This plate of food was one of the many delicious meals I enjoyed last week. It has my favorites: tiny fish cooked with onions and peppers, daal/lentil, rice, shrimp with squash curry and mashed pumpkin (bharta). My plate is missing the small fried fish and the fried squash blossoms. None of this would be available at a restaurant. This is what Bengali food looks like. Vegetable and fish-focused light, flavorful curries, bhartas (mashed veggies with onions and chilies, like mashed potatoes in the West), daal and rice.
I love the idea of eating flowers. These fried blossoms were tender, crunchy and gently spiced.
Prawns with Coconut milk. Classic. Yes the heads are still there. Heightens the shrimp flavor. Taught my girls the joy of sucking on sweet shrimp brains. One of the heavier and involved dishes we had along with the famed Biriyani (goat cooked in a sealed pot with rice, potatoes and spices) from Chef Fakruddin. Luxurious and definitely party food.
We can’t forget desserts. Rice flour and sugar based “Pithas” as well as milk and sugar syrup based “Mishti.” These beauties were not home-made but delicious just the same. Other store bought delights included mughlai paratha (flaky flat bread stuffed with spiced egg), samosas (triangular crispy pastries with beef fillings, not to be confused with potato filled samosas, which are called Shingaras in Bangladesh), Jelabis (funnel cake looking, orange-colored, crispy sweets), patties (chicken or beef filled puff pastry).
It was a week of good eating four times a day, three meals and tea time. I was spoiled, full and happy. Thanks to my mom for planning all the yummy eats and her most talented cook Islam Bhai who fulfilled her plans expertly. He was working too fast and furious for my camera to capture.
The best part of the holidays is around the table eating with family and friends. I had a delicious winter holiday. Hope yours was too.
Wishing you Happy New Year,