April 14 or 15 is celebrated as Pahela_Baishakh (also spelled Pohela/Poila Boishakh), the start of the New Year in Bangladesh (April 14) and across some eastern Indian states (April 15) with significant Bengali populations. Pahela Baishakh is traditionally celebrated with large processions with floats (especially in Dhaka), but in both 2020 and 2021, Covid has sent the merriment and public celebrations indoors. However, you can still use the occasion of Pahela Baishakh to make a Bangladeshi feast. One of the most iconic dishes for New Year is panta ilish, a dish of soaked rice (panta bhat) and fried “Hilsa Herring”/ilish fish. If you want a bit more inspiration for a complete feast, you can find entire Pahela Baishakh menus on Whisk Affair, India Today, and With a Spin.
Tag Archives: Bangladesh
When we were at the Long Island City Flea & Food Market this fall we were surprised and pleased to find a stall selling Bangladeshi food, Jhal NYC. Jhal NYC serves street food from Bangladesh including Fuchka and Jhal Muri (a puffed rice snack). Fuchka is popular around the Indian subcontinent and might be known in other areas as puchka, panipuri and golgappa.
Fuckha consists of a series of small crispy dough shells, topped with chickpeas and potato stew along with other garnishes, including green onions, chili peppers and cilantro. Another key aspect is that it is then topped with (or dipped in) a light tamarind water. The fuchka was a delicious mix of complex flavors, and the crispy shells perfectly complemented the soft chickpeas and potatoes. Here is a recipe from Archana’s kitchen for the dough shell and here is a recipe for the Bangladeshi-style filling; or a simplified version that has both parts of the recipe. Fuchka was such a delicious snack – we can see how it is so popular across so many different regions.
Until about a week ago, Team GB had all but struck-out in the medal department at their home Olympics. Fast forward half a fortnight, and their 16 golds places them third on the overall list, as well as garnering them today’s national dish highlight at ETW – chicken tikka masala. Wikipedia offers this succinct definition: “Chicken tikka masala is chicken tikka, chunks of chicken marinated in spices and yogurt, that is then baked in a tandoor oven, [and] served in a masala (‘mixture of spices’) sauce.” The recipes variations are as wide-ranging as its origin histories, but nothing obscures its popularity. Recently Robin Cook, the British Foreign Secretary, declared chicken tikka masala as the new national dish of the United Kingdom. Today, 1 in 7 of all curries sold in Britain are tikka masala, and it is the most popular restaurant dish in the country. But while tikka masala is unquestionably popular in Britain, and has been declared the national dish, its transnational origins reveal a fascinatingly complex and controversial history.