In her new book, My Bangladesh Cookbook, the chef and food writer shares recipes from her childhood...

King prawn curry with tomato and chilli (serves 4)

2tbsp vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped into 1cm dice

2 garlic cloves, finely sliced

1tsp chilli powder

1tsp ground cumin

1tsp ground coriander

1/2tsp ground turmeric

1/2tsp salt

2tbsp ginger paste

200g fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped

1tsp sugar

4 fresh green chillies, cut in half lengthwise

600g large king prawns, peeled and de-veined (defrosted weight)

3tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander

1. Place a large frying pan, skillet or wok onto a medium-high heat. Add the vegetable oil and when it is hot, add the chopped onion. Fry, stirring regularly, for around 10 minutes until the onion is a deep golden-brown colour. Then add the sliced garlic and fry for a further two minutes.

2. Now add the ground spices, salt and ginger paste. Add a small amount of water (120ml) and stir everything together. Once the water has mostly evaporated and there is a sheen of oil on top of the pan, you can add the chopped tomatoes, sugar and fresh chillies.

3. Stir everything together really well and allow to come up to a gentle simmer. Then cover the pan and allow the sauce to simmer for around 10 minutes.

4. The next step is to add the prawns, which should be cleaned and ready to cook. (If you are using frozen prawns, make sure they are thoroughly defrosted before you start to cook.) The sauce at this stage should have thickened slightly. Add the prawns to the pan and stir well to coat them in the spiced tomato sauce. Cover the pan again and let them cook for around five minutes. If the pan is not simmering well, you may need to increase the heat slightly.

5. After five minutes, uncover the pan and turn the prawns. Add in half the chopped fresh coriander and stir well and then cook, uncovered, for a further two to three minutes, or as long as it takes until the prawns are completely cooked, firm to the touch and opaque all the way through. The sauce should be quite thick and cling to the prawns.

6. Finally, garnish with the remaining fresh coriander and some extra green chillies if wanted. This curry is delicious with plain steamed rice or with freshly made luchi (puffy, deep fried Bengali bread).

Aloo bortha - spicy mashed potato (serves 4-6 as a side dish)

450g new potatoes

1 1/2tsp salt

2tsp mustard-infused oil (see instructions below on making this)

2tsp wholegrain mustard

2tbsp finely diced shallot

1tbsp finely chopped fresh green chilli

2tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander

To make the mustard-infused oil:

Although widely used in Bangladeshi cuisine, mustard oil is banned for consumption in the EU, Canada and USA due to concerns over its erucic acid content - but you can make your own mustard-infused oil instead. Simply heat some vegetable oil in a small pan then stir in freshly crushed mustard seeds, turn off the heat and allow the mustard to infuse the oil slowly. Once it is cool, strain and store the oil in a cool, dark place to use when needed. For 250ml of oil, use 2tbps or 30g of whole mustard seeds.

1. Put the potatoes in a large pan with enough cold water over them to cover. Add one teaspoon of the salt to the water and bring to the boil over a high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and allow the potatoes to cook for around 25 minutes until they are cooked through completely.

2. Drain the potatoes in a colander and allow them to steam-dry for 10 minutes. As soon as they are cool enough to handle, use a table knife to peel off the papery skins and discard them. Place the cooked potatoes into a bowl and while they are still warm add in the mustard-infused oil, wholegrain mustard and remaining half teaspoon salt, and mash it all together very well with a fork or potato masher.

3. Finally add in the chopped shallot, chilli and fresh coriander and mix together well before serving immediately. If the bortha is not warm enough for your liking, you can cover the bowl with foil and reheat in a moderate oven (180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4) for 20 minutes before serving.

4. The aloo bortha can be served with rice or a Bangladeshi flatbread such as roti or paratha.

Tehari - spicy beef and rice biryani (serves 4-6)

750g lean braising or rump steak, cut into 1cm cubes

325g Basmati rice

2tbsp vegetable oil

2tbsp ghee

3 onions, 2 finely sliced and 1 cut into 1cm dice

4 x 5cm pieces of cassia bark, or 1 cinnamon stick

4 green cardamom pods

4 cloves

6 hot fresh green chillies, cut in half lengthwise

2 bay leaves

2tsp chilli powder

2tsp ground cumin

1tsp ground coriander

1tsp garam masala

1tsp paprika

1tsp salt

1tbsp garlic paste

1tbsp ginger paste

250ml + 500ml water

1. The beef should be prepared by removing most fat and any gristle until you have only lean meat remaining. Then cut this into small 1cm cubes.

2. Place the rice in a large bowl and wash it by swirling the rice around thoroughly in plenty of water, before carefully pouring away the cloudy water. Repeat this process three times. Then cover the rice with more fresh water and let it soak for 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, take a large saucepan or casserole dish and place over a medium-high heat. Add in one tablespoon of the oil and one tablespoon of the ghee and then add in the sliced onions. Keeping the heat quite high, but stirring frequently, fry the onions until they are a dark golden-brown colour and quite crispy (this is called beresta). This should take around 15 minutes. Once they are done, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside until later.

4. Without washing or wiping the pan, add in the remaining oil and ghee and then add the third, diced onion. Cook the onion for seven to eight minutes until golden-brown in colour and fully softened. Then add the cassia, cardamoms, cloves, green chillies and bay leaves. Stir the spices around for 30 seconds or so.

5. Add in all the ground spices and salt, the garlic and ginger pastes, and the 250ml of water, and stir everything together well to combine. Keep the heat up high and keep stirring for another three to four minutes until the spice mix comes together and thickens into a paste with a sheen of oil on the top of the pan.

6. The next stage is to add the cubed beef and stir it well in the spice paste. Once the pan is bubbling again, reduce the heat to a low simmer and then cover the pan. Cook the beef for 10 minutes with the lid on. After this time, remove the lid and increase the heat a little to boil off some of the excess liquid from the pan. Cook for another five minutes.

7. Drain the soaked rice in a sieve or strainer and then add the grains into the pan. Stir together well then add in more water, about 500ml. Stir again and keep the heat quite high until the water starts to bubble. Then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pan and allow the pan to cook away for another 25 minutes. After this time the rice and beef should be perfectly cooked. Turn off the heat.

8. Finally, stir through the crispy onions you prepared earlier, re-cover the pan and allow to sit and steam for another 10 minutes to ensure the rice is perfectly fluffy. Serve.

My Bangladesh Kitchen: Recipes And food memories From A Family Table by Saira Hamilton, photography by Ian Garlick, is published by Lorenz Books, £20.