Ask a Sylheti what is Shidol (dry fermented fish) and he/she will tell you what emotion it actually carries for them. I am a Sylheti by birth, by blood, by heart and by soul. Like many other Sylhetis, my love for Shutki (dry fish) and Shidol knows no bounds. We take so much pride and pleasure in cooking and eating these two things that being deprived from them sometimes mean being deprived from life. While I hail from Silchar (a place in Barak Valley situated in the Northeast India) where Shutki and Shidol are available in abundance, this is not the same case for me now when I stay in South India 🙁 So, whenever I see someone coming from my hometown, the first thing I ask “shidol ancho ni?” (did you bring shidol?). And believe me, this is not the case with me only but with all the Sylhetis staying outside their hometowns.
Wondering who are Sylhetis? Go and check Wikipedia and you will get to know us 🙂 Though, we are much more than what Wiki tells you about us and to know us better, you have to know our Shutki and Shidol first 🙂 In a nutshell, we are the people for whom food is always the priority and can die for that strong smell and spicy aroma of Shidol. While most of the rest of the world cannot stand the smell and taste, we actually don’t care and love it to the core. Apart from Sylhetis, there are many other communities in the Northeastern part of India who relishes Shutki and Shidol just as we do.
Mishti Kumro or I better say Mishti Kumra (as I am a Sylheti) goes extremely well with Shidol and this dish is s star of Sylheti cuisine. Maa cooks it the best and I eat it the best 😀 I blindly followed Maa‘s recipe to prepare this dish. This is one of the many Shidol dishes that we cook, but, definitely one of the most popular ones. Let me quickly explain the recipe to you and I hope you all like it.
- 9-10 shidol
- 300 gm diced pumpkin (the sweeter the better)
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 12-15 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 green chillies, chopped
- 1 tea-spoon turmeric powder (1/2 + 1/2)
- 1/2 tea-spoon red chilli powder (adjust according to your tolerance)
- 1/2 tea-spoon kashmiri red chilli powder
- 5 table-spoon mustard oil (2 + 3)
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- salt, according to taste
- Wash the shidol with lukewarm water, remove the head and clean properly. Keep aside. Please note: if you are using shidol bought from local market, you need to follow this step. However, if you are using store-bought seal-packed shidol, you can use them as it is just like I have used in my video recipe.
- Heat 2 table-spoon oil in a pan and add the pumpkin.
- Sprinkle 1/2 tea-spoon turmeric powder and salt and mix well. Cover the lid and stir in between. Cook until the pumpkin becomes soft and almost 70% cooked. Remove and keep aside.
- Heat the remaining oil and add garlic. Stir for few seconds.
- Add onion and sauté until the onion turns translucent.
- Add green chilli and mix well.
- Now, add the pumpkin, shidol, remaining turmeric powder, other powder spices and salt. Mix well. Do remember that shidol contains salt because of its fermentation process, so use salt accordingly.
- Add water and lower the flame. Cover the lid and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the pumpkin becomes mushy and water evaporates.
- Once you get the desired consistency, turn off the flame.
- Your Mishti Kumra/Kumro diye Shidol is ready to be served now.
Serve hot with piping hot rice. You can also have it as side dish with masoor dal and bhaat (red lentil soup and rice). Please note that you should not add any aromatic spice or herb while preparing Shidol as it will suppress the actual aroma of the same.
Enjoy this authentic Sylheti dish and do drop me a comment giving your feedback about this recipe. You can also tag me on Instagram using the handle @when_a_bong_cooks.