Aidha Cader follows the trail of the fragrant spices which are used to whip up the Boishakh spread
Photographer: Abu Naser


Spicy Bhetki Maacher Bhorta

The Dining Room

Ingredients
3-4 thick pieces of fish (you can use any fish)
2 green chillies, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
½ inch stick of ginger paste
A handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 dry red chilli
2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
½ tsp ground coriander seeds
¼ tsp garam masala powder Salt
2 tbsp mustard oil (add more if required)

Preparation
Marinate the fish with salt and turmeric for fifteen minutes.
Heat oil in a heavy base pan and shallow fry the fish pieces one by one, till they are dark brown and crispy on the outside. Once done, set aside to cool. Next, mash it using your fingers and remove all bones. Heat the remaining oil and add the cumin seeds and the dry red chilies. When it starts to splutter add in the onions and stir until it become translucent. Add the ginger, garlic paste and sauté for a few minutes. Next, mix in the mashed fish, salt, ground coriander and garam masala powder. Mix well. Stir in the chopped green chilies, coriander leaves and remove from the stove.
Adjust the seasonings and serve with hot rice.


Aromatic Hilsha Khichuri

The Dining Room

Ingredients
2 cups Basmati or Chinigura rice, wash and drained
1 cup masoor daal, washed and drained
¼ cup onions, chopped
½ tsp turmeric powder
4 pieces green chillies
2 bay leaf
¼ cup soybean oil
10 cups water
8 slices of Hilsha, marinated with salt and turmeric
¼ cup onion paste
¼ cup natural yoghurt
1 tbsp mustard paste
2 tsp ginger & galic paste
½ tsp cumin paste
1 tsp red chilli powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
¼ cup mustard oil

Preparation
Heat some oil in a pan, fry the fish slices until firm and set aside. Heat the remaining oil and add all other ingredients except the yoghurt. Cook under moderate heat for two minutes. Whisk yoghurt with half a cup of water and a pinch of flour and add it into the gravy.Place the fish pieces and let it simmer. Once cooked remove from the stove and set aside to cool. Heat mustard oil in a pan and fry onions until soft. Add rice and daal. Mix in turmeric, bay leaves, green chillies and add 5 to 6 cups of warm water with salt. Cook over medium heat stirring occasionally. Once the water has simmered add the cooked fish and green chilies.Cover and cook over low heat for fifteen minutes.



Mustard Flavoured Shorshe Ilish

Premium Sweets 

Ingredients
6 pieces of sliced Hilsha, marinated with salt and turmeric 2 tbsp mustard seed 3 tbsp onion paste 8 green Chilies ½ tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
½ cup mustard oil
1 tbsp deep fried onions

Preparation
Make a paste with the mustard seeds and 5 green chilies. Add a tablespoon of oil into a pan, then fry the fish for a few minutes and set aside. Heat the remaining oil in a separate pan, add onion paste, turmeric, salt and simmer until the oil starts to separate. Add one and a half cups of water and bring it to boil. Next, add the fish and three whole green chilies. Cover and cook for six minutes. Add in the mustard paste and continue cooking for a further three minutes. Adjust seasoning once it simmers, then remove from the stove garnish with fried onions.


Turmeric and Chilli Flavoured Fish Fry
 
Premium Sweets 

Ingredients
1 medium size whole Tilapia ½ tsp coriander powder
3 tbsp lemon juice
Salt to taste
1 cup soybean oil
½ tbsp ginger paste 1 tbsp garlic paste
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tbsp red chilli powder

Preparation
Wash the fish well and make 3 to 4 cuts with a knife on all sides.Marinate it with lemon juice, salt, turmeric, coriander, chilli powder, garlic and ginger paste. Set aside for thirty minutes. Heat oil in a frying pan and place the fish. Fry on a medium flame and once golden in colour, turn it over and fry it on the other side for five to seven minutes. Take it out from the pan and serve hot with white rice.


Ambul Thiyal Tuna Fish Curry

Taste of Lanka

Ingredients
1kg of Tuna fish
70g of dried bridle berry (Goraka)
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tsp of chopped ginger
1 cinnamon
2 tbsp of ground black pepper powder
5 green chilies (chopped)
A few curry leaves
Salt to taste
2 cups of water

Preparation
Mix the fish and all the ingredients in a large cooking pot. Let it marinate for ten minutes and then transfer it to a clay pot. Cook on high heat for 3 minutes. Once the mixture begins to boil reduce heat cover and cook for 20 minutes. Open the lid and cook further for the excess liquid to dry.

Maldives Fish Sambol
Taste of Lanka

Ingredients
60g dry red chilies
15g pounded Maldive fish,
60g small onions, peeled and chopped
Lime juice to taste
Salt to taste

Preparation
Soak the chillies in water for 10 minutes and remove their stems and seeds. Combine with Maldive fish and onions and pound in a mortar and pestle to form a coarse paste. Add lime juice and salt to taste. Serve it with Kiribath

Staying within the fringes of mainstream cultures, Aidha Cader, ICE Today’s culture connoisseur has inculcated an appreciation for food, history, travel and art beyond her comfort zone.