Many moons ago, when I was undertaking a work experience placement, someone asked me what the Bengali version of a Sunday Roast was. I jokingly replied we had Curry Sundays instead. Any family gatherings or inivtations we have usually fall on a Sunday, and usually there is some sort of pilau or biryani dish served as the star of the meal. Now I’ll be honest, before making this chicken pilau, I had never really been trusted enough to make a pilau dish for company. But I feel as though I’ve made great strides in my cooking over the past year, and a few Sundays ago, I decided enough was enough and that I needed to conquer my fear of the pilau.
In the early hours of Tuesday morning, I was awoken by a mosquito buzzing around my ear. I know what you’re thinking, are you vacationing in some exotic resort, Abida? The answer is no, dear reader, I’m still in the concrete jungle of London, and the temperature has hardly been sweltering. It was only when I got out of bed and looked in the mirror that I realised that I had been bit on my eyelid, and my whole left eye had swollen up as a result. I looked like something between Quasimodo and a heavyweight boxer. Not an attractive sight at all.
Though a simple and economical dish, bhortas are a great alternative to curries as they are light and fresh tasting. As you can eat them cold, they are great for warmer days when you might not fancy eating something hot. There is just a hint of spice from the fresh green chillis and the few drops of mustard oil, however it is subtle and complements the overall fresh notes of the bhorta.