I can cook ANY vegetable no problem but avoid meat & fish because I am scared. A Bengali woman afraid to cook meat & fish will surprise a lot of Bengalis.
We Bengalis are traditionally ‘non-vegetarians’ and fish curry-rice is a staple. Some Bengalis, like my sister can even eat fish curry rice for breakfast and let me tell you she is not considered odd in our community.
Some Bengalis are militantly non-vegetarians. If a vegetarian-only buffet was to be served at a wedding there would be a mass walkout and the family would never live down the shame!
My mother was constantly appalled (and ashamed) at my vegetarian dinner parties.
But meat and fish are tricky. There is Salmonella at one end and overcooked rubber at the other. I never can successfully navigate between killing myself or my taste buds.
But one must conquer one’s fear. So one does what she can. One chooses to experiment on one’s husband, naturally.
I often play with chicken. Get that right and then graduate to the more advanced ‘red meat’ level.
Fish curry is another matter. For a Bengali fish is our birthright. It must be sweet river fish and whole level of culinary expertise that is fiddling around with mustard paste, coconut juice (not milk, not water) and banana leaves!
Cook curry only with meat on the bone, none of that namby-pamby boneless rubbish. I learn’t from Ma to marinate it in yogurt with ginger-garlic paste, chillies/chilli powder, cumin powder, corriander powder, salt and turmeric.
Get additional ingredients ready. They are ginger paste, coriander, cumin & turmeric powders, chopped onion and those giant chillies. Again be sensible with the chillies.I used canned tomato paste and mixed in the coriander, cumin and turmeric powders.
Save the marinade. It will form part of the curry.
once onion and ginger are well cooked, add the liquid ingredients.
So far so good. I know the flavours must mesh together.
Then add the drumsticks….and pray
Cooked for ages, covered, uncovered, all on LOW till it looked like this.
I should have checked the chicken but didn’t. But then I cooked the chicken drumsticks for quiet a while so I am confident I wont kill anyone today.