Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 33, Tuesday March 28, 2006



Courtesy Dressy Dale

Baishakh at Dressy Dale

Dressy Dale welcomes the Bengali New Year with their new collection, which will be on display from the 1st of April to the 14th. Their main showrooms are located in Kemal Ataturk Avenue, Banani and Ambala Complex, Dhanmondi in Dhaka.

Rang of Baishakh

Rang is introducing a totally new collection, open from the 1st of April for 15 days, for every type of person on the occasion of the Bengali New Year. Incorporating the true
colours of the Bangla villages, they have also used Bengali calligraphy to highlight the rich songs and poems of our language.
The saris are decorated with colourful butterflies, flowers, birds, leaves, etc. coupled with works of block, spray, embroidery, cutwork, and screen-work. Men's attire are similiarly vivid; along with the salwar-kameezes, shirts, fotuas, punjabis and t-shirts.
Their main showrooms are located in Banani, Lalmatia, and Shantinagar in Dhaka.

Learn to swim

The Dhaka Sheraton 'Learn-to-Swim' program provides instruction to help swimmers of all ages and abilities develop their swimming and water safety skills. It is designed to give students a positive learning experience.
Learn-to-Swim teaches aquatic and safety skills in a logical progression. The objective is to teach people to swim and to be safe in, on and around the water.
Lessons will be supervised under the direction of a highly trained professional swimming instructor, both male and female.
LS Desk

A true taste of asia

Pan Fried Scallops and Prawns with Mango Dipping Sauce
6 roeless king scallop meat (fresh or defrosted) cleaned
6 large raw warm water prawn tails (fresh or defrosted)
30g (1oz) prepared parsley or garlic butter
1 x 227g jar mango chutney
Serves 2

Heat a medium pan with the garlic butter. Add the prawns and scallop meat.
Cook for 2-3 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. Season.
Serve immediately on salad leaves with the chutney.

Prawn Kebabs
16 large, raw, shell-on, headless, tiger prawns (fresh or defrosted)
8 button mushrooms
2 peppers, red or green, cut into chunks
1 courgette, cut into chunks

3 x 15ml spoon (3 tablespoons) soft brown sugar
4 x 15ml spoon (4 tablespoons) pineapple juice
2 x 15ml spoon (2 tablespoons) soy sauce
0.5 x 5ml spoon (half a teaspoon) Worcestershire sauce
2 x 15ml spoon (2 tablespoons) tomato ketchup
2 x 5ml spoon (2 teaspoons) corn flour

Preheat the grill
Thread 4 skewers alternately with prawns, mushrooms, peppers and courgette.
To make the marinade, mix all the ingredients together, except the cornflour.
Lay the kebabs on a shallow dish, pour over the marinade. Cover and marinate for at least 2 hours in a cool place.
Cook under a medium grill for 8-10 minutes, turning frequently.
In a saucepan, mix the cornflour to a paste with a little of the cold marinade; add remaining marinade and any cooking juices.
Bring to the boil, stirring all the time, until the sauce has thickened. Serve with the kebabs.

For the love of food

By Kaniska Chakraborty

Better half, definitely better

The other day, I cooked a whole fish, Mexican style. It had the usual; the tomatoes, the onions, the garlic, the parsley, the cilantro, and the unusual: green olive paste - a recipe I picked up from a travel and living channel. No surprises there. People all over the world are picking up recipes from TV shows all the time and are replicating them faithfully, sometimes better than the original.

What came as a surprise, though, was my wife’s reaction. She said, “That’s exactly how I was visualizing this dish.” I suddenly felt very proud.

You have to know a bit of history to understand.
During the pre-marital days, it was established, without doubt, that I would have to be in charge of the kitchen as she is completely unaware of the ways of cooking. The best she can do is “dim bhuna”. You would agree that more in terms of nutrition is needed in everyday life. That consideration prompted me to agree to the arrangement. Coupled with my passion for food and cooking, it was not a bad deal.

Only after we settled down in our new place and sailed through the period of honeymoon, did I realize the flaw in the system. I simply did not have the time to cook every day. We resorted to cooking twice a week and freezing the food. For a self confessed gourmet, however thawed dinner was not the thing.

There could only be one solution. I had to introduce my dearest wife to the perils of the kitchen. She had to cross the barrier of the “bhuna” and get on to bigger and better things.

But things had to be eased in. I could not just thrust a spatula in her hand and say, “There you go, honey. Cook some dinner.” She had to be initiated slowly, and with easy stuff.

Daal was the first item on the curriculum. I patiently showed her the boiling process, the right amount of water, the right consistency of the finished stuff, the right amount of onions and garlic and most importantly, the right amount of salt.

Salt is tricky. It has often enough spoiled the best dishes to an unpalatable mess. When the TV chefs say salt to taste, they are not kidding.

In less than two days, she had mastered the basic daal. Time was ripe to move on to higher grounds, i.e. fish.

I thought it was best to start with the ‘ilish’. Such a tasty fish is least likely to be messed up and the most probable to be liked.

Showed her the time tested classic, “shorshe ilish”. No pun intended, she took to it like a fish takes to water.

She was slowly, but steadily taking strides in cooking. Soon, phone calls were being made to her mother in the quest of recipes. Newer dishes were proudly making their appearances on the dinner table. And the food was seriously tasty.

We had struck a beautiful balance. Now, both of us are capable of whipping up food in no time. The days when she is late from work, I pick up the gauntlet and the days when I am late, which is more often, she takes complete charge of the kitchen.

Today, my friends, she is a master of “macher jhol” and “murighonto”, not to mention the heavenly “badhakopi” that she has picked up from her mother. Her list of conquests is getting longer everyday. She still has not started to dabble with pastas and the like, but when it comes to good Bangali food, she has few parallels.

From a complete greenhorn in the kitchen to the point where she actually visualized a dish has been some journey. I take no little pride in being the initiator and the prime encourager of the process.


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