Hosting a house party for Pahela Baishakh? Keeping it simple would be refreshing for both the host and the guests, as the weather has been heating up.
This piece might help you to map out the menu for a Baishakh house party.
A tangy welcome drink
What is Pahela Baishakh celebration without green mango juice? Here is a little tip for making the welcome drink more smooth and well-textured. Cut some green mangoes into pieces and BOIL them with a pinch of salt for about 10 to fifteen minutes. Strain off the water, put the mango pieces in a blender with salt, green chilies, cold water, ice and sugar, blend them well and voila, a silky smooth green mango juice is ready to be served. Sprinkle grounded black pepper over the juice before serving it to the guests.
Bhat-Maach-Bhorta is a perfect combo to serve on the table for a Baishakh lunch.
But react to the season aptly. You can go for baked or steamed fish items instead of fried fish preparations. Hilsha, prawn, tuna, bhetki, rui, koi, rupchanda- there are copious number of options you can go for. Doi Maach (fish with yogurt) and Soreshe Maach (fish in mustard gravy) will win you hearts galore.
Alongside fresh fish items, do not forget to keep an item of shutki (dried fish) on the table. A delicious, hot and spicy dried fish curry will help you win extra points as a host.
Bhorta (food mashed with spices and oil) and Pahela Baishakh is inseparable.
Maach bhorta (mashed fish), alu bhorta (mashed potato), kalijeera bhorta (mashed nigella or black cumin seeds), tomato bhorta (mashed tomato), shutki bhorta (mashed dried fish), begunpora bhorta (grilled eggplant mash), peyaz-shukna morich bhorta (onion and dried red chili mash), and there is a long list. Now it is your call to make whichever items you want make for the Baishakh bash.
A salad with a cool and refreshing lemon-yogurt dressing will go perfectly with rice, fish curries and bhortas.
The table is ready.
Guests can now devour the delicious items with freshly steamed white rice.
The dessert table
Desserts can be made ahead of time. Try to prepare dessert items the night before Pahela Baishakh. Curd, yogurt and sweets can be brought from the store and kept in the refrigerator the night before Pahela Baishakh.
Here is one dessert item that can be prepared quickly and kept in the fridge the night before party.
Mix yogurt and sweetened condensed milk and cream for this dessert. Make a layer of Marie biscuit crumbs in the bottom of a bowl. Pour the thick yogurt-condensed milk cream over the crumbs. Add boiling water with gelatin power in a separate bowl and stir it until it dissolves completely. Adding fruits, food color and flavour with the mix is optional. Then pour the gelatin mix over the cream and let it set in the refrigerator overnight. Do NOT pull it out off the fridge in every five minutes to take pictures! Instagram can wait. This dessert needs uninterrupted hours inside a fridge to set properly.
Tea, best served cold
No Bangladeshi dawat completes without cha-nasta (Tea and snacks). Arrange a mini tea party in the evening, right before the guests leave. The twist here is that you can offer them iced tea with lemon, ginger or any spices you prefer. Iced tea can be served with different sorts of Pithas (traditional cake and snacks) like patishapta, nakshi pitha and malpua.
And one bonus...
Are you struggling to make a perfect steamed sorshe ilish ( hilsha with mustard paste)? Can't decide whether you should use mustard oil or ghee in the mashed potato? Call up your mom, dad, siblings, a friend you have not talked to lately. Ask for their advice and spend some time talking with them. Pahela Baishakh is not just about flashing your best outfit and preparing deshi foods. Let this be an occasion to bring us all together and start afresh.