Static, stoic sunlight was streaming through the vast emptiness around and wreaking havoc in the endless Sahara. Wearing burning blisters like a raincoat, the traveler was running clueless in search of a drop of water in the barren land. But the cup was full of sand.

After sprinting a light-year around the back side of the moon, crying a million rivers for a single drop of water to drink, the traveler saw the sea painted midnight blue. An ancient- exotic-dreamy delta, emerged from the secluded sea a thousand years ago, nestled now against the hillside surrounded by tall, stately larger-than-life trees. This graceful land, kissed by eight hundred rivers, was so glitteringly green that seemed to hold all the grace of the world. Heart-stoppingly picturesque hamlets, doted with humble huts scattered all over, were hugging the flatland like a sun-bathed tapestry.



A clean, crisp breeze spiced by the aroma of the earthy spices and Hilsa fish curry tiptoed across the traveler’s fatigued eyelashes.


Sun-drenched, dark skinned, soft spoken people offered the traveler plethora of sweets along with water that smells like home.


Their sweets, “Shondesh” are as uncommonly soft and snowy as the fondest dreams; an elixir, a cure for all ailment, like an answer to prayers. They are compelling in their plainness; fancy words don’t come into play.

Shondesh copyright


In a nonstick pan, over very low heat, add 2 tsp ghee (clarified butter); heat 2lb ricotta cheese (ছানা), handful sugar, 2 cardamom pods, stirring constantly. Cook for about 20 to 30 minutes or until the mixture begins to leave the sides of the pan. Remove from heat, make desired shapes using molds while the mixture is slightly warm. That crimson red fantasy glaze in the center of each flower is a dot of liquid food color. Serve. Refrigerate.


KhichuriThe scent of ‘Lentil Rice’ wafted up deliriously from the kitchen, in welcome. Like butterflies fluttered down from the flowers that carpeted the yards.


In the pouring rain, a train run past through the rain-blurred misty skies. Food was served. Lentil rice and beef curry: worshiped, marveled at, devoured by the people of this monsoon-land.



This dish composed of:

Beef 2 lb with/without bones (cut into small chunks.)

1 medium onion paste, 2 tbsp garlic paste, 1 tbsp ginger paste (to get a pop of invisible depth of flavor that takes you by surprise)

½ tsp turmeric powder, ½ tsp red chili powder (to get that bright-flavored lightness that you are going to remember the next day. And the day after. Forever)

4 cardamoms, 1 stick of cinnamon, 4 cloves, 2 bay leaves (to perfume the curry so that you have a pretty good idea where you are)

2 tbsp yogurt/curd (to get that pulse-quickening intensity of irresistible smoothness)

½ tbsp toasted cumin seeds (to perk up the intense flavor simply and wonderfully)

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp olive oil/vegetable oil/Ghee (clarified butter)

1 large potato (optional)


Mix everything together in a large pan and stir on medium heat for 15 minutes. Put the lid on. Cook for 1 hour or until the meat surrenders into tender, juicy chunks.

A pool of crimson gravy gathers around the pan, if you pour 1 cups of warm water at this point.  Add potato chunks. Let the chunks swirl across the pot absorbing the gravy. Put the lid back on and cook for another 20 minutes.

Serve with rice/roti.


Lentil rice beef curry

To the cast adrift and alone traveler, this perfect meal was like the first supper on the resurrection day.

With a deep nostalgic delirium, emotional upheaval spread through her heart, very early next morning the traveler headed back out to the Sahara, to the pitch black forlorn lagoon that reflects no twinkling stars.  But she had fallen under the spell of ‘Bangladesh’, the shining monsoon-land she just left behind.

I- the traveler-  From here walk with my face unmasked, soul uncovered and take back that sparkling starry trail which leads to where I belong; my home, to my peaceful people who meet, greet and feed total strangers like one of their own; I’m bonded with these fearless fighters who never stop smiling amidst devastating floods, lurking droughts, looming tidal bores, famine, oddities, hidden fears, leaders pocketing relief money…

  My Bedouin-self yearns to return home before I grow older and my heart gets colder.

202 Comments on “Bangladesh

  1. I want shondesh, lentil rice, and beef curry, all at once. I want to go to that land where they’ll feed me as a stranger, and my wish for you is to be able to go back before your heart grows colder. No, let’s not talk about hearts growing colder, shall we? We must journey there together, perhaps, one day, some day? Perfect picture of a paradise you painted with your words, Nusrat! Loved it!! ❤

    • You can have it all if you visit me, sweetheart 🙂 I’ll cook for you with pleasure 🙂

      And thanks a ton for your beautiful, inspiring, heart-melting comment. Also, thanks for the ‘Shine-On’ nomination. Hugs, love, peace, sunshine, sweets 🙂

  2. i want some khichudi and beef curry right nowww 😦 already told my mother-in-law to get those shondesh maker 😀 দারান আমিও এমন রং ঢং করে ছবি দিব শিগ্রই.. তার আগে পর্যন্ত আমার হিংসা ওই সুন্দর ছবিগুলোকে 😀 😀

    • ছবির অপেক্ষায় রইলাম। তুমি আমাকে হিংসা করে লজ্জা দিও না, ময়নাপাখি। তোমার রান্না আমি দূর থেকে দেখি আর কিবোর্ড খামচাই খেতে না পারার আক্রোশে 🙂

      Thanks for visiting, love.

  3. রাজকন্যে! উফ! পুরা মাথা আউলা করে দিলে গো! ইলিশ ভাজা, শিউলি ফুলের মত নরম সুগন্ধি সন্দেশ, আমার প্রান প্রিয় খিচুড়ী আর টকটকে লাল রঙ্গে ডুবোনো গরুর গোস্ত! এসব কি বেহেস্তে পাওয়া যায়?

    বিগ হাগ মাই লিটিল প্রিন্সেস!

    • প্রিয়তমে, এসো আমার কুটিরে। সব রেঁধে, বাগানে বসে খাওয়াব। হাত পাখায় বাতাস দেব 🙂

      Hugs back, my darling. My sweetheart.

  4. those really makes me crazy, just dying to see them in front of my eyes, wish i can have them one day with a nice evening beside of u sister

  5. Really interesting way of writing the recipes (essentially incorporating them into the narrative). I like this a lot. Super recipes too, and as always great writing and pictures. The second and last pictures are particularly gorgeous.

    • মাইর খাবি, বদ মাইয়া? বাসায় আসতে পা ব্যথা করে?

  6. My Bedouin-self yearns to to travel to your current location and partake in your sensory stimulating food, while living vicariously through your engaging stories. Keep up the good work.

    • How wonderful my days get when a friend like YOU sends warm wishes from another part of the planet 🙂
      You’re (always) very welcome to spend some time with me, as long as you want.

      Tons of love and hugs.

  7. tumi ato odbhut kore golpo bole kkhaoabe amake nurat begom jodi na koro tobe shat jonomer ariii…ummm na tate amar e khoti …jodi na kor tobe jadubidda shikhe bosh korbo tomake ar shara jibon nijer kache rekhe dibo …love u my immensely talented dear friend <3…..

  8. A treasure trove indeed! May God bless your creativity more and more! Thank you so much for the awe-inspiring creations!

  9. Wonderful food photographs :). amazing colour, composition 🙂

  10. A treasure trove indeed! May God bless your creativity more and more! Awe-inspiring cooking and photos!

  11. Aas’salamu Aalaikum!!!!!
    Ma’ashaa Allah!!!! Amazed by your writings and heart melting pic’s of food. Loved the way you present it. Stories and food goes very well … 🙂

    Akbar basha

    • Hello Akbar Ji! How have you been? – So nice to have your encouraging words!
      Thanks for visiting, my dear pastry chef 🙂

  12. Nusrat ur photography is the out of the world….u made simple recipes most precious….great lady 🙂

    • How sweet of you, my sunshine! How may I thank you for the lovely words you’ve just said out of your beautiful heart? 🙂

    • Sweet to know that an artist, a poet, a pianist like yourself liked my humble, novice efforts 🙂

      Thanks a ton, your sweetness, for visiting 🙂

      • My pleasure, Suborna! I’m amazed by the creativity in “cyberworld” and your writing and photos add a delightful element to my otherwsie “sedate” life. 😉 I’d hesitate to call you a novice, though. Keep doin’ what you’re doin’ the way you’re doin’ it!!! It works!

  13. Super like! kontar sate konotar tulona nai. Specially the colour combinaion

  14. What a fantastic post Nusrat. I am truly astounded by both your photography and the wonderful weaving of words. One small point; Your heart will never go cold as long as you continue with this level of creativity and outlook.
    Best, as ever,

    • Dear Conor (I prefer “Boss-Man” though) I deeply appreciate your kind, soft, flowery, feathery words. Appreciate the way you constantly inspire me to walk ahead.

      Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your jewel-words that made my day.
      Love. Peace.

  15. কি জ্বালাতন বল দেখি ! কমেন্ট লেখব আর কি :/ দেখার সাথে সাথেই দৌড়ে যাই যে আশেপাশে এর বিকল্প কি আছে এই মুহুর্তে তাই খেয়ে আগে দিল ঠান্ডা করতে হবে , রেসেপি অনুযায়ী রান্না করে খাওয়ার মতন ধৈর্য্য ধরারও যেন উপায় থাকেনা , কি জাদু এই লেখায় , এই ছবিতে !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ❤

    • তোমার ভাল লেগেছে জেনে মন ভরে গেল, টিয়াপাখি 🙂
      অনেক ধন্যবাদ ভাললাগা জানিয়ে যাবার জন্য।

  16. What an incredibly beautiful post in every way: the story, the recipes, the wonderful photos… I absolutely have to try those shondesh, they look like from a fairy tale. Thanks a lot for the inspiration!

    • Thank YOU for sprinkling those magic words here for me; means a lot, sweetheart 🙂

      Bangladesh Indeed a fairy-land 🙂

  17. Oh, love the imagery you created. Just beautiful! And it’s a feast, no less!! Sondesh, pulao, curry….yummmm!! Just wondering, can I sub beef with mutton?

    • You sure can! Just one tip: marinate mutton in yogurt overnight, that will puff away the smell from the goat/lamb.
      And thanks a bunch for your pretty presence 🙂

    • It would be my pleasure to call a feast for you, dear Denise 🙂 Who wouldn’t want the pretty company of a great photographer like yourself?

      Thanks for the lovely compliment 🙂

  18. Just beautiful, the words, the imagery, the desires, the food. The photos are beautiful too and I shouldn’t be reading your post and looking at your photos while fasting!! Lentil rice is my comfort food and my absolute favourite, the beef curry is mouthwatering and the dessert, dreamy. What a great meal you have served us here.

    Nazneen xx

    • I’m enchanted, delighted to have your majestic presence over my humble blog, Your Highness 🙂 Your beautiful words touched my heart and soul and I’m overwhelmed!

      Thank you so very much for those kind, nice, lovely words 🙂

  19. I must say, you are extremely talented. Everything looks so picture perfect. The beef curry looks out of the world. Even an average dish like lentil rice looks inviting. Wow.. Hats off to you, girl. This is the Halloween season and so, I would like to sum it up in just three words “I am (totally) bewitched”. hahahhahaa.

    • 😀
      Thanks for the mesmerizing, hypnotic words! So thrilled to know that enjoyed my humble writing and camera attempts 🙂
      Please stay in touch. Hugs.

  20. Just stumbled upon your blog today when I was visiting another blog. Your pictures are simply amazing! Love every single dish here especially the fish and the beef. Great post!

  21. You may have been referring to the wonderful dishes that you prepared when you entitled this “Ambrosia” but, in reality, your entire post is fit for Olympus. Your photography and narrative are truly heavenly, Nusrat, making this, like all of your posts, a real pleasure to read.

    • BIG compliment indeed! You are way too kind and gracious.
      Thanks a lot for encouraging me to do what I love to do.
      Tons of love to you and God bless your family recipes 🙂

  22. দেখি আর দীর্ঘশ্বাস ফেলি, এত দূরে থাকেন যে দাওয়াত ও নেয়া যায় না…………।।

  23. Very obsessing in terms of both photography and recipe…loveable indeed !

  24. Your story made me sip my coffee just a little slower to drink in every word ~ thank you for being the catalyst for starting my day savoring. Fantastic photos, Nusrat, really sets the mood of the meal, encourages lingering (my favorite).

    • I’m gonna have a fun day today, I believe, as it started with a warm-soft-paradise-y compliment from one of my all-time favorite bloggers 🙂
      You, your pretty self, your guilt-free recipes, your positive blog is such an inspiration!

      Thanks, dear Judy, for coming by.

  25. such a beautiful narration, awesome recipe and the poetry ! you are such an inspiration to budding bloggers and one can learn so much how to make a blog so soulful,full of life and every word penned with such thought and there is no haste here , which I really loved, Recipes can come but the heart of the post is evident from the way you bring into play the various emotions. Cannot even call it a post.Excellent and I wish you all the best and look forward to spending more time in this page. God bless you.!

    • God bless you too, dear Radha, for always being tremendously kind and sweet to me 🙂 I’m flattered, touched, overwhelmed, inspired.

      And I’m grateful to the Almighty to have a friend like YOU who resembles BEAUTY all the way through 🙂


  26. Praising good food and good looking food, specially when cooked and displayed by Suborna, is my passion!

    “Let your food be medicine; and let medicine be your food.”

    There is nothing more life enhancing, health promoting, satisfying or enjoyable than a meal which
    has been thoughtfully, carefully and lovingly prepared with wholesome fresh ingredients, skilfully combined.
    Suborna has evolved her own unique cooking styles based on local ingredients and experience handed down over the
    years by her grandma. These traditional diets that Suborna displays beautifully at the backdrop of a romantically narrated awesome story, seem to have common ground, which points to what we Bangalis have found to be conducive to the well being of our health, heart and soul!
    Thank you Suborna for doing an excellent job again!

    • Who else could be kinder than you in spreading niceness and love? Who else could be nicer than you in lavishly praising others? – You’re such a joy to hang out with, dear Wali.

      Delighted to have you come by.
      Sending love and a sky-full of joy on your way.

  27. আহা, যেমন খাবার তেমন তার ছবি, ঘ্রাণ না পেলেও দেখেই মন প্রান জুড়িয়ে যায় ! আগেই বলেছিলাম, এক খানা প্যাকেট করে আমাকে পাঠিয়ে দিও।

    • প্যাকেট পাঠিয়েছিলাম। দুষ্টু ডাকপিওন পথিমধ্যে সব খেয়ে সাবাড় করে দিয়েছে! 😀
      মন জুড়ানো প্রশংসার জন্য ধন্যবাদ নিও 🙂

  28. ছবিগুলা অনেক অনেক অনেক ভালো হয়েছে…. একে পাকা রাধুনী অন্যদিকে মাথানষ্ট ফটোগ্রাফার…. আর কি লাগে !!!!

    • এত্ত চমৎকার একজন ফটোগ্রাফার আমার ছবি পছন্দ করেছে… আর কি লাগে !!
      খুব খুশি হয়েছে সময় নিয়ে ব্লগে আসার জন্য। ধন্যবাদ 🙂

    • I enjoy every single waking moment to the fullest 🙂

      Thank you, dear Juliana, for your inspiring, kind words. Means a lot.

  29. Beautifully narrated and a great array of utterly yummy food. I wish I was there for that spread.
    That shondesh looks so perfect, impeccable done and the orange on it is just the added beauty to it.
    Love you my beautiful poet, writer, chef and an artistic photographer. ❤

    • Love you more, my gorgeous friend for what YOU create in the kitchen is sheer MAGIC! Like I said hundred times, your pictures shine in the dark, they sing, they dance, whisper the unchained melodies ♥

      A BIG hug along with tons of love and warm wishes. Thank you for taking time in reading my post ♥

  30. রান্না & photography 2টারই প্রেমে গেছি অবশ্যই photographer এর ও……
    simply wow……!!! i’m so impressed dear 🙂

    • অনেক অনেক ধন্যবাদ মন ভাল করা কথাগুলোর জন্য 🙂 আপনার ‘প্রেম’ সাদরে গৃহীত হলো 😀

  31. মাথাই খারাপ এত সব খাবার দেখে। আই এনভি ইউ

    • 😀
      মাথা খারাপ করার জন্য অনুতপ্ত, দুঃখিত।
      ‘এনভি’ জানিয়ে যাবার জন্য ধন্যবাদ 🙂

  32. Gorgeous, as always! I love your poetic prose and fabulous food. The curry, rice and cookies look extremely tempting. The kind of food I could eat all the time.



    • Happy to know that 🙂 Delighted to have you come by.

      Thank you, Rosa-the-wizard-with-a-camera for your heartfelt compliment 🙂

  33. Loved the write up! U are fantastic with words as well as cooking:))) the beef looks heavenly and I am drooling over the picture wishing I could taste it! I can almost smell the flavored of the spices and the beef!!!

    • Be my guest as long as you want, if you visit Dallas 🙂 I’ll cook you beef and whatever else is in your wish-list 🙂

      Thanks, my darling, for your soft, sweet words.


    • Sure thing! Chicken would take less amount of time to cook 🙂 I’ve seen your chicken curry pictures. Boy! They look crazy good!

      Tanks for stopping by, sweetheart 🙂

  34. Your words and your images are amazing. I love the look of your beef dish with the saffron rice. What a feast for anyone let alone someone dying of thirst in a desert! I do hope you can go back to your homeland before too long xx

  35. ওয়াও, দারুণ। want to test. color, cooking each n everything is awesome

  36. I like Shondesh very much, but love fried Hilsha along with her eggs so much. 😀 And your Shondesh is not just some sweetmeats, those are looks more like Plumeria flowers!!

    Apu, I am a meat-lover. I love beef most, and I really really liked the surface texture of your beef pieces and liked the color of the curry as well. How did you make it, using curry paste or tomato paste? Definitely you did not use red chili/powder to make it such red-colored curry, did you?

    Sorry for being late to make a comment on your post apu…

    “My Bedouin-self yearns to return home before I grow older and my heart gets colder.” – your last sentence made me so sad and left me feeling all alone just by myself…. 😦

    • Hello meat-lover Proloy! Thanks much for liking my post and commenting 🙂
      Answering to your question: as the recipe suggests, I attained that curry-color by using red chili powder…but if you paste dry chili, the look of the curry would be even prettier!
      Stay in touch, please and take care of your beautiful self.

  37. Oh yes! “Ambrosia” – I really like the namings of your posts!! Along with your Cookings & Photography, I need to learn from you – how to name blog posts. 🙂

      • Amon kabbik banjonamoy prokash, !dub – shatarur moto moner govir theka jothoupojukto shobda choyan , mugdha korar moto.! chalia jao! dirgha path poricromay hoyto mulloban rochan hoya shoronio kora rakhba.Ak shahitta srasta Food-o-grapher Ronthon Shilpi ka! ak ongga ato rup !Masha Allah. Allah bless u..

      • How awfully nice of you! How may I thank you for your wonderful, beautiful wishes?
        Hugs. May you live a positive, peaceful life every single day.

  38. I ♥ Shondesh…always keep trying different recipes to make different types of them…but your’s 1 is breath taking … I wish those ‘wonderful-magical flowers’ will bloom in my garden someday 🙂

    • Hi Shahjahan! Of course you’d be able to bloom flowers in your yard …make sure you give them plenty enough love and water 🙂

      Thanks a million for liking my humble Shondesh 🙂

  39. Watching your foodography is a delight itself … and when there is something to read also … its a complete 3 course meal, a VERY delicious one of-course !

  40. Well this all looks insanely good. I wondering if it’s the cooking or the photography. I’m going to embarrass you again, when I say you can’t possibly be a beginner at food photography. I so love the flowers too!

    • Huge compliment indeed! And you are too kind, Beth 🙂 Thanks a ton for embarrassing me once again!

      Stay in touch, please. Love.

  41. You write in such gorgeous prose! I just love reading your posts! Of course I also enjoy the beautiful photography and the food! I can smell how delicious it all is!

    • They are indeed very basic, simple, humble but delicious 🙂
      Thank you so very much, MJ, for the lovely heartwarming compliment.


  42. What a beautiful post! You have a gift with words. And the photos and recipes are amazing, too 🙂 Enjoyed reading your story very much.

  43. You have taken food photography to a new level.’যে পারে সে সব পারে…পারে ফুল ফোটাতে’ …তোমার জন্য Boss লিখে গেছেন

    • New level?! Can’t tell. But I have this ‘Thing’ for mashing up flowers with food 🙂
      Thanks for the gorgeous compliment, dear Bonolota! I’m overwhelmed!

  44. So delighted to have found your blog via FB. Inspirational both in terms of photographs and writing. Thanks so much!

    • Thank you, dear Lizzy! The pleasure and honor is all mine to have come across YOU, beautiful YOU!
      I adore your blog; what exotic recipes and photos it displays!

  45. apu!!! hingsha hingsha hingsha!!!! erom laal laal jhal jhal goru mangsho dekhe ma khalar kotha e mone pore… ar shondesh!!! kolijae chakku pura

    • I so wanna treat you and your hubby with this feast! Please visit me, sweetheart, when you are in town.
      Tons of love and hugs 🙂

  46. সুরের উৎস মনে, বাঁশের কঞ্চি বা বাঁশিতে নয় । সমস্ত সৃষ্টির জন্মই মানুষের মনণে । মেধার সাহায্যে মানুষ তা প্রকাশ করে । আমার খুব ভাল লাগে যখন সুবনা যত্ন করে সাজিয়ে, সুন্দর পরিপাটি করে, পরিবেশন করে প্রতিটি রান্না করা খাদ্য । আমি উত্তরোত্তর সাফল্য কামনা করি । ছড়িয়ে যাক এই concept যে রান্না একটা artwork. ধন্যবাদ ।

    • এক্কেবারে মন, প্রাণ, আত্মা ভরানো শব্দের সম্ভার!
      অজরস্র ধন্যবাদ 🙂

  47. Those sweets almost made me to buy air ticket to fly to USA to taste them! They are soooo tempting!

  48. অসাধারণ!… আবারো মুগ্ধ হয়ে গেলাম… 🙂

    • I’d love to serve you curry and rice as much as you want, as many times as you want 🙂
      Thanks a ton for being here, dearie. Means a lot.

  49. I’m thrilled that you stopped by and commented on my blog so that I could find your AMAZING blog! It’s totally magical to read your words and view those absolutely stunning photos! I hope to never miss any of your posts!

    • I’d like you to stay in touch, Roz 🙂 Thanks!
      What beautiful, graceful blog you have! Delighted to have stumbled upon your platform 🙂

      Love and hugs.

  50. I’m instantly craving for curry, not just any, but yours! Looks so delicious and your photography is simply amazing. I am not very good at taking curry pictures and here you are with EXCELLENT photo. Brilliant. I love your posts!

    • I adore your posts too as you are extremely organized and your recipes are very unique as well as beautiful 🙂
      – Thanks a bunch for visiting, Nami.

  51. great… as usually 🙂 its 1:30 in the morning, i think i can finish up the platters instantly 😦 Feeling HUNGRYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!

  52. There’s always so much feeling in your words Nusrat. I find ambrosia to be one of the most disconcerting dessert names ever, because in the states it is a fruit salad with canned ingredients, here (Argentina) it is a sort of flan/custard made from scratch and quite time consuming, and yet you make a wonderfully simple ricotta dessert. Beautiful post!

    • Thanks, sweetheart, for your kind compliment 🙂 Didn’t know about Argentinian Ambrosia! In general that word means food for Gods though 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by. Stay in touch.

  53. Your words create pictures that are as beautiful as the stills in this post…..and that curry, gosh, it’s beyond tempting. And this from someone who does not even eat beef. Amazing post….your creativity is mind blowing.

  54. Excellent work; writing, recipes, and photography!…please keep it up:)

  55. I LOVE your writing and your photography. Each post is like a work of art! The recipes are great as well. I really appreciate the compliments you made on my blog and believe me they are real compliments coming from a master of the camera such as yourself! Thanks for an awesome post!

    • OMG! Do you have any idea how much your words mean to me? And your presence on my humble, silly blog?!
      So happy to have received your compliments. Encouraging, heart-felt indeed.

      Thank you, dear Bill.

  56. Oh Nusrat, it’s like a journey just reading one of your posts. Amazing photographs taking us back to summer, then delicious spiced food. What more could one ask. Thanks for the follow, favour returned and looking forward to your next plethora of amazing things.

  57. My dream of heaven…!!

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