Bangladesh: Bengali Fish Curry, Pumpkin Flower Pakoras Stuffed With Mango, & Aromatic Pulau Rice With Spices, Nuts & Raisins


The Q-Zine team recently enjoyed a night of friendship, laughter & beautiful food
when we cooking the food of  

Our Menu included:
Bengali Fish Curry,
Pumpkin Flower Pakoras Stuffed With Mango,
Aromatic Pulau Rice With Spices, Nuts & Raisins

We served this meal with side-dishes of
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

Meal highlight?
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.

Best Tip?
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.

Washing-up rating?
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.

Serves 6
Note: the spices in this curry are fragrant but not hot.

Spice mix:
·      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

Side plate:
·      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:


·      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. 

when second side is browned scoop out fritters with a slotted spoon & lay onto a plate lined with absorbent paper
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:


·      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:


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