Exploring Puerto Rico

Exploring Puerto Rico
At Cafe Puerto Rico in Old San Juan

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Cooking Bangladeshi 101 for Non-deshis :-)

All right, thought I would do mankind justice by actually posting my very first recipe. I was hung up this morning on making almond crusted tilapia with a nice tomato avocado salsa. However, after talking to my cousin Mamur this evening, he begged me to post the very basic Bangladeshi dishes first for a novice cook like himself. And then I thought, how best to start this blog other than posting recipes from my own home cooking and deshi cooking. More over, I was going to make these dishes anyway for my hubby whose day does not feel complete without deshi food. So here goes for my non-Bangladeshi friends and for my husband when I don't feel like cooking:

-- 2 chicken breasts cut up (Yummier with a whole chicken cut up, just adjust spices)
-- 2 red potatoes peeled and cut up in chunks (put in water bowl to prevent browning)
-- 2 roma tomatoes diced
-- 1 red onion sliced
-- 4 garlic cloves sliced
-- 1 inch ginger minced
-- 1/2 cup plain yogurt beaten
-- Spices: 1/4 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp red chilli powder (this blog is called spicy after all), 1 tsp coriander, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp paprika, 3 cardamons, 3 cloves, 2 bay leaves, and my secret ingredient is 1/2 tsp Ras-el-hanout (Moroccan spice, don't worry about not using if you don't have it, but I like the star anise in it, gives the curry that special umph and everyone wonders why my curry tastes different. This is where my Moroccan fusion comes about)
-- 3 Tbsp canola oil
-- Salt and pepper to taste
-- Cilantro to garnish

Chicken Curry with Potatoes and Yogurt

1. Heat up the oil on medium heat with the cardamon, cloves and bay leaves until warm (1min). Add the onions and fry till golden brown (about 5 min). Add the garlic and ginger and keep frying until fragrant (another 2-3 min).
2. Add the turmeric, red chilli powder, paprika, coriander and cumin and ras el hanout if you have it and keep on frying. If you feel all oil has been absorbed, add a Tbsp of oil. Fry for about another 2-3 min.
3. Throw in the potatoes and sprinkle some salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper and keep on frying over medium heat for about 3 min. You do want the potatoes to absorb the spices.
4. Throw in the chicken pieces (Ideally, you would marinade the chicken with yogurt and a little bit of turmeric and red chilli for color overnight or for few hours. But I never seem to have the time for this step. So I just add in the chicken as is and it still tastes real good). Keep on frying and stiring for about 10 min. Reduce heat a little if needed and cover pan for the last 5 min. Sprinkle a little salt. Don't overdo the salt, you will have a chance to taste the salt a little later.
5. Add in the tomatoes and keep on frying for another 3 min.
6. Now, pour in the yogurt over low heat and keep on stirring for another 2-3 min. The mixture now will be a little watery because of the yogurt. Low heat to prevent curdling.
7. Add about 1/2 cup to 1 cup water depending on the consistency you like. Stir the mixture well for a minute or two. Now, taste the sauce for salt.
8. Cover and let cook over medium heat for about 10 min. The potatoes have to boil.
9. Once the mixture is well boiling, turn down the heat to low and keep covered. Check every now and then and stir. Add water if needed.
10. Leave for about 40min-45min with the cover on over low heat. Gravy should thicken  by the end and the color nice and deep. If potatoes are soft, it's an indication that the chicken should be done as well. Check for salt.
11. Sprinkle some cumin on top and stir a little carefully not to break up the potatoes and chicken pieces.
12. Throw in some cilantro leaves on top et VOILA!!! Enjoy with a steaming bowl of rice!


  1. Yum. I am drooling already. You never cooked for me woman!!! I'll hold you to that!

  2. Ras-Al-Hanout! There goes out your little secret! That little extra taste no one could identify! hahahaha

  3. Tania, promise to cook for you when you come to DC next. Or will you be coming to DC next? :-)
    Rims: I was never a girl with secrets :-)