Sheem bhaji - Bangladeshi mangetout sauté

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Sheem (a type of mangetout found in southern Asia) is quickly fried up with fragrant turmeric, cumin and fiery chillies for a kick of heat in this Bangladeshi vegetarian dish. Best served as part of a Bangladeshi feast, as the crisp green vegetables contrast nicely among rich curries.

First published in 2020

Bangladeshi cuisine is rich in vegetarian dishes, eaten as part of a multi-course meal or as a main for a simple lunch or dinner. Sheem, or uri as it’s also known in the Sylheti Bengali dialect, is a type of mangetout found in southern Asia that's a little thicker in texture and larger in size than the ones found in the UK. They’re widely available in Bangladeshi grocery shops, however you may substitute with the mangetout found in supermarkets if they're proving tricky to source. Serve with plain rice and, if you can find them, a wedge of Bangladeshi lime (lebu), which is highly aromatic and eaten in small bites with food – favoured for its rind rather than its juice.





Prepare the sheem by stringing them. Snap off one corner (with the corner pointing down) and pull off the thin string that connects the bean. Now top and tail the sheem and slice widthways into very thin slices – around ½ cm. If you’re using regular mangetout you can skip the stringing and just top, tail and slice
Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and add the sliced onions with the salt and sauté for 2–3 minutes until translucent. Add the turmeric and cumin and cook for 1 minute
Stir in the chopped sheem (or mangetout) so that everything is mixed well. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
Add the chillies, reduce heat to low, cover again and cook for a further 5 minutes
Add the coriander, cover again and cook for 7–8 minutes until the sheem are softened. Check the seasoning and turn off the heat. Serve with plain boiled rice and a wedge of lime or Bangladeshi lime (lebu)
First published in 2020

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

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