After what seems like a long break on the Eaternational journey, I pick up where I left off with Bangladesh. I found out from reading around that about three quarters of the ‘Indian’ restaurants in the UK are actually Bangladeshi owned, so a lot of my favourite dishes, including the Korma, are Bangladeshi in origin.
There is large overlap between Indian and Bangladeshi food, which makes sense as they were the same country until 1947. After doing my research, it seems like one of the major differences between Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi food is due to religious differences between the countries. As the majority of Indians are Hindu, beef is rarely served. Bangladeshis, on the other hand, are predominantly Muslim, and so pork is rarely seen. The other big influence on Bangladeshi cuisine is the amount of the country underwater (up to 80% during monsoon!), and so fish is a really important protein source. There is a saying in the country “Machh-e-Bhat-e-Bangali” which means fish and rice make a Bengali.
So, fish and rice seemed like the obvious thing to cook. I’ve gone with a fish and potato curry out of Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey book (a great book if you don’t already have it) which includes a section on Bangladesh.
As I was unable to get old of any traditional fish, I bought some monkfish as it has a good meaty texture and doesn’t fall apart in a curry. We have a great fishmonger in Northwich called Dilworth’s.
To make the curry put chopped onion, chopped garlic and chopped ginger into a blender and make into a smooth paste. Cut some waxy potatoes into thin slices. Heat oil and fry off the onion paste until brown. Add chilli, ground coriander seed, turmeric and salt and fry. Add some water and then the potatoes and simmer until the potatoes are tender. Cut the fish into chunks and stir into the curry until cooked. Stir through palm sugar, lime juice and coriander.
This tasted a bit too bitter mid-way through cooking and I was getting worried until the palm sugar was added. The curry turned out really well with a subtle fish flavour and lots of spice.
We ate the curry with some basmati rice and some pakora and bhaji from a wonderful stall on Knutsford artisan market which we visited this morning.