BANGLADESH

This national flag was adopted in 1972, following the Bangladeshi War for Liberation from Pakistan. The red disc represents the sun rising over Bengal and the blood of those who died for the independence of Bangladesh. The green field stands for the lushness of the land of Bangladesh.
COUNTRYBangladesh
DishesFish in Yogurt Sauce, Red Lentil Dahl, Jilapi
Time 2 hours in total
Effort 6/10
Rough cost £5-ish
COUNTRY Bangladesh
Capital Dhaka
Population 161, 376, 708 (8th largest)
Land mass 147, 570 km2 (92nd largest)
Languages Bengali (98% ethnic group)
ReligionsIslam (official)

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

This week, Isaac (youngest child of the fam) was completing his Scout’s ‘CHEF’ Badge. So, along with some supervision from his big sister, he cooked up a storm of delicious, Bangladeshi dishes.

Bangladesh has the vast Bay of Bengal coastline to the south, which includes the world’s largest natural sandy beach. Also, Bangladesh is a country full of rivers and inland waterways, due to its position on the deltas of 3 major rivers; the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Yangtze. Therefore, fresh fish is the main protein source in Bengali cuisine and Isaac chose to make white fish baked in a spiced yogurt marinade. He also made a delicious red lentil Dahl, which is very traditional, and served the meal with white rice, which is the staple grain crop. In our research, we found that Bangladesh is famous for its sweet-tooth and there were many tasty, sugary recipes to choose from. We went for the spiral-shaped, deep-fried, syrup-drenched jialpi, which is flavoured with cardamom and saffron in the Bangladeshi way.

This meal was cheap, easy and absolutely delicious; one of the best yet! Tip-for-top: listen to Dhaka FM on ‘Radio Garden’ while you are cooking, to get in the zone. Also, check out ‘The Bangladeshi Kitchen. com’ for loads of other amazing recipes.

RECIPES

Fish in yogurt sauce

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp unsalted cold butter / ghee
  • 1 large onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 lbs fish, large pieces, preferably a white fish (we used frozen)
  • 2 cups yogurt
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 tsp of red chilli (or as spicy as you wish)
  • 1 tsp of crushed fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp of crushed fresh garlic
  • 1 to 2 green chilies, sliced

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium to high heat and when hot, cook the onions until browned.
  3. Add the salt and pepper and transfer to a baking dish so that the onions cover the entire bottom of the dish
  4. Layer the raw fish over the onions
  5. In a bowl, whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice, sugar, 1 ½ teaspoons salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, cumin, coriander, garam masala, red chili powder, ginger, fresh chillies and garlic along with the remaining 1 tbsp of oil.
  6. Pour the sauce over the fish, making sure some also goes underneath.
  7. Cover in foil and bake for about 30-40 minutes until the fish is cooked.
  8. Serve with rice and chopped coriander!

Red lentil dahl (Mashur Dahl)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 cup finely chopped onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chooped
  • 3 green chillis, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped coriander
  • 1-2 tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

METHOD

  • Wash the lentils thoroughly and then add the lentils, water, onions, garlic, 1 tablespoon oil, the tomatoes and all the dry spice powders into a large pot *make sure the pot is large enough as dahl has the tendency to boil over*
  • Simmer over medium heat until the lentils are tender (but still firm) for about 35 minutes hour. Basically, all of the water should be absorbed at this point.
  • Serve with chopped coriander!

Jilapi

INGREDIENTS

Batter

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tbsp gram flour
  • 1 tsp yeast, dissolved in 1 tbsp cold water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1-2 cups of water

Sugar Syrup

  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • A few cardamom seeds
  • A few saffron flowers

*Oil for frying (we used sunflower)

METHOD

  1. To make the batter, mix everything together in large bowl with a wisk. The batter needs to be smooth and the consistency of a thick crepe/pancake batter, so add water until it this is achieved. Leave the batter for about 30 minutes.
  2. To make the syrup, heat the sugar and water together and bring it to the boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  3. Remove the syrup from the boil, add the lemon juice, honey, cardamom and saffron. Then bring it back to the boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and leave to cool.
  4. Now, carefully pour the jilapi batter into a piping bag or squeeze bottle. We used an empty ketchup bottle and it worked a treat.
  5. Heat oil in a pan, at 1 inch deep. You can test if the oil is ready, as a little bit of bread should crisp up very quickly.
  6. Using the squeeze bottle, quickly squeeze a spiral shape directly into the hot oil and cross the centre of the spiral to finish. Tbh, don’t worry about the shape – they will taste incredible anyway.
  7. Cook the jilapi on both sides in the oil, until brown and crispy.
  8. Then transfer to the syrup and soak for just a few seconds on each side. Move to a wire cooling rack (with tissue underneath!).
  9. EAT!!!

*these worked best when they were thin and crispy, so I recommend frying them one at a time. Also, don’t soak them in the syrup to long because they will go soggy, and they tasted way better when crispy.

ধন্যবাদ “dhon-no-baad” and see you in Barbados! M + B (+ I)

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