Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 2, Issue 17, Tuesday October 19, 2004







The sweet flavours of life

Once again it is time for Devi Durga's visit. Devotees all around Bangladesh will visit the mandaps offering their reverence to the goddess. Flowers and fruits will be offered.

The ceremonial dinner of the devi will be decorated with delicious goodies. Yet, no matter how lavish the thali is, the puja bhog will not be graced if there are no sweets in the offering.

So sweet items are always served with style before the goddess. It is not just the favourite dessert item of Devi Durga; it is one luxury that people gladly became used to. Any occasion in this continent requires the presence of a sweet flavour.

For ages it is our culture to treat people with sweets during happy moments. Only hundred years' back from now the custom was to prepare the delicacy at home during puja or any other religious or social event.

Back then sweetmeat shops were very limited. Most of the misti karigors or Moyra at that time came from Hindu families. In Dhaka during the end of British rule there were some mishti ferrywallahs. Halwa and morobba was the most popular treats. Mishti sellers were known as 'Halwaiwallah'.

Around 1885 to 1890 Mother Boksho and Alauddin came to Dhaka from Lakhnow, India (Dhaka Pachas Baras Pahle by Hakim Habibur Rahman, translated by Hashem Sufi). They opened sweetmeat shops in Chakbazar of Dhaka. They introduced Hindustani mishti to Bangladesh. Kalachad appeared in the scene before 1947.

Back then, main ingredient of Bangali mishti was chhana. Boksho and Alauddin introduced maaoa. The most popular mishti at that time was Chondropuli. Back then shaal leaves were used instead of packets. Relatives used to visit with specially designed clay pots full of sweets.
The art of making this delightful dessert is being passed down generation by generation. All around Bangladesh many tempting flavours were created by karigars whose names are still remembered and the flavours are still produced by their heirs. Chomchom of Porabari, Tangail is one such flavour that is yet desired by many. There is a saying that sweet water of the area is the secret behind it's amazing taste. Roshmalai from Comilla is another wonder. In the early stages of 19 century it was called maliakari, with a little modification it became khirbhog and finally it became known as the roshmalai. Balish mishti of Netrokoan is another awesome treat. Because of its huge size it is called balish (pillow). One piece of Balish can weigh up to two kgs. One interesting fact about this giant is that it can be preserved for several days without refrigeration. During the summer it remains perfect for 2 to 3 days and during winter it can last for 7 days. Jogar mishti of Patuakhali, Ghuthiar shondesh of Barishal are also two precious tradition of Bengal.

However, many renowned flavours have lost their originality because the use of artificial elements and powder milk is rising. Yet without any doubt Mishti is still an essential part of Bengali lifestyle. Chic paper packets may have replaced the clay pots or shaal leaves. "Mukh mishti kora" is still the popular expression during happy moments, as it adds flavours to life.
Gradually more shops appeared. The tradition modified a bit, as people often brought in readymade sweets. Many luxurious sweetmeat shops are now in town. Lets start with some of them who left their mark in the history book.

Adi Moronchad
According to one of their karigars, the history of this sweet shop goes back more than hundred years and it still rules. For three generations, the Ghosh family is passing down this culinary heritage. First outlet of Moronchad, which is known as Adi Moronchad, is situated at 18, Nawabpur road old Dhaka. There are now 13 outlets, all of them owned by the grandsons of Moronchad Ghosh. There is one more outlet at Nawabpur road. If you wish to take delight in their sweets you can also visit their kalabagan or Farmgat outlet. Moronchad's yoghurt is so far the best in town. Their rajbhog, lalmohon, kalojaam, and roshmalai are still relished by Dhakaities.

Alauddin sweetmeat
The two shops opened by Alauddin at Chakbazar are still there and to this day their loyal customers pay regular visit to the place. Currently Alauddin sweetmeat has 8 outlets in the city. They are situated at opposite Dhaka collage, beside Shaheen collage, Gulistan, Baitul Mokarram, Magbazar and at Jinjira. Their shon papri is still very dear to many. Lalmohon, chomchom, malaichop, cream jaam, and roshmalai are their most sold item.

Muslim sweets
Muslim sweets started way back in 1968. Since then it has been wining the hearts of Dhakaities with their scrumptious savouries. Their most sold items are lalmohon, kalojaam, roshogollah, and shondesh. Current owner of the shop Mohammad Ali tells us "the name Muslim is being used by so many shops these days. Not all of them belong to my family." If you wish to savour the sweet flavour of original Muslims visit their outlet at Bijoynagar, Kakrail and Hatirpool.

Premium Sweets by Central
Premium Sweets is Dhaka's latest luxury. This exclusive sweet shop has taken the age-old tradition to the next level. The atmosphere in all of their outlet is friendly, offering a free piece to everyone who visits. Before coming in to business, premium studied the existing market even in abroad. Their realisation is, the presentation of these delicacies needs a new touch. So they have come up with chic boxes, wrappers and laces creating a whole new sense in packaging. Their best sellers are khir toast, khir mohon, malai chop, rosh malai, raabri, motichur laddu, maoa laddu, malaikari, premium brownie, and langcha. Each pack of sweets comes with a guarantee card. If you have any complains simply return the pack, of course in the same day of purchasing and a replacement free of charge is ensured. They believe the making of traditional sweets is an art. The mystery lies within the use of pure ingredients in right proportion, and of course leaving all the artificial elements out of the kitchen. Premium's outlets are situated at Gulshan 2 circle, Momtaj plaza at Dhanmondi 4, BNS centre at Uttora sector 7 and at ZIA departure lounge.

Rosh is also the hot new sweet shop in town. Among all of their delicacies, customer's most favourite is the malai shorai. Their customers also crave for langcha, rosh cha, kaacha cchana, jafran vog, cream jaam, khir toast, and their roshogollah. What makes their customers go crazy we asked their head karigor Salauddin, the person who creates magic in the kitchen? "It requires some special personal techniques that one acquires throughout time. The most important element that one must have is passion and attachment to work." In his 15 years of work Salauddin learned that pure milk is the secret behind the great taste. Decoration and the use of artificial elements downgrade the quality and taste. "Which is why our products are so plain", adds Salauddin. Rosh is situated at Momtaj Plaza Dhanmondi 4, Green road and at Gulshan 2 circle.

Prominent Sweets
With about 60 varied sweet items Prominent has earned the confidence of Dhakaities. Prominent's special items are Irani bhog, prominent shar toast, shondesh, shar mohon, shar roll, khir mohon, khir shagar and malai chop. The shop was inaugurated just a year back and now has three outlets in the city situated at Dhanmondi tower, Kulsum tower shantinagar, and at Banabi 11. .

By Shahnaz Parveen


Check it out
Unbeatable offers from Pizza Hut
Now here's a way to spice up your Ramadan and add a little extra something special to your iftars. Pizza Hut has a bag load of wonderful offers that'll keep you going back there for more.

From October 15 to November 15, dine-in customers can order Pepsi for Tk 30 and get free refills. There's an all-you-can-eat offer for lovers of the BBQ Chicken or Beef Lovers Pan Pizza and Cheese Garlic bread. Order these items for Tk 200, and you can have as much as you want. Conditions apply.

Carryout customers can also look forward to a special Pepsi offer. You get a free 1ltr Pepsi bottle with any Medium Pizza, and a free 2-ltr. Pepsi bottle with any Family Pizza.
Still need a reason to go there? We thought not.

~ LS Desk ~

Try out a Nissan
We seem to have more cars than we have roads but that does not stop the manufacturers and importers from offering us more. Pacific Motors, the importer of Nisssans in Bangladesh, has taken a step forward in offering a test drive of its vehicles since October 14 onwards. You get a choice of four of their cars. There is the X-Trail SUV and a four door pickup truck that comes with all the creature comforts like air-con, factory tinted windows and even CD player. It feels like a car but drives like a truck. Good over the potholes though. There is also the Nissan Sunny and the larger, more expensive and flashier Cefiro. Take your pick, fix an appointment by phone and take a spin to see if any fits your needs.

By Ehsanur Raza Ronny

Entertainment etiquette…

Bashundhara City. Finally we Dhakaites have a reason to plan daylong family outings within the city. With its multiplex movie theatre, indoor theme park, exclusive gym, and endless shops selling everything from cameras to condiments, this metropolitan microcosm is any mall-manic's dream come true. Or is it?

There's no doubt that the architecture of Bashundhara City is really beautiful, especially with the sleek exterior, and the spacious atrium inside, topped off by a stunning stained-glass dome. However, one would expect the layout of the shops in a modern mega-mall like this one to be less…well, less ordinary. Once you get past the gleaming glass doors at the entrance, the shops look like anything you'd find in any shopping centre anywhere else in the city, to put it simply, they lack style and individuality.

The management, although they deserve credit for trying, still seem rather uncoordinated. Whatever happened to the concept of 'service with a smile'? Head for the ticket lines at the indoor theme park, and you'll find the tellers, ushers and guards all wearing a bemused expression on their faces…which is rather disconcerting to first-time visitors. Finally, people with chauffeur-driven cars face a devil of a time retrieving their cars from the parking lot, because no one in the drive-by area seems to have any clue as to where the announcement booth is located, and if there is such an arrangement in the first place.

What really takes the mickey out of mall-hopping here, though is the crowd. Brandishing video cameras (filming a trip at the mall?), pushing and shoving at the ticket lines, it's like we don't know how to behave in a public place. The movie-going crowd is a category unto itself. Talking on the cell-phones while the movie is being shown, hooting and catcalling through some of the scenes…
please, even the crowds at the old cinema halls are better behaved.

We may have shiny buildings, fancy shops, and hi-tech entertainment facilities, but we're still a long, long way from deserving them.

This article was not written to attack or demean the wonderful facilities at Bashundhara City; rather, we just wanted to point out how it could be improved even further.

- L S Desk







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