Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Day 15 - Bangladhesh! Up next, Barbados - click on the link for recipes

Cooking in Bangladesh tonight was especially fun, because the recipe did not come from the internet. Instead, I was given the recipe by my friend and colleague, Sangeeta Dey - a brilliant Pediatric Neuropsychologist I first met while working on a very complex case, but who has since become a wonderful friend. Sangeeta's father, Gopal Deas, is Bengali, so she was kind enough to pass on a traditional  meal that is regularly eaten in households through out Bangladesh.

Because Bangladesh has such a rich and complex political and religious history, I didn't feel I could do the country justice by condensing it's historical time line into a few sentences, so I've included a link which I think gives a fairly good overview for those who are interested: and a band to check out as well:

The dish is called Mangsho'r Jhol - translated, Beef Curry. Now, I know what you're thinking...aren't cows sacred in India? Yes they are, but Sangeeta tells me that 80% of the population in Bangladesh is Muslim,  the remaining 20% are Hindu who do not eat beef for religious and spiritual reasons.

Here are some of the wonderful ingredients I used to prepare this meal: potatoes, ginger, onions, garlic, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and cloves
 Turmeric, Coriander and Cumin

It was well over 90 degrees today, and my kitchen must have been at least 100. As I was seriously sweating over the stove - okay, and I had really big hair too,  I imagined this is what a kitchen in Bangladesh during the summer would be like, so I suppose the sweltering temperature lent authenticity to preparing this meal. And, once again the smell of the rich spices filled up the house with such an exotic aroma, that in combination with the heat, I felt I could have been in Bangladesh, preparing an evening meal for my family. Bridging cultural divides, crossing oceans to distant continents without leaving my kitchen - what an adventure on so many levels.

We ate the meal outside, because it really was too hot in the house. My family LOVED the dish - it had just the right amount of heat and spice, but was offset by the tomatoes and yogurt.  Final assessment - we'll mos' def' be having this again.
Gopal Deas's Mangsho'r Jhol - Beef Curry

  • 1 lb. beef (any cut) cubed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • a few cloves
  • 1 medium finely chopped onion

Sautee onions in oil, add beef, bay leaves, cinnamon stick and cloves in a heavy pot.
Cover with lid and simmer, adding a little water at a time for form a gravy.

When beef is cooked about half way, add more water to make gravy then add:

  • 2 chopped potatoes
  • 1-2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. garlic paste or chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp. ginger paste of chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp Cumin
  • 1 tbsp Coriander
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 small chopped tomatoes or tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp. yogurt

Serve with Basmati rice and enjoy!!!


witchywoman said...

Great recipe! I had to search the internet for mine, unfortunately! I made steamed shrimp with mustard and green chili, a Bengali Dhal and a lemon curd for my menu...I think I like yours a lot better, though...LOL!

sadie said...

I think yours sounds way better!