 bay leaf
· 3-4 cloves
· 6-7 black pepper seeds
· 4 tsp ghee
· 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
· 1 tsp Salt
· 3 tsp sugar
· 50 gm Cashew nuts
· 50 gm Peanuts
· 50 gm Raisin
· 2 cups of water
1. Wash the rice and drain water completely.
2. Heat a pan and add ghee.
3. Let the ghee get properly heated.
4. Fry the peanuts, cashew nuts together
5. When nuts begin to become brown & fragrant scoop them out of the ghee and keep them aside.
6. Now add rice to the pan & stir well so all the rice grains are coated with ghee.
7. Add turmeric powder, salt & mix everything together well with a wooden spoon.
8. Keep stirring the rice in ghee until the rice colour changes,
9. add fried nuts and raisins & stir & keep cooking
10. add the water, bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, sugar & black pepper & gently bring to the boil stirring often to prevent rice from sticking
11. Cover the pan with lid
12. Turn heat down to low & cook covered for 10 minutes.
13. Do not uncover pot from this time until ready to serve.
14. After 10 mins turn off heat & allow covered pot to sit on the cooling element for a further 10 minutes
15. Before serving fold the rice over a few times with a wooden spoon to ensure it is fluffy & all the spices are mixed through
16. Use the cinnamon stick to garnish the dish
Recipe adapted from original found at: