|The shutkani torkari ready to eat!|
|The locals at the Al Shad Hotel, College Road, Ulipur will prove enthusiastic accomplices in the quest to discover the local cuisine|
|Health Assistant Shohidur Rahman in primary discussion|
Step 3: Shohidur Bhai will likely stop to show the fishing nets in the waterlogged land beside ricefields at the entrance to the village where the pint-sized puti fish are caught. In the meantime, Bhabi will have started, unasked, to sort the various ingredients onto plates, chopping and washing the onions, garlic and chillies in preparation – so it looks like a TV cooking show set before your arrival. She will have the clay oven fired.
|Bhabi will have neatly arranged all the ingredients in advance, so the kitchen looks like a TV cooking show set|
Step 5: Next, take the dried jute leaves and mix in water, slightly crushing them in the process. While doing this, Shohidur will explain how the jute leaves are harvested when the plants are young, no taller than his nephew. It is the new leaves which are chosen – a process which does not destroy the jute plant. It continues to grow, to provide the golden fibre. The harvested jute leaves are subsequently dried in the sun for 2 – 3 days. Put the washed jute leaves into a pan, adding the fresh puti fish.
|Bhabi will periodically stir the torkari while it cooks for 15-20 minutes|
|The torkari simmering on Bhabi's stove.|
|The smelly shidal ball waiting to be cooked. No outsider would think to put that in their mouths.|
|Brothers Mizanur and Shohidur Rahman.|
Step 10: Meanwhile the shidal disc will have arrived. Its odour is worse than a three-day old shirt and certainly no non-local would ever consider putting that in their mouths. Yet, the Kurigramers know better – that when cooked it will have a spicy, fulsome flavour.
|The shidal concoction ready to be mashed into a bhorta.|
|Shidal bhorta à la Kurigram, à la Bhabi.|
This article is published in Star Magazine, here: Shutkani Torkari a la Kurigram