Bangladeshi beef shatkora

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This Bangladeshi beef shatkora recipe is a dish of contrasts. Rich spiced beef is balanced with the sour bitter flavour of the shatkora, a type of citrus fruit grown in the country. A stunning curry typically eaten during autumn. If you can't find shatkora (sold fresh and frozen in Bangladeshi grocery shops), it can be replaced with the same amount of grapefruit or pomelo. For more incredible and authentic Bangladeshi recipes, see Dina's feature.

First published in 2019

Beef shatkora is one of my favourite things to eat and a staple dish from the Sylhet region of Bangladesh, where I was born. Pieces of beef on the bone are slowly cooked with aromatic and earthy spices (such as black cardamom, star anise and cinnamon) and lifted with the prized shatkora, a fragrant, bitter and slightly sweet citrus fruit commonly used in Sylheti dishes.

The shatkora has a knobbly texture and resembles a lime; however, unlike other fruits from the citrus family, it’s only used to cook with due to its intense and bitter taste. You can usually find fresh shatkora in Bangladeshi grocery stores or in the freezer section, sliced into wedges. Serve it with glutinous rice or boiled white rice and a salad of cucumber, tomatoes and red onions.





Cut the piece of shatkora into wedges and then chop each wedge into 4 pieces, making sure to remove any seeds. If using frozen shatkora, defrost first in cold water for 1 hour, then cut each slice into 4 pieces and set aside
Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat and add the garlic, ginger and onions. Sauté for a few minutes until the onions are translucent
Stir in the beef, salt, whole spices and green chillies and add 250ml of cold water. Bring to a simmer then cover and cook for 40 minutes over a medium heat, stirring occasionally
After 40 minutes add the ground spices, stirring so they cover the pieces of beef, then cover and cook for 5 minutes
Add the shatkora and 250ml of hot water. Stir once then cover and cook for 10 minutes on a low heat
Top up the pan with 400ml of hot water and bring to the boil over a high heat (do not stir). Simmer 5 minutes
Add the chopped coriander, cover and cook on low heat for 10 more minutes, or until the meat is tender
Serve with sticky white rice and a side salad of cucumber, red onion and tomatoes. Garnish with fresh coriander if you wish

Dina Begum a cookbook author and writer who is passionate about highlighting the recipes and food traditions of Bangladesh.

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