Monday, March 17, 2008

Adventures in Bangladeshi Cooking

As I wrote before, the best Bangladeshi food is homecooked. For us bideshis, though, it's not always possible to get an invite to dinner when you're craving a hearty Bangla meal. So, we break out the turmeric and the garam masala and we get our hands a bit dirty.

Yesterday afternoon I spent a couple of hours cooking up a Bangladeshi meal as best I could. While I've improved much over the past couple of years, my plates still leave me longing for the food from Nazma and Dilnasheen's kitchens.

I put together a plate of rice, green beans, lentil, curried beef, and cucumber salad.

Lest anyone mistakenly think my curry powers are more than they are, I must admit that I used a Radhuni packet for the curry sauce. But, this meal turned out to be pretty good. Mustard oil, I am increasingly convinced, is the key. Why Americans don't cook with it is utterly beyond me.

This sort of meal is entirely cookable. If I can do it, so can you. I have yet to find a good Bangladeshi cookbook in English, but if you look online you can find quite a few good recipes. And if you can read Bangla, you'll be set.

While this is a fairly easy meal, some of my other attempts at Bangladeshi cooking have been disasterous. I am assured that shami kabobs (small spicy patties made from meat or fish mixed with lentil) are quick and easy. But I've spent hours, only to end up with a greasy soup of spoiled meat. I once managed to get something resembling a shami kabob to come out of the pan, but it was a far cry from what you'll get in a proper Bangaldeshi kitchen.

My dinner was good, though it still needs a bit of improvement. If I could get some decent Ilish fish, it would make my day. But the food is getting closer, and that's what counts. Perhaps, Mr. Ekram Kabir, someday I will be best radhuni!

1 comment:

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