Saturday, March 5, 2011


History: Bangladesh used to be part of India, but then broke off as part of Pakistan.  Eventually, due to politics and marginalization, East Pakistan split off and created the new country of Bangladesh.  (Inside joke: now with words like pantyhose and Bangladesh!  Anyone?)
Location: Southern Asia between Burma and India
Area: Over 140,000 sq km; 94th in the world
         Slightly smaller than Iowa
Population: Over 150,000,000; 7th in the world -- now that is some density
Health: High risk of major infection diseases
Language: Bangla (AKA Bengali)
Schooling: Total school life expectancy is only 8 years
Capital: Dhaka
GDP Per Capita: $1700; 196th in the world out of 229
Ethnic groups: Together with West Bengal in India, Bengal is an larger ethno-linguistic region
Cuisine: Similar to India, although more likely to incorporate beef because the majority is Muslim, not Hindi

And then of course there is the Bengal Bouts.  There is also a documentary by a Grand Rapids Catholic Central graduate.

Bangladesh has a tumultuous past, but recent indicators are looking up for them.  There was a lot of interesting stuff on them, and it is amazing the woes of the world that can go unnoticed unless you go looking.

I was unable to find a clear national dish or most popular food for Bangladesh, so it was much more wide open than some of the other ones.  This actually made it more difficult, rather than less.  Dang choices.  :-)

Finally, with some input from Kevin, I settled on Murgi Kalia.  I checked, and I could find other recipes for it that mentioned Bangladesh (and weren't exactly the same), so it seemed legit.  Also, how could you pass up this story?
When I hear the word "murgi", it always reminds me of the Bangladeshi line "Tor bap murgi chor", which is often used by class mates of the children, and which means "your father is a chicken thief". This is meant to be a serious insult; however, there is one even worse, and this one states, that your father is sexually involved with chickens. I will not repeat that one, because I do not want my site to be blocked by filters.

This recipe had a lot in common with the one from Bahrain, which is interesting.  Unlike what I had thought before, they are not right next to each other.  Some spices are just prolific, I guess.

The recipe starts with telling you to fry the onions and garlic, but doesn't tell you what, if anything, to fry it in.  I decided I would use olive oil, but I'm not sure if this was necessary.
Now, back to those spices.  I still had ginger from the previous recipe, but I put it in the freezer in the meantime.  I remember learning that from the chefs at Epic.  Maybe.  Hopefully.  Anyway, it looked a little...frozen.
A little frost never hurt anyone, right?
Wait...didn't we just do this pictute last week?
The ginger got a little...out of hand.

Now with special effects!
It grew legs!
After that I had to deal with the tomatoes and chicken.  Does anyone have good advice on how to peel them?  Actually, both of them.  I did not skin the chicken for this recipe, but I'm not sure if that was correct or not.
Attempt #1.  It took quite a while.
I generally do not like tomatoes.  But I like almost everything you can make out of them.
I was having a difficult time getting it all to fit.
But eventually I prevailed.
So...time to put it all together, let it boil, and then check on the others.
Vaguely reminds me of the Triforce.  Just...circular.
Kevin didn't want more evidence of him playing video games while I cooked.  It didn't work.
Tesla was playing with the cord on my camera.
Demon cat!
He surveys his kingdom.
 So. The food is boiling  But the sauce is not getting thick.  At all.  In fact, a layer of fat/oil is forming on the top.  Uh-ohes.

I let it keep going, but it wasn't getting any better.  I have two theories.  One was that some of this came from the olive oil.  However, that would mean that it multiplied.  The other is that I should have skinned the chicken and that would have spared us the greasy mess.  I do not know.  Whatever it was, we were stuck with it.
So I served, as well as I could.  It was a bit...runny.
Kevin was being normal until I took the picture.  Then he went back to being normal.  Well, as normal as he can be.
Overall, it was okay.  The flavoring wasn't anything super-exciting.  However, the chicken was very tender.  Much better than most other cooking methods for chicken I have used.  I think what I have learned from this is that the best way to get tender, not-boring chicken is to boil it.  I hope to use this tactic again in the future, but maybe with some of the other stuff different.

Also, I haven't eaten the leftovers yet, and it looks like they are congealing.  We'll see what happens there.

So, Bangladesh, you weren't bad, but also not my favorite.  Perhaps skinned chicken would have made a difference.  But I won't be finding that out anytime soon, I believe.

Responding to previous things, because it doesn't seem as though the comments inform you when someone else comments.  I will have to investigate things.

Katie: I don't know if mutton tastes different, I have never had it.  I just know that they are not the same.  And I think I agree with you on the medical assessment of the Bahamian food...heartattack!  But really, you know the US will be even worse.

Laura: I'm a little confused.  2002?  Is this a repeat?

Last time: Bahrain
Next time: Barbados


  1. The easiest way to peel tomatoes is to make a little cross hatch on the bottom, and then dunk them in boiling water for 5-10 seconds (basically until the skin around the cross hatching starts to curl a little).

    Another big reason this chicken came out more tender is that you used dark meat - it's fattier, so it dries out way less than breast meat. We buy boneless skinless chicken thighs in giant packages at Costco because they're cheap, tasty, and hard to screw up :)

  2. "Women's Rights: Women were granted the ability to vote in 2002"

    Laura's just making a big deal out of women's rights again. GROSS.