Food is often something we associate with warm, fuzzy feelings and fond memories that tie us to significant moments in our life. Most importantly, food is also part of who we are as cultural beings. Most of the time, what and how we eat is an indicator of the kind of food experiences we had growing up and the cultures we are initially from.
However, cooking doesn't always go well in our little "ABC" multicultural family: my kids are born in Australia, my husband is from Bangladesh and I am originally from China.
I always try to cook things that can balance out our various tastes at home – and I especially try to make something easy and fun for kids. I also believe that cooking is supposed to pass along the great food we remember growing up with and also encourages our little ones to try foods from both China and Bangladesh.
But the reality is that I'm not too fond of spicy food, but my husband loves chilli. Recently, my toddlers told me that they were sick of my cooking. All of a sudden, I was absolutely out of ideas. I had to call my Bangladeshi sister-in-law to give me some fresh culinary inspiration, to save me from this cooking disaster.
My sister-in-law Lipi Roy, a traditional Bangladeshi girl, has been living in Australia since January last year. She comes from Chittagong (Chattogram), a large port city on the southeastern coast of Bangladesh.
I believe that cooking is supposed to pass along the great food we remember growing up with and also encourages our little ones to try foods from both China and Bangladesh.
Bangladeshi cuisine is a blend of sweet and spicy flavours. The delicate balance between the main ingredients and the seasoning plays a vital role. Bangladeshi cuisine has been primarily influenced by the Mughlai cuisine left behind by the Mughal empire and Persian rulers over time. It includes many rich aromatic dishes, such as biryani and korma, which require the use of a vast array of spices. From my point of view, Bangladeshi food is not as rich as Indian food, and it gives a mildly sweet flavour when you have it.
Egg korma is the one dish she highly recommends to me
It is very trendy and one of the typical foods in Bangladesh. It is tantalising on the tongue and was roughly adapted from a few south Indian recipes. It pairs very well with any biryani.
Egg korma is usually a special occasion food in Bangladesh. People used to have it at engagements and weddings. The dish only needs about 15-20 minutes to prepare and cook. It's a super easy recipe for busy chefs and working parents. Also, it is a different and fresh experience for children who might not have tasted Bangladeshi flavours before – it is neither too spicy nor too mild.
"Egg korma is an easygoing recipe because it can even mix with Chinese fried rice, biryani rice and roti. Also, [it's] a happy meal for younger children, as some of them don't like spicy curry," says my sister-in-law. My little ones don't find it boring to eat. Egg korma is, therefore, an aristocratic but straightforward dish. "It's beautiful Bangladeshi food, which was inspired by Indian cuisine. However, we don't use yoghurt for the dish in Bangladesh," she says. "It's simple to cook and looks fantastic as an occasional dish. "
So let's see how my sister-in-law cooks egg korma.
- 4 eggs
- Oil for frying (adjust to taste – kids may prefer just a drop of oil, but you can add up to 3 tbsp oil)
- 10-15 g onion paste
- 1 tbsp garlic paste
- 1 tbsp ginger paste
- 1 tbsp nut paste, any kind
- 1 tbsp ground cardamom
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- ½ tbsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp milk powder
- Green chilli, to garnish
- Quartered tomatoes and chopped coriander or shallots, to garnish
- Boil the eggs for 10-12 minutes, then drain and set aside.
- Heat oil over medium heat in a frying pan. Add onion, garlic, ginger and nut pastes and sauté for 3-4 minutes (if you prefer to make a smooth and thick gravy, you can add more onion paste or use shallots on top).
- Add cardamom, cumin seeds and ground cloves, and sauté for 30 seconds.
- Add the boiled eggs and salt to the pan.
- Cover the pan and cook on a lower flame for 2-3 minutes.
- Add sugar and milk powder.
- Serve with green chilli if you like.
- For a fresh look, you can also garnish with quartered tomatoes and chopped fresh coriander or shallots.
Note: onion paste is easily made in a food processor. Garlic and ginger paste can be purchased from Indian grocery stores, or made fresh and included with the onion when processed. To make the specific pastes, chop the ingredients roughly, then blitz in the food processor till smooth.
Korma is a mild curry from the North of India, where meat is cooked in a sauce of yoghurt, nuts and spices. It's irresistibly creamy and comforting.