You know what really gets my goat? When I hear a lot of younger Bengalis these days defiantly declare a profuse dislike of fish. It is sadly a common complaint that plagues many of those in my generation. In case you haven’t figured out by now, I loove fish! As I’ve mentioned a few times before, it is the huge diversity of fish dishes that makes Bangladeshi food distinctly stand out from its South Asian counterparts.
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.
Ah, the humble khadu. Sometimes known as doodhi or laukhi, this bottle gourd vegetable is now widely available in a lot of supermarkets in the UK. There are apparently lots of health benefits associated with doodhi too, from helping with digestion and weight loss to helping with stress relief. According to online sources, duudhi tastes great in desserts such as halwa, however, I bring you a recipe today using this vegetable in a curry. Typically, in Bangladeshi home cooking, khadu may be cooked either with fish or chicken. When it is cooked with fish, it is often cooked with less chilli. My preferred version however is in a spicy curry with chicken.