Kosoi Bwtwi from Tripura
Today it is Tripura, the seventh northeastern state in the alphabetical order and one of the third smallest states in the country. This state is bordered by Bangladesh on all three sides; north, west and south, and Assam and Mizoram on the east. Agartala is the state capital. Scheduled tribes form the 30% of Tripura population and majority are Bengali. Some of the interesting facts about the state is that only one major road connects the state to the rest of India. This highway is often called the lifeline of Tripura. The literacy rate of Tripura in 2011 was 87.75 per cent, higher than the national average and third best among all the states. Bengali people represent the largest ethno-linguist community of the state. Bengali culture, as a result, is the main non-indigenous culture. Indeed many elite tribal families which reside in towns have actively embraced Bengali culture and language. Source of this info is wiki.
Tripura cuisine is predominantly non-vegetarian and most of the main dishes are non-veg with lots of vegetables. There are a few Tripuri (people of Tripura) who follow vegetarianism. The traditional cuisine is Mui Borok and a key ingredient in Tripura cuisine is Berma, dried and fermented fish. Berma is used in almost all the dishes. Cuisine is healthy as oil is not used in most of the preparations. Bamboo shoots are part of many dishes which is considered healthy. Rice is a staple and is called mia. Some of the vegetables that are used in daily cooking are pumpkin, bamboo shoots, brinjals, corn and chilies. Meats & seafood eaten by the Tripuri are pork, chicken, mutton, turtle, fish, shrimps, crabs, and frogs. Tripuri food such as bangui rice and fish stews, bamboo shoots, fermented fish, local herbs, and meat roasts are extremely popular within and outside the state. (Source wiki).
Today’s recipe is a broth cooked with berma and green beans, Kosoi (beans) Bwtwi. I did not have berma and substituted it with shrimp paste. Just like berma, shrimp paste also has an unpleasant odor but when cooked, adds flavor to the food. I used ½ – 3/4 tsp. for 1 berma. Kosoi bwtwi is served with rice. I felt it tasted better as soup than served with rice. I am not used to dried fish or shrimp paste and found the dish a bit smelly even after cooking. That morning husband asked me if I need anything from the store. I knew he was going to the drug store but asked him to get whatever he wants to eat for lunch. What would you get in a drug store? He came back with a pack of prosciutto, a box of pork links and some ham. He said that’s what he wants to eat for lunch. Prosciutto and links, along with kosoi bwtwi was our lunch. As I said, we did not like the broth with the rice but got our serving of vegetables from the beans. Tripura is one of those northeastern states that had very little online information about the cuisine. The recipe I followed is on 2-4 sites all the recipes are copy paste from the original site. One, the recipe is word to word copy and two, all the sites had onions in the ingredient list and was nowhere mentioned how to use it in the preparation, just like the Misa Mach Poora. I had already cut the onions, so went ahead and used it.
Total Time: 30 minutes
Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
- ¼ kg, little over ½ lb. of Green Beans
- 4 Green Chilies
- 1 ¼ medium sized Onion into rings or slices.
- 4 – 6 Cloves of Garlic (I used 4 big cloves)
- 1 ½ – 2 tsp. Shrimp Paste or 2-3 Berma (dried and fermented fish)
- ½ – 1 tsp. Turmeric
- Salt to taste
- 1/8 – ¼ tsp. Pepper Powder (opt. and adjust to taste. Green chilies are hot, so adjust accordingly)
- Cilantro for garnish
- Boil 4 cups of water in sauce pot. It takes about 5 minutes.
- While the water boils, wash and cut the tips of the beans. Cut the beans into 1 ½ – 2” pieces.
- Cut the green chilies vertically into two.
- Crush the garlic.
- Cut the onions into rings are slices.
- Add turmeric, berma or shrimp paste and boil of 5 minutes.
- Add green chilies and cook for 5 more minutes.
- Add beans and cook for 5 – 7 minutes, add onion and cook for another 5 – 8 minutes until beans are tender.
- Add crushed garlic, cover and cook for 3 more minutes.
- Garnish with cilantro.
- Serve hot with rice.