The Story Behind the Amra Bangladesh Bands
On a blustery March day, two young Bangladeshis went out for tea with an Indian friend but returned instead with an idea that would change the course of their lives forever. Thousands of miles from Bangladesh, living in a different land, their patriotism and love for their country helped them fathom an idea that they were sure would change their country in a major way.
Four months and much trials and tribulations later, the two along with three other friends can now proudly proclaim themselves to be the proponents of the "Amra Bangladesh" bands- A noble cause to donate money to the flood and acid victims and the orphanages. By this time almost everyone knows what the Amra Bangladesh bands are and what they look like. But for the benefit of those who don't, it is a red and green band with the words Amra Bangladesh etched into it. And the credit for making all of this rest firmly on the youthful shoulders of Rafaan Seraj, Nicole Mendes, Shayaan Seraj, Navine Mendes and Salman Khan.
The idea was conceived in March but it took almost until early June to start selling the bands to the local market. It was on the 8th of June that Salman Khan managed to make the first sale- and they haven't looked back since. "We were very circumspect at first, not knowing how the public would receive them," says Nicole Mendes. However all her doubts disappeared almost in the first day when Salman managed to make nearly two hundred sales during lunch break at AISD school. At the moment Navine Mendes is in Canada where she has been highly successful in promoting the bands amongst the expatriates. To date almost 3000 have been sold.
"There was almost a time when we thought that the bands would never be made," recalls Rafaan. However, thankfully they managed to pull it off and with quite spectacular results. The quintet also recalls that they were lucky at least in terms of connections when launching the band. Athar Ali Khan and Ayub Bachu are only two amongst other illustrious names who helped provide a launching pad for the bands.
Giving to charity has almost become a publicity gimmick these days, but what makes the aforementioned five different is the way they are going about it and the effort that they are making to make sure that whatever they are donating reaches the intended people. They are not donating money but even going to the added 'trouble' of purchasing the things for the mentioned charities. For this they are using their judgment. "Some charities demand TT tables or basketball courts. At the moment these are out of our reach but we are making an effort to see that the basic necessities of food clothing shelter and medical supplies are taken care of first," relates Salman Khan and Shayaan Seraj.
The bands itself tell an alluring tale. The two colors of red and green represent the national colors of Bangladesh and the quote of "Amra Bangladesh" has a story of its own. " First and foremost it represents unity,' says Rafaan. Relates Nicole, "It tells us that all together, we are one- the people of Bangladesh. No matter what we do or who we are as members of this country we have a duty to help our nation. We should be there for each other all the time."
Malcom X once said "The future belongs to those who prepare for it today." The quintet above epitomizes the statement to almost perfect detail. They show that the power of youth once united can be a great thing. If there are more people like this we can rest assured that our country is in good hands.
(For more information on the Amra Bangladesh bands visit their website at www.project-bangladesh.com )
By Quazi Zulquarnain Islam
Brit-Bangla chefs strut their stuff in Bangladesh
In the year 2002 when the first International British Bangladesh Fusion Food Festival was held at Dhaka Sheraton it was a huge success. Eventually it led to the second one which will be held this year between 24 to 30 August.
Jointly organised by Curry Life Magazine and Dhaka Sheraton Hotel the Festival will be held over seven days, and will showcase the best British Fusion cuisine, the work of some of the UK's most creative Bangladeshi Chefs. Amongst those selected to participate at the festival are: Mr Mortuz Ali from Yorkshire, Mr Oli Khan from Hertfordshire, Mr Mohin Bakth from Surrey and Mr Johur Ali from Milton Keynes.
A prominent food hygiene consultant, Mr Shamsul Islam from Oxfordshire is also on the delegation. He will be providing exclusive training to all participating chefs and Dhaka Sheraton staff.
Selections were made based on the excellence in ingredients and method used to produce fusion food, presentation and hygiene practice demonstrated by the competitors.
Also, Curry Life has arranged discounted hotel room rates for British-Bangladeshis visiting the Festival at the Dhaka Sheraton. This special rate is only available during the Festival period.
BY Sherifa Ahmed
Chicken (whole) Two (500gm each)
Salt to taste
Red Chilli Powder 1 tsp
Lemon juice 3 tbsp
Yoghurt 1/2 cup
Cream 1/2 cup
Ginger, Garlic paste 2/3 tbsp
Cumin powder 1 tsp
Garam masala 1 tsp
Saffron a pinch
Orange colour a pinch
Refined oil/ Butter for basting
Clean the chicken and make deep incision on the breasts, thighs, and legs.
Mix salt red chilli powder, and lemon juice together. Rub this paste into the chicken evenly. Keep aside for half an hour. Whisk yoghurt, cream, and remaining ingredients
( except last two) to make a smooth paste. Coat the chicken with this mixture. Marinate for 4-5 hours. Skewer the chicken leaving a gap of 3-4". Roast in a moderately hot
tandoor / grill / oven for 20-30 minutes. Remove, baste with butter/ oil and roast for another 4-5 minutes. Cut into pieces, sprinkle chaat masala and serve hot.
Fish, cut into boneless pieces 1 kg
Ghee 1/2 cup
Onions, sliced 1/2 cup
Garlic, chopped 3 tbsp
Salt to taste
Red chilli powder 2 tbsp
Coriander powder 2 tsp
Cumin powder I tsp
Turmeric powder1 tsp
Yoghurt 1/2 cup
Butter for basting
Heat the ghee in a pan, fry the onions till brown. Remove, drain excess ghee and blend the onions to a smooth paste. In the same pan, fry the garlic and keep aside. Allow the ghee to cool. Mix the onions paste, garlic, the remaining ingredients, and fish pieces with the ghee and keep aside for 2 hours. Skewer the fish pieces and roast in a tandoor / oven / grill for 10-15 minutes. Remove, baste with butter and cook further for 5-7 minutes.
Remove from skewers and serve hot.
Ginger Mutton Chops
Mutton chops 12
Papaya paste 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Ginger past 3 tbsp
Garlic paste 4 tsp
Black pepper powder 1 tsp
Cream 3 tbsp
Cumin powder 1 tbsp
Red chilli powder 2 tsp
Garam masal 2 tsp
Lemon juice 2 tbsp
Butter / oil for basting
Clean chops and flatten them slightly with a spatula. Mix together the papaya paste, salt, ginger and garlic paste, pepper and rub the mixture onto the chops. Keep aside for 3-4 hours. Whisk cream along with cumin powder, garam masala and lemon juice. Coat the chops well and leave to marinate further for an hour. Preheat oven to 175 0C / 350 0F. Skewer chops an inch apart and roast in oven/ tandoori / grill for 20 30 minutes. Hang skewers for a couple of minutes to let excess liquid drip off. Baste with butter and roast again for 5 6 minutes until lightly browned. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot.