In­spired Bangladeshi food at Purn­ima

GA Voice - - Outspoken -

Surely the most colos­sally stupid thing is­su­ing from the toi­let for­merly known as the White House th­ese days is the vil­i­fi­ca­tion of im­mi­grants. It’s stupid be­cause we have al­ways been a nation of im­mi­grants. It’s stupid be­cause our mul­ti­cul­tural so­ci­ety is an as­set in ev­ery way.

Con­sider food. If you ex­plore any culi­nary tra­di­tion in this coun­try, you will likely find its roots in im­mi­grant cul­ture. That can be rel­a­tively ex­plicit like Ital­ian-Amer­i­can or Tex-Mex cook­ing. It can be less ap­par­ent, like the French el­e­ments of New Or­leans cook­ing. Yes, we’re a “melt­ing pot,” but that doesn’t pro­hibit the preser­va­tion of “un­com­pro­mised” eth­nic cook­ing – like res­tau­rants along Bu­ford High­way. Amer­ica at its best both as­sim­i­lates and pro­tects all of our di­verse tra­di­tions.

Hon­estly, if Amer­ica has a soul, it’s to be found in th­ese places. And if you want a taste of Bangladeshi soul food right here in Trum­p­land, you need to try

Purn­ima Bangladeshi Cui­sine (4646 Bu­ford Hwy., 770-6098587, www.purn­ima­bangladeshi.com),

the cozy ten­ant of a typ­i­cal, con­stantly chang­ing strip mall in the Cham­blee area.

Bangladesh bor­ders India and the food is very sim­i­lar. One dif­fer­ence, though, is a much stronger em­pha­sis on meat, in­clud­ing the beef rarely used in In­dian fare.

I didn’t taste any­thing at the res­tau­rant I didn’t like. I was sur­prised to see a clus­ter of quail dishes served with var­i­ous sauces and ingredients. I chose two roasted birds with a spicy pink sauce which my server said was most pop­u­lar in Bangladesh. I loved the quail – some­thing I sel­dom find on menus – but it’s messy eat­ing. Plan to floss your teeth with the lit­tle bones in or­der to garner the meat. Speak­ing of lit­tle bones, there is a starter of Bangladesh’s an­swer to Buf­falo wings. Th­ese are cooked in a clay tan­doori oven with mys­te­ri­ous spices, then coated with a glossy sweet-and-sour sauce. They’re good, but not much dif­fer­ent from the Buf­fa­los.

Bet­ter starters are crispy-fried pako­ras made of sliced veg­gies sea­soned with turmeric and herbs, or tri­an­gu­lar samosa-like shin­garas con­tain­ing veg­gies or ground chicken. Halim, a spicy stew of four types of lentils and beef, is most peo­ple’s fa­vorite app. The co­conut soup is sub­limely in­tense and sweet – a bit too sweet for my taste, but a great choice if you’re go­ing to have some­thing su­per-spicy with it.

Other en­trees on the menu in­clude chicken, shrimp, lamb, goat and beef in dif­fer­ent forms and fla­vors. Some ar­rived at our ta­ble un­der heavy, aro­matic sauces. One plate of lamb came out siz­zling with veg­gies on an iron skil­let, like fa­ji­tas. An­other was served in some­thing like a Mex­i­can mol­ca­jete with a beastly face. There are quite a few veg­etable dishes. Try the chick­peas with pureed roasted egg­plant, to­ma­toes, gar­lic and onion.

I can only urge you to ex­plore and quiz your servers in your quest for a good meal. I asked for dishes that were dis­tinctly Bangladeshi rather than du­pli­cates of In­dian coun­ter­parts. Some­times, the dif­fer­ence is only the ex­tras and you should try all of the chut­neys and sauces you can man­age.

Eat ad­ven­tur­ously and make Amer­ica taste great again. Do it for the mar­tyrs of Bowl­ing Green and the shoe­less Nord­strom shop­pers.

Cliff Bo­s­tock is a for­mer psy­chother­a­pist now spe­cial­iz­ing in life coaching. Con­tact him at 404-518-4415 or cliff­bo­stock@gmail.com.

The lamb and other meat dishes are served fa­jita-style at Purn­ima Bangladeshi Cui­sine. (Photo by Cliff Bo­s­tock)

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