This meal seemed simple enough, yet each item was packed with flavor, and with the promise that I know I could make it even better if I did it again. That's the hard part about recipes and this blog -- you almost always have to add a little less of this, a little more of that, leave it in for longer than indicated, etc. It's hard to do some recipes once and call it done.
The bread I chose was called butter buns. It was similar to the braided bread ("choreg") that I made when I did Armenia. Except, instead of braiding the bread, I just twisted the two strands, and then used the other part to surround the twisted part. After it comes out of the oven and cools, you slice it open long-ways to spread a butter-powdered sugar whip inside. It was so good. Next time I make it, I might add a touch of cinnamon to the whipped butter mixture. This was definitely the best part of the meal.
I also chose another bread recipe to make called aloo parantha. It's basically making another basic dough of flour, water, and a pinch of salt, and spreading it out in small circles. Then you place a ball of mashed potatoes mixed with cumin, onions, green chiles, and other spices in the center of the ball and wrap the dough around the potatoes. Once your oil heats up, you carefully flatten these balls and fry them. The turned out really good; I just wish I used a tad more cumin in the mixture. My husband wanted to use two pieces of aloo paratha as buns and put a piece of breaded tenderloin in between. I had a hard time telling him that was too much, considering that I just tried my first Cuban sandwich yesterday.
Finally came the main entree: chirar polau, or fried flat rice. Well, first off, I never researched ahead of time what flat rice actually is, so I used jasmine rice. I'm not even sure if I could've found it anyway. (I did, however, learn later that flat rice is dehusked rice that is flattened and swells up when immersed in liquid. Popular in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal.) It's more or less fried rice with egg, red bell pepper (that was called "capsicum" in my recipe, a term common in Australia, New Zealand, and in India), cauliflower, onion, sesame seed (only because I didn't have any poppy seed), black pepper, cardamom, salt, and I added green chiles. My only problem was that the rice was still crunchy, probably because I wasn't using flat rice. I had to throw some water in the skillet and let it absorb to soften the rice. Once that was done, it was really good.
One thing about food is that it can bring back memories. It is true that food and eating touches on all five senses: hearing, touching, sight, smell, and taste. And each of these senses are connected to the area of the brain that is associated with memory. And everyone has a certain food that makes a person remember a certain event or person or something. For me, foods that take me back to my childhood are Pop Rocks, wilted lettuce salad, beer nuts, and chocolate soda with chocolate ice cream. My husband's are sweet potato pie and banana pudding. I mention all this because the author of the blog I found all of these recipes from (Rownak's Bangla Recipes) ate the butter buns as a child, and the very last step in the directions read "Enjoy the Butter Buns with sweet childhood memories." I may not have butter buns as my childhood memories, but maybe my kids will.
Up next: Barbados