Delectable Treasures from the Bengali Kitchen

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Thor Ghonto (Banana stem cooked with rice)

The saying “necessity is the mother of invention”, is appropriate for the inventive people, mostly mothers, who are improvising and turning simple ingredients into memorable meals.  The culinary innovations and inventions are not always awarded and recognized, but the enjoyment, gratitude, and appreciation from the family members is the award that they wait for. One such out-of-the-box creation by my mother is Thor (banana stem) Ghonto (mixture in Bengali).

Ingredients:

  1. Banana Stem (200 -250gms): chopped into small pieces
  2. Gobindobhog rice or jeerakasala rice 1 cup: washed and strained
  3. 2 medium-sized potatoes peeled and diced into cubes
  4. Bay leaves -2
  5. Shah jeera 1tspn
  6. Cardamom 3-4pcs
  7. Clove 3-4pcs
  8. Cinnamon: 1 small pc
  9. Ginger paste ½ tsp
  10. Salt as per taste
  11. Sugar ½ tsp.
  12. Cashew and Raisins 8-10 pcs each
  13. Green chili paste ½ tsp
  14. Raisins 8-10 pcs
  15. Ghee 1 tbsp
  16. Refined Oil 1 tbsp
  17. Milk (normal temperature): ½ cup
  18. Hot water: 2 ½ cup
  19. Garam masala powder: ½ tsp.

     Cooking instructions

  1. Heat ghee in a pan, then add bay leaves, shah jeera, cashews, and raisins. Once the cashews and raisins are fried, add the rice. Stir the rice until it smells fragrant. Then, transfer everything to a bowl.
  2. In the same pan, heat oil and fry the potatoes until they turn golden. Next, add the banana stem and fry until it achieves a golden hue. Then, introduce ginger paste, chili paste, salt, and garam masala powder, and sauté until the mixture begins to release its oils. Finally, add the rice mixture along with cashews, raisins, and the whole spices.
  3. After thoroughly mixing all the ingredients, pour in hot water and milk. Cover the pan and let the ingredients work their culinary magic, transforming into a tender and flavorful delight.

Once everything appears well-cooked, let the dish dress up with a sprinkling of cashews and raisins, adding the final touch of charm before it graces the table as a side dish.

Raw Jackfruit curry with Prawns

A culinary treasure from my grandmother’s kitchen, hailing from Barisal, now part of Bangladesh. She possessed a remarkable talent for crafting exquisite dishes from humble ingredients, surpassing even the skills of professional chefs. The treasure trove of recipes was handed down to my mother, who has diligently preserved the culinary heritage of her mother’s legacy. One such exemplary dish is Raw jackfruit with prawn curry. 

Ingredients:

  1. Raw jackfruit (500gms): chopped into square chunks
  2. Prawn cleaned and deveined 300gms and marinated with salt and turmeric
  3. 3 medium-sized potatoes peeled and diced into 4 halves
  4. Bay leaves -2
  5. Cardamom 3-4pcs
  6. Clove 3-4pcs
  7. Cinnamon: 1 small pc
  8. Onion 3 medium size finely chopped
  9. Ginger paste 1tsp
  10. Garlic 1 tsp
  11. Salt as per taste
  12. Turmeric powder ½ tsp
  13. Kashmiri red chili powder ½ tsp
  14. Sugar ½ tsp. (optional)
  15. Green chili paste ½ tsp
  16. Ghee 1 tsp
  17. Mustard oil 3 tbsp
  18. Hot water: 2 ½ cup
  19. Garam masala powder: ½ tsp.

Cooking instructions

  1. Begin by heating a tablespoon of oil in a pan and fry the potatoes until they become golden hue. Once done, transfer them to a bowl. Follow this by frying the raw jackfruit until it too boasts a golden color, and then transfer it to its own bowl. Lastly, fry the marinated prawns for a brief 1-2 mins
  2. In the same pan, heat the remaining oil. Introduce bay leaves, cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon and stir them until their aromatic essence fills the air. Then, add the onions and fry them until they are golden and tempting.
  3. Now infuse the dish with layers of flavor, with ginger, garlic, and chili paste to the pan, sauteing until they release the oil. To this mixture, add sugar, salt, turmeric powder, and Kashmiri red chili powder, continuing to sauté until the spices blend well and start releasing oil.
  4. Once the spice blend is ready, reintroduce the fried potatoes and jackfruit ensuring they’re well coated with the flavourful paste. Pour in some hot water, cover the pan, and let it simmer until both the potatoes and jackfruit get tender and well-cooked. Add in the fried prawns, and cook for another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat until the gravy gets a thick consistency.

To elevate the dish, add garam masala powder and ghee, and garnish with chili. Serve this tantalizing dish with hot rice or pulao.

-Bidisha Ghosh is an ex-teacher, mother of twins, nature enthusiast, and avid reader.

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Delectable Treasures from the Bengali Kitchen

Thor Ghonto (Banana stem cooked with rice)

The saying “necessity is the mother of invention”, is appropriate for the inventive people, mostly mothers, who are improvising and turning simple ingredients into memorable meals.  The culinary innovations and inventions are not always awarded and recognized, but the enjoyment, gratitude, and appreciation from the family members is the award that they wait for. One such out-of-the-box creation by my mother is Thor (banana stem) Ghonto (mixture in Bengali).

Ingredients:

  1. Banana Stem (200 -250gms): chopped into small pieces
  2. Gobindobhog rice or jeerakasala rice 1 cup: washed and strained
  3. 2 medium-sized potatoes peeled and diced into cubes
  4. Bay leaves -2
  5. Shah jeera 1tspn
  6. Cardamom 3-4pcs
  7. Clove 3-4pcs
  8. Cinnamon: 1 small pc
  9. Ginger paste ½ tsp
  10. Salt as per taste
  11. Sugar ½ tsp.
  12. Cashew and Raisins 8-10 pcs each
  13. Green chili paste ½ tsp
  14. Raisins 8-10 pcs
  15. Ghee 1 tbsp
  16. Refined Oil 1 tbsp
  17. Milk (normal temperature): ½ cup
  18. Hot water: 2 ½ cup
  19. Garam masala powder: ½ tsp.

     Cooking instructions

  1. Heat ghee in a pan, then add bay leaves, shah jeera, cashews, and raisins. Once the cashews and raisins are fried, add the rice. Stir the rice until it smells fragrant. Then, transfer everything to a bowl.
  2. In the same pan, heat oil and fry the potatoes until they turn golden. Next, add the banana stem and fry until it achieves a golden hue. Then, introduce ginger paste, chili paste, salt, and garam masala powder, and sauté until the mixture begins to release its oils. Finally, add the rice mixture along with cashews, raisins, and the whole spices.
  3. After thoroughly mixing all the ingredients, pour in hot water and milk. Cover the pan and let the ingredients work their culinary magic, transforming into a tender and flavorful delight.

Once everything appears well-cooked, let the dish dress up with a sprinkling of cashews and raisins, adding the final touch of charm before it graces the table as a side dish.

Raw Jackfruit curry with Prawns

A culinary treasure from my grandmother’s kitchen, hailing from Barisal, now part of Bangladesh. She possessed a remarkable talent for crafting exquisite dishes from humble ingredients, surpassing even the skills of professional chefs. The treasure trove of recipes was handed down to my mother, who has diligently preserved the culinary heritage of her mother’s legacy. One such exemplary dish is Raw jackfruit with prawn curry. 

Ingredients:

  1. Raw jackfruit (500gms): chopped into square chunks
  2. Prawn cleaned and deveined 300gms and marinated with salt and turmeric
  3. 3 medium-sized potatoes peeled and diced into 4 halves
  4. Bay leaves -2
  5. Cardamom 3-4pcs
  6. Clove 3-4pcs
  7. Cinnamon: 1 small pc
  8. Onion 3 medium size finely chopped
  9. Ginger paste 1tsp
  10. Garlic 1 tsp
  11. Salt as per taste
  12. Turmeric powder ½ tsp
  13. Kashmiri red chili powder ½ tsp
  14. Sugar ½ tsp. (optional)
  15. Green chili paste ½ tsp
  16. Ghee 1 tsp
  17. Mustard oil 3 tbsp
  18. Hot water: 2 ½ cup
  19. Garam masala powder: ½ tsp.

Cooking instructions

  1. Begin by heating a tablespoon of oil in a pan and fry the potatoes until they become golden hue. Once done, transfer them to a bowl. Follow this by frying the raw jackfruit until it too boasts a golden color, and then transfer it to its own bowl. Lastly, fry the marinated prawns for a brief 1-2 mins
  2. In the same pan, heat the remaining oil. Introduce bay leaves, cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon and stir them until their aromatic essence fills the air. Then, add the onions and fry them until they are golden and tempting.
  3. Now infuse the dish with layers of flavor, with ginger, garlic, and chili paste to the pan, sauteing until they release the oil. To this mixture, add sugar, salt, turmeric powder, and Kashmiri red chili powder, continuing to sauté until the spices blend well and start releasing oil.
  4. Once the spice blend is ready, reintroduce the fried potatoes and jackfruit ensuring they’re well coated with the flavourful paste. Pour in some hot water, cover the pan, and let it simmer until both the potatoes and jackfruit get tender and well-cooked. Add in the fried prawns, and cook for another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat until the gravy gets a thick consistency.

To elevate the dish, add garam masala powder and ghee, and garnish with chili. Serve this tantalizing dish with hot rice or pulao.

-Bidisha Ghosh is an ex-teacher, mother of twins, nature enthusiast, and avid reader.