I’ve been always curious about differences and similarities of neighboring countries cuisines. Differences are interesting in particular. I also know how dangerous it is to make any assumptions after just a peek inside an unknown cuisine. Yet, I dare to say the use of mustard stands out for me in traditional Bangladeshi cuisine more than anything else. Shorsher tel (mustard oil) is one of the primary cooking mediums. Mustard pastes are often an essential part of food preparation. Mustard seeds are part of Bangladeshi 5-spice mix panch phoron (equal parts of whole seeds: fenugreek, nigella, cumin, black mustard, fennel), and most of dishes are started with tempering it in mustard oil or ghee. One of the most popular dishes in Bangladesh is Shorshe Ilish, Hilsa fish in mustard sauce. Google the recipes and read the comments — there are many arguments about almost every recipe from the authenticity point of view. Use of ingredients and cooking methods are guarded and respected. At the same time, life brings Bangladeshi people to other countries, they crave for their favorite food, and they experiment what is available to reproduce it.
“Now here in the US, I get my yearly supply of Kasundi from India. This means I use it with much care, using it sparingly and trying to get most for the tablespoon of kasundi I use. I cannot be as generous with kasundi as I can be with soy sauce. The niggling doubt of what-if-my-stash-of-kasundi-does-not-last-until-Ma-visits consumes me on my worst days.”
Yep, when it comes to food, we all are definitely from the same planet! Anyway. All that mustard affair got me thinking. Are those of us, who are not mustard fans, missing something? I made kasundi, and than cooked salmon with mustard sauce. The taste was so exciting, I feel obligated to add both recipes to my collection!
I asked it on Facebook and asking the same question here: Do I have people crazy about mustard flavors among those who follow this feed? Do I have mustard haters? If you keep a few mustard condiments in your pantry and consider yourself a mustard aficionado, would you be interested to try kasundi? (Note: If you think about substitutions, unripe green mango tastes like unripe green apple, and the mustard oil from India is not very mustardy, to tell you the truth.)