Chelapata maas di shatkhora (No Oil Minnow Fish Curry)

chelapatha-fish-curry-bengali-shatkhora

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.

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Mutton and Yellow Split Peas Curry (Beri di chana dal)

  I loooove legumes. I could quite happily live off lentils and chickpeas and not miss meat. Well not too much anyways. But combining meat and legumes together is a pretty winning combination in my eyes. This mutton and yellow split curry is one of my absolutely favourite meat curries. I had to do some research to find out what yellow split peas are called in Bengali or other South Asian languages. We call yellow split peas chana dal, however it turns out that’s incorrect as chana dal is quite literally dried, split chickpeas. Yellow split peas are apparently called matar dal. And who said food blogging wasn’t educational, ehhh??

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Ayr maas di aloo ar khomlar bakhol (Bengali Fish Curry with Potato and Orange)

        Happy Monday, readers! I don’t know about you, but last week flew by for me. I fully intended on posting a few more times last week, but somehow time eluded me. And it was a bit of a strange, up and down week, to be honest.   

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.   

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Bhaingan Bhorta (Aubergine Chutney)

  I can often have a glut of things in the fridge or food cupboard. At the moment, it’s spinach, which I accidentally bought an extra bag of (ideas for a recipe, anyone?). As the title implies, on this particular occasion, I had a few extra baby aubergines lurking around in the fridge. In the end, I decided to use them to make a quick and simple bhorta (or Satni as we call it in the area of Bangladeshi my family are from), which would loosely translate to chutney in English. In simple terms, it is just a process of mashed aubergines/eggplant along with some onion, chilli and coriander. I decided to leave the aubergines slightly chunky for a bit of texture rather than completely puree them. A subtle smokey taste is added to the dish by pan roasting the aubergine and onion.    

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.

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Murghi di Khadur Salan (Chicken with Bottle Gourd Curry)

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.

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