Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 1, Issue 35, Tuesday January 27, 2004







About qurbani etiquettes

The yearly episode of buying and selling of cows have already
started. Dhaka dwellers must have already got their festival bonus by now and ready to spend it on cow shopping. What happens afterwards, is the saga that we print every year. Here we go again with our little column on Qurbani etiquettes.

The first question that we ask is, what is the most common concern during this season of the year? Getting rid of the wastes, of course, starting from cow dung, the leftover gift of the cow itself and ending at all the blood and bones that we leave on the streets.

A few days before Eid-ul-Azha, we purchase the sacrificial animal. We definitely have to keep it at home until it is time for sacrifice. Majority of the people of Dhaka live in apartments or in rented houses, which are designed to accommodate human beings. Keeping live animals other than dogs and cats can be a massive headache.

Where can you let it stay then? Why, the garage of course. The only option for those who do not have garage is the front gate. The living being must need food for rest of the days of its life. Out side all the haat, where you purchased it from usually has vendors selling hay, the favourite food of the bovine specie and other feed. It would be wise to keep the hay inside the house and give the animal the exact amount it needs to eat. It will help prevent littering the streets and messing up the garage.

Now what to do with cow dung created in two or three days? Usually people just leave it on the streets or some place else where they cannot see or smell it. It is definitely not a decent thing to do. Best way to manage the waste would be to dig a hole and bury the leftovers there. It can serve a dual purpose. You will free yourself from the odour and after a month you will have nice organic manure for your houseplant. If there is any feed left after the sacrifice, bury it as well.

On the day of the sacrifice again we litter our surroundings. We spill the blood on the street. We let it stink on the lane that we use every single day. Moving in and around the city for a few days after Eid-ul-Azha is absolutely a horrendous experience. Dhaka dwellers feel the same way but do not usually refrain from doing the act. The perfect way to slaughter the animal would be again, by digging a hole, putting the head beside it and then performing the act. This would lead the blood flow inside the hole. If there is any spilt on the ground it should immediately be washed off with a lot of water.

To process the meat, you must get a bamboo mat and set the body on it so that it does not muck up the ground. All the unused portions (head, bone, intestines) should also be kept in the hole.

Processing the skin by yourself at home will not be a feasible idea. Usually orphanages and madrassah accept skins as a donation. Why not give it to them? If not then sell it to skin merchandisers.

There are some essential items that you must buy before sacrifice. You must get a brush to clean the garage. Get a bucket to wash off the blood. You must also have some bleaching powders. After the sacrifice is performed sprinkle the powder all around your house, in the garage where it was processed and where the cow stayed.

In the last portion of our column we must add that the endeavour of Qurbani is only meaningful if we perform it right. It does not exempt us from our civic duties.

By Shahnaz Parveen

Spice up your life

In fairy tales, if there are three daughters, two of them are always useless while the third and youngest happens to be the perfect one. One king had such a trio of daughters and he asked them just how much they loved him.

One impressed him by saying she loved him as much as honey while the second one replied that she loved him like she loved sugar. The third made the blunder of saying she loved him as much as spice.

This upset the king because he did not think he would be associated with something that could taste sharp. Of course that was before all three daughters cooked for him. The first daughter cooked everything with honey and second did the same with sugar. Needless to say the king was not impressed because it was just too sweet.

The third daughter made all her dishes with spice and showed the king that you can never really have enough of spice. It is something you love on and on.

In our Asian subcontinent just about every dish is a spice rich delight. This probably happens to be the reason why our recipes are so sought after in America and the European countries. In the western world, Bangladeshi and Indian cuisine have taken the place of pride on the menus. The main reason for this is because of the spices we add to our food.

Each type of spices contains a unique taste, flavours and nutritional properties. As a result, adding it in the right quantity to any food be it sweet, sour, vegetable or meat can convert a dull dish into a fantabulous feast.

There are different degrees to which you use spices. Simply adding salt, chilli and oil to pulse is enough to make it delicious but it is not so in the case of meat or fish. You would need something that adds a lot more spice, so to speak. Cloves, garlic, onions and many others make up the long list of things that can add extra punch to your creation.

The reason behind this article on spice is the upcoming Eid festival. The sacrificed meat will be used to create many dishes rich in spiciness. Bangladeshis are well known for their creativity in cooking countless such dishes.

There are many substances we use that we do not know much about such as what these are, where to get these and how much they cost.

Ginger- This root vegetable is a primary spice and has a very sharp taste. Although it looks dry it provides a lot of juice and creates a hot taste.

Onion- An indispensable ingredient in just about any Deshi curry, this root vegetable has the ability of making you cry.

Coriander- Known as dhania in this region, it produces a subtle flavour in the food.

Cumin- It is similar to coriander and is used for adding scent to the food. It costs 100 taka per kg. The larger sizes are known as Shahi Jira.

Pepper- These little seeds have no substitute when it comes to burning the palate. White pepper costs 220 taka per kg while black pepper costs 130 taka.

Mace- Known as 'joytree', this is a bit expensive at 430 per kg and has an excellent aroma.

Nutmeg- It is a seed, known over here as 'joy fall' costing 220 taka per kg and helps to add a special fragrance to the food.

Sesame seed- It's used to bring about a slightly tangy flavour to food and costs 270 taka per kg.

Labanga (clove)- It is used to add a strong scent to food and is available at 230-taka/ kg.

Cardamom- It offers a strong scent as well and for some people it almost ruins the appetite once bitten. These are available in two different sizes and are priced between 400 and 500 taka per kg.

Cinnamon- It has both a sweet taste and scent and is used to add flavour. It is priced at 90 taka per kg.

Saffron- It is a flower extract made in Iran and Kashmir. It is used to create natural food colouring. Per kg is 450 taka.

Raisins- Seedless dried grapes are known as raisins or rather <>kishmish<> in our country. These can be used with aplomb in both hot and sweet dishes.

Aalu Bukhara- otherwise known as figs, these are sweet and sour, and add a tangy taste to pilaf and meat dishes.

Pistachio nut- These are white and green nuts and are used as flavouring and decoration. These cost 390 to 520 takas per kg.
Most of the above-mentioned spices come from abroad. These travel all the way from places like India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Iran and Sri Lanka, which is why they are a little expensive. Wholesale markets like Chawk Bazaar offer a slightly lower price than most other places.

All these are not only used as spices but also as herbal medicines and home remedies. Ginger juice is used as an effective remedy for soothing sore throats during colds and coughing fits. Warmed onion oil is rubbed on the chest and cardamom flavoured tea is used for similar purposes.

Variety may be the spice of life but it cannot be argued that spice adds variety to life. Spices rule in the world of cooking and medicine. Spice and rice are all things nice it's a line taken from one of the recent cable televisions programs.

It was the catch phrase for a spice advertisement, spice being such a substance without which cooking becomes dull and uninspiring.

By Sultana Yasmin
Translated By Ehsanur Raza Ronny




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