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Customer Review

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where can I get my hands on some koi?, 22 Jan. 2010
This review is from: Bengali Cooking: Seasons and Festivals (Paperback)
(As everyone knows) it is very easy in Britain to forget that Indian Cuisine is so regional, so diverse and intricate. Learning some of these variations, and appreciating where and why they develop is a current project of mine, a project made all the more tasty I hope by picking up recipes along the way. I have to admit that my mind is a bit like a 'chalni' at the best of times, so there's nothing like a good recipe to help some cultural and culinary history block up those pores!

With this in mind, I picked up Chitrita Banerji's slim volume devoted to the cuisine of Bengal and my ignorance very quickly reared its head: not only is Indian Cuisine rich and various but Bengali Cuisine too has many diversions and variances due in large part to the dietary differences between the various communities of which its societies are made up. These differences can even be political, and are now of course in some sense 'national', so getting an understanding of Bengali Cuisine itself is quite a project! Luckily, Chitrita's Banerji very knowledgeable and anecdotal approach is just the thing (if you have patience). It's a very readerly book. It's not one to turn to without reading, for a quick recipe. Though there are plenty of excellent recipes.

At one point, Banerji describes a conversation with a Muslim friend in Bangladesh where she comments upon 'the comparative richness and heaviness of Muslim cooking versus the lightness and delicacy of Hindu cooking'. Her friend was determined to prove that Muslim cooking too could be delicate and cooked the following dreamy-beyond-belief menu:

plain boiled rice with moong dal, ginger cumin and chilli

fried aubergines

koi with orange

aubergine with tamarind

dessert orange-flavoured sweet rice

Wow. Now that is a menu i want to serve.

ENDNOTE: This book is the exact opposite of that Gordon Ramsay lark that was on the tv recently. Sure, his antics were quite entertaining but the way he spoke about Vegetarianism etc. really showed very very little attempt at understanding or respect. I know it was all in good spirit etc, and i enjoyed it. I'm just saying this is a completely different kettle of koi.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 Feb 2010 03:13:59 GMT
proneil says:
hi colin i've found bream to be a very good substitue for koi. you might try that. good luck with your menu!

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Feb 2010 22:14:27 GMT
Thank-you. I'll try it!

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Mar 2010 22:09:58 GMT
Ms. T. Aktar says:
Im bengali myself and being a muslim bengali have to admit that our food is more richer then the vegetarian alternatives however its still very tasty cooking either! Regarding Koi fish which i just had 2 days ago and was delicious can be picked up from any bengali meat shop as they tend to sell fish aswell eventhough its a butchers shop, might be tough depending on where you live, btw koi comes frozen very hard to get them fresh so you need to defrost in water then clean and gut too..this fish is a very flavoursome fish although it does have many tiny bones!
Good Luck

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Apr 2010 15:15:57 BDT
That's a very good tip. I'll try to find a Bengali Meat shop I can get to because I still haven't tried the Koi, though Bream did indeed work very well. I wonder if it is possible to mail-order it frozen now I know i usually comes frozen anyway.
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Location: Edinburgh

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