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Serving Bangla bites

Posted by Osman on June 27, 2007

| Wednesday, April 13, 2005 The TelegraphServing Bangla bites
 
 
 
(From top) Bangladeshi culinary experts Saukat and Nahid Osman at Sonargaon; Pictures by Rashbehari Das

Flavours from across the eastern borders have wafted into the Sonargaon with the ongoing Bangladeshi food festival. Under the able guidance of culinary experts Saukat and Nahid Osman, authentic Bangladeshi recipes have been cooked up to celebrate Poila Baisakh with a 10-day food fiesta, ending April 17.

?Poila Baisakh is celebrated on a grand scale in Bangladesh. Starting at 5 am, the streets fill up and everyone is out to have a good time through song and dance, and especially food. Without the specially-cooked Ilish, no festival can ever be complete,? said Nahid.

?Cooking, eating and drinking are my passions. My mother and mother-in-law are excellent cooks. In fact, when I got married, my mother was rather worried that I might starve. Though my wife started her culinary journey as a novice, today she?s a better cook than both of them!? added Saukat.

Nahid?s first official culinary visit to India was for a Bengali cooking show at the Hilton Hotel in Mumbai. ?The response was tremendous, with people queuing up to take tips. One of the people who used our recipes was Tarla Dalal,? she said.

Speaking on the differences in Bangla and Bengali cooking, she explained how posto (poppy seeds) is very popular in Calcutta, while in Bangladesh it?s sesame seeds.

With an extensive menu laid out for the festival, one can start with a Bhorhani (whisked yoghurt spiced with ginger, mustard and other spices) or Matha (whisked yoghurt diluted with water and seasoned). The Aalu Cheese Chop, Golda Chingri Chita Bhaji (shrimps cooked with red chilli paste and garlic) and Ilish Tikka (hilsa meatballs) are good options.

Progressing to the main course, the Enchor (green jackfruit cooked in garam masala and ghee), Lebu dal (masur dal with paneer and lemon rind) and Potol Dolma Jhol (pointed gourd stuffed with spicy paneer) are sure to appeal to vegetarians.

For fish and meat lovers, the Dhakaiya Golda (river prawn cooked in hot masala), Chital Khari (meat extracted from the hump of the chital fish) and Shorshe Mangsho (mutton cooked with yoghurt, mustard paste, green chilli, salt and garlic) are must-tries. A number of interesting vegetarian and non-vegetarian thalis are also available.

To round off the meal on a sweet note, one can choose from the Gur Payesh (pounded aromatic rice cooked with date molasses and thickened milk), Dudh Puya (rice cake cooked with milk solids, honey and milk) and Zarda Shemai (vermicelli cooked in ghee and garam masala).

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