I write a recipe column in Bangladesh’s English newspaper The Daily Star’s weekly magazine called Lifestyle. The recipes are mostly mine unless I choose to feature the recipe from some other country. But then I customize the ingredients to make sure my readers in bangladesh will have access to the listed items and can enjoy an international dish with local produce. This year, I was with all my family and friends over the New Year festival of Boishakhi and my article below features two recipes, though pictures are sourced. #healthyCANbdelicious 🙂
Here’s to a bright new year and one that arrives with peace and joy for all my dear readers. Shubho nobo borsho or Happy New Year from the Fearless Olive in Greece!
Papaya Stuffed with Lotus Stem and Chili Chutney
- 250g lotus stems, chopped
- 1 large green papaya
- 1/4 cup chickpea powder or beshon mix (add some salt and cumin powder to this)
- 1 tsp fenugreek (methi) seeds and mustard seeds
- Pinch of turmeric and cumin powder
- 1 tomato (optional)
- 1/2 cup roughly ground peanuts (roast them then ground them up roughly, not into a powder)
- Pinch of coriander powder and 1 tsp chopped garlic
- Salt and any cooking oil can be used
- Take a Naga morich (naga chili) and immerse it in white vinegar for about 5 days to 1 week. It loses a lot of its hotness so it is safe to mash this up and add about 1tbs tamarind mash. Add a pinch of rock salt and 1 tsp jaggery or You can make this into a paste and add more chili to your preference
In the hot oil, add the fenugreek and mustard seeds and let it splatter. At this point add the turmeric and garlic and sauté them for about 1 minute until the turmeric loses its raw smell and the garlic has changed color slightly. At this point add the peanuts and coriander powder and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Then add the lotus stems and cook till they are tender. The masala seems to be coming together as the oil will start separating. At this point add the tomato, check for salt and sauté for up to 30 seconds and if the stems look cooked you may take them off. Depending on the size of the stem, you might need to add some water and cover the pan with a lid for a few minutes.
Peel and de-seed the papaya and cut it in half, along the length of the fruit, so you have 2 boat shaped peices. Smear these with some olive oil and stick them into an oven until they are tender. You may alternately boil them till they are soft but do not fall apart at a touch. Sprinkle some salt on the papaya and stuff the hollow parts with the lotus stem mix. Join the two halves and smear them with a thick coating of the beshon. I would not suggest frying this as I rarely ever promote deep fried food but I leave this up to you. Alternately, stick it back into the oven and keep checking so it does not burn but the batter seems cooked.
Cut the papaya up in round slices so you have a doughnut shaped vegetable with a lotus stem filling. Pour the chili chutney on top of this and serve it cold
Leaf Wrap with Banana Stem or Kolar Thor and Potatoes
- 200 g, chopped banana stem. You need to peel or rather, shave the extra layer from the stem, then chop into small cubes and leave in cold water with some salt and turmeric for about 15 minutes.
- 250g Cabbage (big leaves) (you can use spinach or even pumpkin leaves)
- 1-2 potatoes
- Pinch of turmeric, mustard seeds, coriander powder, cumin powder, cumin seeds (roasted)
- 1 tbs grated garlic and ginger
- 1 tbs finely chopped green chili and 1-2 bay leaves
- 2-3 tomatoes, chopped
- 200g shrimp (optional) or any small fish
- 1/4 cup chopped, dried mango bar (aam shotto)
- Oil and salt to your preference
Add the mustard and cumin seeds in oil until they splatter then add the rest of the masala ingredients and cook until the kitchen starts smelling of all the goodness. Add the banana stem and potatoes and cook for another 3-4 minutes before adding the fish. Cook this for another 2 minutes. You can alternately sauté the shrimp or fish with a bit of garlic in another pan and add them to this mix then cook for 2 mins. Add the tomatoes and cook another minute and cover with a bit of water, until the vegetables are well cooked.
Now take any of the leaves you have (spinach or cabbage) and blanch them for about 30 secs in boiling water. The cabbage takes slightly longer, up to 1 min. Make sure you cut the hard stem part of the cabbage after it is blanched, as this will cause an obstacle while wrapping. Take the Kolar thor mix and scoop it into the leaves and wrap them around making sure they will not split open. Now take a pot of boiling water and place a sieve on this. You can also use your Bhapa Pitha earthen pot to steam the wraps. As the food inside is already cooked it will not take very long to steam the leaves. Upto 2-3 minutes until the food inside is transparent.
Make a chutney of the mango bars. Fry them in minimal oil with some mustard seeds and add 1 tbs tamarind (tetul) mix. Cook this till the oil separates. You may make it dilute or leave it thick. Adjust salt and spices
Serving: Serve them with a tomato chutney or the mango mix mentioned above.