Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 2, Issue 48, Tuesday June 8, 2005





The artistic endeavours of Zeba Rasheed Chowdhury

Multi-tasking comes naturally to Zeba Rasheed Chowdhury. Along with being an entrepreneur, she has numerous interests. A visit to her airy home reveals some of her watercolour works of the tea gardens of Sylhet and Srimongal and the reserve forests of Kalinga. She had visited these locales many times with her late husband, Matiur Rahman Chowdhury, who retired as Chief Conservator of Forests. And that's not all--she makes and markets traditional pickles and chutneys, cultivates and sells Thai orchids imported from Bangkok, is an avid Scrabble player, and has done woodcarvings.

Last but not least, there is also her Bangla translation of Aesop's Fables, published by Bishwa Sahitya Kendra.

The walls of her house are embellished with her watercolours in shades of green, coupled with beige. One work which catches the eye, is that of a landscape in Jaflong, near Shillong. This work centres on a stream running in the midst of boulders. According to Zeba, she has done 20 such art works over the years.

And that's not all. Zeba has 1,000 pots of orchids on her roof top garden. Her interest in this delicate flower goes back to the days when her husband was a forest officer posted in places such as Chittagong, Chittagong Hill Tracts, Mymensingh and Khulna. She, consequently, had ample opportunities to visit the forests all over Bangladesh. Her husband introduced her to local orchids and she started collecting and growing these.

Later on, Zeba began to import them from Bangkok. Among her prized plants are orange ground orchids from Ooty, India. Why orchids? "The longevity and the beautiful colours of the flower appeal to me," explains Zeba.

The art of pickle making is another forte of Zeba's. This art, she says, "runs in the family." She learnt pickle making from her mother and grandmother. One of her chutneys--Shatkora--originates in Sylhet. This is like a citrus fruit.

Zeba also does mango chutneys and jalpai (olive) pickle. She sells her mango and Shatkora chutneys at Agora (under the brand name of Country Style), Nandan and Dhali stores. "In addition, I make Belembu (a fruit originally from Chittagong) pickle," asserts Zeba.

Social work too draws Zeba. She is former national commissioner of the Girl Guides and former chairperson of Underprivileged Children Education Programme (UCEP). Now she is vice chairperson of the Begum Rokeya Nari o Shishu Hospital. She is also the chairperson of the Orchid Society and member of the Tea Board.

Zeba has been involved in the sphere of social work since the age of 14 years. She recalls working with her mother for the All Pakistan Women's Association. This organisation worked for the betterment of women.

Truly, Zeba has traversed many paths. But the courage to delve into various fields has been well worth the reward.

By Kavita Charanji

News flash

Summer sale at Shoppers World

Shoppers World is hosting its second annual summer sale, starting 7th of June. Discounts begin at 7 percent, going as high up as 50 percent on a vast range of items, except for mobile phones. Shoppers World has procured a large amount of quality products from around the world, especially for this event. Items include lehengas, gorgeous saris in zari kota, kanjivaram, chiffon, printed crepe silk, georgette with work, and unstitched three pieces which include Italian crepe silk, chignon, cotton, crepe, along with women's shoes, bags and perfume. The men's line include both ethnic and western wear and men's accessories such as wallets, belts and cuff links. International brands--Hugo Boss, Harrods amongst others--are available as well in the form of shirts and trousers. The children's section consists of both ethnic and casual wear, shoes, school bags, etc, and there is a special line of Mother's Care accessories for newborns. Women's jewellery are gold plated on silver, with a 7-35 percent discount range. These comprise of attractive antique bangles, earrings, necklace sets amongst others, most of which are embellished with AD stones. The sale will last for fifteen days, and may even be extended depending on product availability. Shoppers World is situated at Gulshan Avenue.

By Rubaiyat Khan

Rong celebrates Fathers Day

Great news for dads, as they are about to receive loads of gifts from their kids on Fathers Day. Rong, one of the renowned fashion houses in the city, is celebrating the day in a unique manner. They are offering a special 10 percent discount for students only so that they can buy their dads that special gift. The discount is on from 13 to 19 June. But kids, don't forget to carry your student ID cards.

Also check out special mugs for dads. They cost about tk160 to tk250. You will also find CDs with all the songs that had ever been written, on praising dads.

Rong is situated at Sunrise Plaza, Dhanmondi, Concord Tower, Maghbazar and Shantona Market, Chashara, Naryanganj.

-LS Desk

A true taste of Asia

BY Tommy Miah

Caribbean Coconut Chicken
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 tsp vegetable oil
1-1/2 onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 tbsp chopped roasted garlic
1/2 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes

In a large skillet, fry chicken breast in vegetable oil until the chicken just begins to brown. Stir onions, green bell peppers and red bell peppers into the skillet with the chicken. Saute until the onions are translucent. When the vegetables are translucent, stir in the garlic and coconut milk. Let the mixture cook 5 to 8 minutes before removing the skillet from the heat. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
Transfer the mixture to a 9x13 inch baking dish and bake in a 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) oven for 45 minutes, or until the vegetables grow soft and the chicken is tender.

Freshly-Salted Salmon
Large piece of salmon, about 4 1/2 lb. (2 kg)
1/3 cup (1 dl) coarse salt
4 tbsp sugar
3-4 tsp roughly-ground white pepper
Plenty of fresh dill

Fillet the salmon unless bought ready filleted. Do not, however, remove the skin.
Wipe the fillets with paper towels without rinsing.
Place one of the fillets, skin side down, on the bottom of a dish sprinkled with salt.
Sprinkle the rest of the salt and dill over the fish.
Cover the dish tightly with aluminium foil. Put a small weight on top and store in a cool place for 1-3 days. Prepare as follows, just before serving: Mix together 3 tablespoons darkish prepared mustard, 2 tablespoons sugar and 4 tablespoons wine vinegar. Add 3/4 cup (2 dl) oil, preferably olive oil, in a thin stream, beating continuously.

Last of all, mix in plenty of finely-chopped fresh dill.

Hanging out

In countries elsewhere there are themed restaurants that range between the unique and the absurd. Just imagine a restaurant focusing on toilets as its theme or one where every few minutes the entire place goes through a simulated earthquake. These are just a couple of real life examples that provide a novel experience.

Bangladeshis are becoming more and more open to the concept of dining out. If their meal is accompanied with a varied experience then maybe all the better. Voot is a new restaurant that should provide a bit of a variety from the regular food joints.

Yes, that's Voot as in ghost. But don't' expect to see ghosts leaping out from your soup bowl as you eat although that might have been cool. It's a very toned down themed approach. Ghosts are synonymous with darkness so a lot of the décor is in matte black starting with the front doors, floor and walls. The grim surroundings are warmed up by a contrasting shade of orange that creates a cool and cosy atmosphere. It verges on the classy providing an elegant setting for your choice occasion.

The menu is expansive at about 388 items sans the drinks and dessert. Its made up of three different styles of cuisine with your choice of Thai, Chinese and Indian dishes. Breaking down the varied dishes would take a while but suffice to say that almost all your food requirements and wishes will be met. You could have your choice of prawn, chicken, mutton, beef, fish, duck and crab for the no vegetarian tastes. Lighter meals can be the different types of noodles with where the Thai and Chinese versions are pretty similar so ask the waiter for a full description.

If you are very worried about your waistline do go for the salads and vegetarian dishes. Although strictly speaking the Indian dishes with lots of 'paneer' is not too good if you are trying to prevent your tummy from walking ahead of you. If your heart desires you could simply opt for the regular deshi dishes.

So what is it with the ghost business? Well, according to the management they hold special shows but the dates and timings are kept a bit too ghostly secretive. That's not gonna help. But if you are looking for a slightly different experience then check this place out. They just opened on the first of June and are located on Dhanmondi Road No. 2 on the same side of the street as Rifle Square.

By Ehsanur Raza Ronny

Dhaba comes to Rifles Square
Ishrat Alamgir, Barrister Nihad Kabir, Selina Rahman and Sharmin Hussain were the best of friends. The four of them were visiting Kolkata and there they happened to taste perhaps the most scrumptious food there was in one of the street side eateries, popularly known as Dhaba.

They came back with an inspiration and soon opened up the first outlet of the Dhaba chain in Chittagong in August 1998. The people there simply loved Dhaba's preparations. People of Dhaka also got the chance to savour their delicacies when Dhaba opened up at Banani in 2001. They came and conquered the heart of Dhakiaties with their cuisine and now they have opened up yet another outlet at Rifles Square on May 1.

With a magnificent view of Pilkhana's lake and trees, the new outlet is located above Agora. During the afternoon and evenings this new joint remain busy. As usual their superb fuchka item is the most popular here. Youngsters' cosily sit for hours and relish their Dahi fuchka, Bhelpuri, or Churmur all priced very reasonably in between Tk40 to Tk50.

Dosa is a new item which they have made specially for this outlet. Priced at between Tk50 to Tk100 their Butter masala dosa, chicken masala dosa or cheese masala dosas are worth craving for. Kebab has always been popular around here. Dhaba has some special kebab items. Try Dhaba special kebab with a combination of chicken, beef and mutton, the mutton-boti kebab, or the chicken-boti.

The feast is not properly done unless you taste the Dhaba special naan or the garlic naan with one of these kebabs and raita sauce. Dhaba special naan has potato stripes in beneath the crust with butter, shahi jeera or sesame (til) on top. These naans cost around Tk30 to Tk40.

If you feel like ordering their munchies and enjoy at home, they have home delivery and catering service. And that's not all folks, they have a mobile tandoor that you can hire for any occasions. Just call 0178 362199 to enjoy these services.

By Shahnaz Parveen


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