The cuisine of a country defines its flavours, tradition, and culture, thus making it unique. The uniqueness of every country is a matter of pride and glory. When it comes to Bangladeshi cuisine, it stands out from the rest of the world. Although Bangladeshi cuisine allegedly shares its food habits with West Bengal, India, there are several differences than similarities that make it unique.
The Geography of Bangladesh
To understand the cuisine of a country, it is important to know its geography. A riverside country with long stretching paddy fields, Bangladesh is predominantly a “maache bhaate” country. Rice and rice are the staple food of their households.
Traditional Bangladeshi cuisine is not just tasty but equally healthy. Whether it is their fish curry, innumerable vegetable dishes, sweet delicacies, lentils and meat, the food of this land is nutritious.
Bangladeshi Cuisine – Fish
Fish is the most important and common item in a typical menu. Of course, it is a healthy source of protein. Cooked traditionally in mustard oil with “phoron” or “tadka” and some spices like cumin powder and ginger paste, their maacher jhol is to die for.
In Bangladesh, there is a typical way of cooking rice, which makes it more nutritious. Unlike Indian states, the water of rice is not discarded. In fact, water is retained in the rice and allowed to cook so that it becomes nutritionally dense.
Bhorta – The Common Item
Bhorta is a popular item of Bangladeshi cuisine, commonly eaten with rice. Bhorta means Mash of anything concerned. The sheer variety of this one item is amazing. Bangladeshis can make bhorta out of everything; from vegetables to leafy greens and fish to meat. Mashed vegetable bhorta, fish bhorta with chillies, chicken bhorta with spices and potatoes – what a delight!
Daal – Omnipresent
Daal is forever present on the dining table of a Bangladeshi household. Lentil soup, as we commonly call it, daal is rich in proteins. Traditionally, Bangladeshi meal begins with daal, one of the many varieties they prepare out of the same lentil.
Bangladeshi cuisine is predominantly rice based. Pitha, or rice cakes, is an integral part of their cuisine. The wide variety of pithas is one of the most popular delicacies of this country, especially during the festival of Nabanna, or rice harvest, and continues through the winter season.
Indeed, pitha is an age-old delicacy, not just a food or sweet dish. Different types of Bangladeshi pithas have different names and unique descriptions. These were once found in various Mymensingh bollards and oral traditions.
Bangladeshi Regions and Its Special Cuisine
Fish, chicken, mutton, and vegetables are a part of Bangladeshi cuisine, with many varieties owing to the regional factor. That, however, makes their cuisine all the richer. For instance, Chittagong is famous for its “mezban” – a feast or a grand social gathering that offers unique and delectable mezbaani gosht, which is a rich beef curry eaten with steamed rice.
Likewise, Sylhet, another popular region of Bangladesh, offers “shatkora.” Shatkora is a lime that is only produced in Sylhet and the local use it on almost every dishes. Popular shatkora dish is a beef curry, and the pride of Sylhet. Another popular “shatkora” based recipe is called “ponchar” or beef knuckle, which is a tasty and tangy thick soup.
“Chungga pitha” is another popular dish of Sylhet, which is a sticky rice preparation stuffed with bamboo and smoked. The rice is eaten with milk or fried.
Not only Sylhet and Chittagong, but all across Bangladesh, their cuisine is unique, refreshing and cooked in various styles for gastronomic satiation.