Bangladeshi Cuisine - Staple Ingredients and Spices

Staple Ingredients and Spices

  • The staples of Bangladeshi cuisine are rice,
  • Atta (a unique type of whole ground wheat flour),
  • Lentils/Pulses at least five dozen varieties, the most important of which are chana (bengal gram), tur (pigeon pea or red gram), urod (black gram), and mung (green gram). Pulses are used almost exclusively in the form of dal, except chana, which is often cooked whole for breakfast and is processed into flour (beshon).

However, unlike neighbouring Indian food that includes types of rice and bread, the main source of carbohydrates in a "regular" Bangladeshi meal is plain white rice or bhat. Different kinds of fried rice, in the forms of polao and biriyani are eaten mainly on special occasions and at parties.

  • Bangladeshi food varies between very 'sweet' and mild-to extremely spicy, many tourists even from other South East Asian and Subcontinental countries find the food spicy. It resembles North East Indian and South East Asian food more closely than that of any other part of the Subcontinent, most likely due to geographic and cultural proximity. The most important flavours in Bangladeshi cuisine are garlic, ginger, lime, coriander, cumin, turmeric and chili. In sweet dishes, cardamom and cinnamon are amongst the natural flavours.
  • Fresh sweet water fish is one of its most distinctive features; Bengal's countless rivers, ponds and lakes teem with innumerable varieties of fish such as rohu, hilsa, koi or pabda. Almost every village and Bengal have ponds used for pisciculture, and at least one meal a day is certain to have a fish course.

Not only that, in the southern region there is a huge resource of various sea fishes & crabs. People of southern region not only sell the fresh sea fish but also preserve the fishes by sun dried them after process them with sea salt. These fishes are here called as "Shutki". Shutki are very popular among the southern people & tribal people, who cooked their food mainly influenced by Arakani cuisine.

The variety of fruits and vegetables that Bengal has to offer is incredible. A host of gourds, roots and tubers, leafy greens, succulent stalks, lemons and limes, green and purple eggplants, red onions, plantain, broad beans, okra, banana tree stems and flowers, green jackfruit and red pumpkins are to be found in the vegetable markets or sobji bazaar. Bitter vegetables like korola/ Usche satisfy the love for bitters. Bengalis are particularly good at using leftover bits of vegetables. Peels, roots, stems and other bits that usually get thrown out often find themselves in starring roles in Bengal.

Bangladeshi's are also fond of "Kochu" and various kinds of "sak" like- palong (spinach), pui, lal sak, kolmi sak, dheki sak, lau sak, kumro sak (pumpking leaves) etc. which are often cooked with fish or vegetables as a compatible.

  • Meat

Chicken & mutton are always the favorite meat items among Bengali's & all across Bangladesh. Now beef is also even more popular & often cooked in nawabi style influenced by Awadhi cuisine. Not only this, pork is also eaten here in Bangladesh mostly by Anglo-Christian community & tribal people. One can also find lamb in the south eastern territory but very rarely cooked in the Bengali cuisine. Other than that Duck, Koel, other migratory birds are also popular which are mostly cooked in the winter season here.

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