The unique flavours of Bangladeshi food

A country’s cuisine they say is to know by means of the recipe; the customs and the richness or poverty of a place, and the spirit of those who inhabit it. It is, above all, to participate in the symbolic celebration of the shared repast. Bangladesh- “The country of Bengal” is one of our neighbours, it is the eight
most populous country and one of the most densely populated countries in the world. And its cuisine though almost like our own, shows some unique elements which make it special.

In order to break the myth of Bangladeshi cuisine being nothing but an extension of our Indian cuisine the “Home Chef Series” of Jyran (Sofitel, Mumbai, Maharashtra ) brought out recipes to depict the rich cultural heritage, medieval literature and riverine geography of Bangladesh. Resident Chef Nayana Afroz who herself hails from Dhaka described the striking difference between the two cuisines. She explained that Bangladeshi food is all about the usage of roasted cumin while in India we use raw cumin. Fish being one of the staples in the country is consumed both cooked as well as in sun dried form. Bangladesh is not only rich in its culture, but its cuisine sings highly about great amounts of spices used in the myriad preparations. The Chef laughingly remarked how she had to tone down the spice level to suit the taste buds of her guests during the festival.

Out of the plethora of dishes that were served during the festival what caught my eye was the “Bharta”. A Bangladeshi specialty the Bharta is a 0 waste recipe. It is called so as the making of the dish involves the usage of every bit of the main ingredient. Right from the pulp to the seeds and even the skin goes in
the preparation of this wondrous delicacy. It is not only easy to cook but highly economical and saves the much precious time in today’s world.

 

 

The succulent Prawn Patora, a shallow fried shrimp plush with flavour is cooked with sheer patience. The shrimps are initially baked in an earthen “chulha” and then fried until it gets its own brown colour. Being a meat lover, I could not resist but have a second serving of the Mutton Razela. Lamb cooked in yogurt gravy with a piquant taste of onion and aromatic spices had the power to keep any foodie captive. For the vegetarian soul inside me the scrumptious Paneer Kota Curry cooked in an exquisite almond gravy felt purely heavenly.

 

 

My secret indulgent food is dessert. I have an incredible sweet tooth and I am a staunch believer of the fact that dessert can never go wrong. Out of all my dessert memories the Bangladeshi Green Mango Halwa shall remain etched in my heart or shall I say my taste buds. A milk pudding made with raw mango had its own distinctive taste; it utterly was a savoury delight. After the festival I realized the magic that resided in the Bangladeshi cuisine and the power that it holds to leave an everlasting impact in one’s hearts and minds. After all, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

By Apoorva

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