Bangladesh and Finland: A Shared Love for Fish

I was born in the land of rivers, Bangladesh. Life, however, has now brought me to the land of a thousand lakes, Finland. These two countries are polar opposites in many ways, but there is one thing in common between them – the abundance of fish. The vast array of water types in Bangladesh supports multitudes of species of fish. Some 260 species of freshwater fish belonging to 55 families abound in the freshwaters of Bangladesh. So it no wonder that Bengalis are famous fish lovers. There is this famous saying that goes, ‘Mache bhate Bengali’, which means (eating) fish and rice is what makes (someone) a Bengali.

overhead shot sardines placed dark green plate

Finnish people are also very fond of fish. A total of 104 fish species have been encountered in Finland. I live in the small city of Kuopio, and there are lakes everywhere I look. Even in the freezing temperatures of December, people seem to be fishing over the frozen lakes. Many fish items such as smoked vendace, perch and burbot, fried pike, perch and zander, burbot and pike soup, salted whitefish, and trout are often seen in typical Finnish meals.

Becoming more of a Bengali Through Cuisine

Regardless of how delicious these dishes might be, after living in Finland for a long time, I, like many other expats, began to miss home, specifically the taste of home. For me, nothing tastes like home more than a delicious fish curry with a side of rice. In the long winter polar nights of northern Finland, these dishes bring me warmth from home. I have to admit, I was never the person who did a lot of cooking at home. My husband and I both have full-time jobs, and we would often just eat out or order food, or rely on the quick fix of an instant meal. But now that I am far from Bangladesh, I miss the cuisine from there. Bangladeshi food is not just food for me anymore, it is a way of staying connected to my country and my family.

All my Inspirations

top view delicious fish meal 23 2148734691While I cook for myself and family or friends, I prefer to make more Fish. Especially Fish curries. Why so? Well firstly because fish has way more variety compared to meat. Cooking with fish presents endless possibilities, with no limit to the types of recipes to explore. Each new receipe is a new adventure. So for a new cook like me all the adventure options are quite promising.

Second, Fish is also a good option for lean protein. It helps to balance my nutrient intake. Especially vitamin D, which I need more of now due to the lack of sunlight. And I have developed a newfound curiosity about the nutrition that these fishes add to the meal.

And I keep finding all this surprising information about the fishes from Bangladesh that are often overlooked in the country. Information that could help in the fight against malnutrition and hunger problems in Bangladesh. Many local and inexpensive fish in Bangladesh contain all of the nutritional values that, when consumed on a regular and proper basis, can help to create a healthier generation. So I’ll try to learn more about the nutritional benefits of each fish to help people make more informed dietary decisions. If my efforts help to raise awareness for a better and healthier generation, I will consider my work fruitful.

And so it begins…

This marks the beginning of my series of writing titled, ‘Fishing for more’ where we will rediscover fishes of Bangladesh, and occasionally of Finland., together. We will explore some easy-to-follow recipes, which I know will benefit a lot of Wannabecooks, like me, to inspire people to cook and eat more. Fish. We might also recreate some recipes with Fish available in the foreign markets. I mean, I have made Sorshe Salmon (salmon fish in mustard sauce) instead of Mustard Hilsa, and it was divine! Side by side, I will explore deeper into those fishes with what kind of nutrition we are getting from those fishes.

Anyone out there who loves fish as much as I do and is finding their way through fish curries is more than welcome to read my attempt at this fishing for more about the fishes of Bengal.

  • Shorshe Bhape Mach
  • top view fish ready be cooked
  • top view delicious fish meal 23 2148734691
  • overhead shot sardines placed dark green plate
  • lampos aritonang 3oEcy656LIE unsplash
  • fresh raw kari meen pearl spot fish arranged earthenware 527904 1912
  • flat lay delicious seafood assortment 23 2148926769
  • close-up-hand-holding-raw-fish
  • aziz acharki WxgXExYyV30 unsplash
  • abhik paul Lsiv0oAIfFk unsplash

Bonus

If anyone is curious here is a brief version of my Shorshe Salmon recipe inspired Mustard Hilsa Curry:

Shorshe Salmon (Mustard Salmon)

Shorshe Bhape Mach

Ingredients:

  • 500 grams Salmon Fillet
  • 2 tablespoons Mustard Seeds (use half Black and half Yellow, it is okay to use only one if you don’t have both)
  • 1 medium-sized Onion
  • ½ medium Tomato (diced into 4 pieces)
  • A pinch of Kalojeere (Nigella Seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 5/6 Slit Green Chilies (use more or less according to spice preference)
  • 3 tablespoons Mustard Oil
  • Salt, to taste

Instructions: Soak mustard seeds in water for at least 15 minutes, then grind them into a smooth paste. Use a pinch of salt while grinding for better results. Heat mustard oil, add Kalojeere seeds and sliced onion, and sauté until light brown. Mix in turmeric powder, diced tomatoes, and the mustard paste. Let it cook for 5/6 minutes or until the spices and oil become separate. Then gently place salmon fillets into the flavorful mustard gravy, cover, and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the salmon is cooked. Enjoy it over a warm bed of rice.

Author

  • Ananna Das

    Hi, I’m Ananna Das! I’m a writer with a passion for marketing, innovation, and entrepreneurship. I have a Master’s degree in Business Studies and am skilled in multiple languages. In my free time, you can find me curled up with a good book, exploring new hiking trails, or indulging in my love of cinema and music. I take great pride in my ability to create engaging content and use digital tools to reach new audiences. As a finalist of EMK Small Grant 2021, I have proven my ability to think creatively and work collaboratively to solve real-world challenges.

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Author

  • Ananna Das

    Hi, I’m Ananna Das! I’m a writer with a passion for marketing, innovation, and entrepreneurship. I have a Master’s degree in Business Studies and am skilled in multiple languages. In my free time, you can find me curled up with a good book, exploring new hiking trails, or indulging in my love of cinema and music. I take great pride in my ability to create engaging content and use digital tools to reach new audiences. As a finalist of EMK Small Grant 2021, I have proven my ability to think creatively and work collaboratively to solve real-world challenges.

    View all posts

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Author

  • Ananna Das

    Hi, I’m Ananna Das! I’m a writer with a passion for marketing, innovation, and entrepreneurship. I have a Master’s degree in Business Studies and am skilled in multiple languages. In my free time, you can find me curled up with a good book, exploring new hiking trails, or indulging in my love of cinema and music. I take great pride in my ability to create engaging content and use digital tools to reach new audiences. As a finalist of EMK Small Grant 2021, I have proven my ability to think creatively and work collaboratively to solve real-world challenges.

    View all posts