Asia · Bangladesh · Cultural Heritage

Strawberry Fields are Forever

Strawberry fields are forever was possibly one of the strangest songs I had ever heard growing up and I could never understand why it was called that. I still cant honestly but thats a story for another day perhaps, my struggle to understand music and trying to break into the classics! Today I bring to you stories of: STRAWBERRIES! I grew up in the Mediterranean so although we ate alot of imported food, I had my very first fresh strawberry in Lahore, where we lived for a while (my mother being from Pakistan). The strawberries were used to make strawberry milkshake and it was possibly my favourite summer thing to have. When we moved back to Dhaka, strawberries were one of the many things I missed but then we too, started cultivating strawberries in Bangladesh.

For many, it was like a home gardening project where the strawberries hung from their balconies or even in gardens, like the one below at the circuit house of Panchagarh, or the government owned lodging facility, strawberries added some diversity to the vegetable patch.

Once they became more regularly available in Dhaka, I started incorporating them in my food. Now strawberries are most popularly used in desserts. But I used them in a savoury way and have always loved substituting tomatoes with the sweet-sour flavoured strawberries.

a light strawberry salad
as opposed to the lightness in the above pic, a heavy strawberry salad with cheese and bread!

 

Strawberry bhorta:

Ingredients:

250g of strawberries washed and mashed

2-3 large jalapenos or those huge chilies available in markets

1 green chilli

¼ cup mint leaves

1 tbs roasted sesame seeds

½ tsp molasses

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Boil the jalapeos and chili in water till they are soft enough to be peeled. Mash up the pulp after extracting the seeds. Make a paste of the mint leaves also. Mix the sesame, mint paste, salt and pepper and chili mash with the strawberry pulp. Add some molasses to balance the tastes.

 

Yesterday I took some strawberries and used them in the traditional Cretan way of dakos. These rusks or paximadi are the local version of a bruschetta and I absolutely love how the grated tomatoes, herbs and white cheese, with a drizzle of olive oil, make this a simple yet most mouth watering snack.

How to: Take a boiled egg, dice it up, mix it with some diced strawberries and let the juices come out a bit as you rattle them up in a bowl. Lovingly scoop them onto a paximadi (if the action is not done lovingly, the taste does not come through I am afraid!) or Cretan rusk then drizzle olive oil and sprinkle some salt, pepper and fresh herbs like dried oregano on top.   

The fact that strawberries are in season and lighten up our lives with not just their taste but their vitamins like C, magnesium and elements that prevent pigmentation problems, its time you made the most of them! 🙂

 

 

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