Eating at Home in Dhaka

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…

Shrimp Koftas In Coconut Sauce

This recipe, from Khulna, is adapted from my favorite Bangladeshi Regional Cookbook. It is similar to the traditional coconut shrimp recipe, Chingri Malaikari except the shrimp is formed into koftas (meatballs) and the sauce is spicy, sweet because of the combination of  roasted onions and chili powder. The ground shrimp balls are airy and almost…

Daal Basics

I’ll be the first to admit that lentils, beans, chili are not the best-looking dishes. I’ll also admit that a well-prepared daal can be comforting, filling and satisfying enough to overlook the unfortunate  aesthetic challenge. Most uncooked beans are beautiful and vibrant in color. I found vibrant red azuki beans at my local ethnic grocery…

My Three Rices

In my pantry I have a large plastic bin with three bags of rice. I remember, Jim’s surprise, a reluctant rice eater at the time, the first time I brought a 20 pound bag of rice home. Regardless of whether I eat rice everyday, I NEED rice in the pantry. Sure, I also have small…

Bringing Bitter Back

The 2015 December issue of Saveur includes a Bitter Melon tofu stir-fry recipe. It reminded me of my grandmother who would, much to my childhood discontent, insist on starting every lunch with Bitter Melon Bhaji. Worse, she would offer the second course, usually a delicious light fish or chicken curry, only after evidence of a…

Examined Eating in Fortworth, TX

The plate is a left-over recreation of a meal that my fantastic cook and all around awesome sis-in-law, Moli made for us. Goat biriyani, chicken roast, and potato chop (like a croquet), olive pickles [missing the mixed vegetable dish and the cucumber raita salad]. It was a festive meal, full of familiar flavors associated with…

Bangladeshi Cookbooks and National Identity

The emergence of a national cuisine in contemporary India suggests a processual model that needs to be tested comparatively in other postcolonial situations in the contemporary world. The critical features of this model are the twin processes of regional and ethnic specialization, on the one hand, and the development of overarching, crosscutting national cuisines, on…