Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 69, Tuesday, December 12 , 2006




A surprisingly pleasant trip to Dhaka Zoo

Most people would raise their eyebrows even hearing about it. That is exactly what I did when my good friend Nikita invited me to her daughter's birthday party at the Dhaka Zoo. A bunch of people with kids and senior citizens, reveling around hungry animals- it seemed like a bizarre arrangement. I was looking forward to it though or rather my curiosity looked forward to the interesting trip. And interesting it was. All my misconceptions were gone the moment I set foot inside the premises. Let me tell you more about it.

Ours was a special arrangement so tickets weren't required. We entered through the left side entrance. Greetings of tree branches, a gentle breeze and fallen leaves let us in. Vehicles were allowed but we walked because we preferred the stroll. We walked passed animal cages for a few minutes and there it was, at the back of the zoo, a beautiful serene lake. The lake is adjacent to the Ashuliya dam. It was a beautiful sight.

The zoo authorities built two small islands on the lake especially for picnics and other arrangements. The two islands, Utshab and Nijhum, are connected to the mainland by wooden bridges. Large trees cover the small islands with enough space for children to run around and set up the picnic. There are small wooden pagodas on the islands. You can also set up the banquet there.

The zoo authorities informed us that the place remains busy with guests from November until March. To get Utshab you will have to pay Tk.1000, and the rent for Nijhum would be Tk.500. An application to the Curator of the Zoo is required. You cannot however play music or cook on the premises. You have to carry food and other essentials, but it is worth all the trouble. It is a brief getaway to nature from the hustle and bustle of the city.

So what else can you do beside play on the small islands? You can take a trip to the animal cages. You can see hippos playing with water, monkeys doing what they are best at, monkeying around and teasing viewers.

Dhaka Zoo is situated in Mirpur. The entire premises cover around 186 acres of land. There are about 189 species of animals in the facility. Among them there are 70 types of mammals including elephants, Royal Bengal tigers, cheetahs, rhinoceros, zebras, different species of monkeys and chimpanzees, hippos and more. There are about 74 species of birds, 16 species of reptiles including snakes and crocodiles. There is a huge aquarium showcasing around 400 fish. The birdcage has about 1200 birds. It provides a wonderful chance for kids to learn about animals. Although kids cannot play with all the animals, they can sure ride on elephants for Tk.5 only. There is a small museum full of animal stuff. Entrance fee for the museum is Tk.2.

For senior citizens there is always fishing to fall back on. The lake is open for fishing for a limited period, but you have to pay a charge.

Zoo authorities also told us that this small amount of entrance fee hardly pays for the food of the animals. Maintenance costs are not always met. This is why sometimes the condition of the place is a little shabby.

However, its scenic beauty and quiet ambience overtakes all the glitches. It is perfect to spend a leisurely afternoon and all you need is a little imagination to be able to enjoy it.

By Shahnaz Parveen

A true taste of Asia

Sweet and Spicy Shrimp Kebabs
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon canned chipotle chillis, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 lb large shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

In a large bowl, combine the honey, chilli pepper, garlic and salt. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Cover and marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes or in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Remove from the marinade and discard any remaining marinade. Thread the shrimp through the tail and head (2 or 3 per skewer) onto small metal skewers or soaked wooden skewers. Strong rosemary stems are good to use as skewers. Grill over direct high heat for 2 to 4 minutes, turning once, halfway through grilling time. Arrange skewers on a serving dish and sprinkle with the cilantro.

Cabbage Rolls
8 large cabbage leaves parboiled for 5minutes & drained
2 medium onions chopped
1 cup paneer
Turmeric & chilli powder
½ tsp garam masala
1-2 green chillies, chopped
Coriander leaves
String for tying rolls

Heat 3 tsp of oil & fry onions till brown. Add paneer, turmeric & chilli powder, garam masala, green chillies, salt, coriander leaves and fry for 5-6mins. Place 2 tsp of mixture on a cabbage leaf and roll up, folding two sides in. Tie with a string. Heat oil and fry the rolls turning once.

Chapatti Rolls
1/2 tin baked beans
1/4 cup cheese
4 tbsp sauce
For filling:
1 carrot
5 French beans
1/4 cup boiled peas
1 capsicum
1 large floret of cauliflower
1/2 cup cabbage shredded
3 green chillies
1/4 tsp garlic paste
1/4 tsp ginger paste
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp tomato ketchup
Salt to taste
1 tbsp oil

Clean and chop carrot, capsicum, cauliflower and french beans into thin 2" long slivers or sticks. Chop green chillies into small pieces. Heat oil in a non-stick pan and add green chillies, garlic and ginger and stir. Add all other vegetables, stir-fry on high till veggies are tender. Add soy and tomato sauces, lemon juice, salt, sugar and stir. Divide filling into 6 portions. Take one chapatti, put filling in half portion. Spread over half the area evenly. Sprinkle some cheese. Fold empty half portion over. A half round with stuffing inside should result. Apply a little water to the inner edges, press together to seal. Arrange them in a shallow ovenproof dish. Sprinkle cheese, sauce and bake in a preheated oven (200C) for 10 minutes.

Grilled Burger
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 Buns (your choice)

While the grill is heating, mix the ground beef, salt, and pepper in a medium mixing bowl. Mix lightly, using your hands. Place the hamburger patties on an oiled grill grid. Grill directly over the heat for 5 to 7 minutes per side for medium cooked. Adjust your times for rare to well done, cook it to 160 degrees inside temperature or until the centre is no longer pink. Toast buns split side down on the edges of the grill grid until lightly brown.

Spicy Grilled T-Bones
2 tsp salt
2 tsp dried oregano leaves, crushed
2 tsp sweet paprika
2 tsp dried thyme leaves, crushed
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground white pepper
1/2 tsp ground red pepper

In a small mixing bowl, add salt, oregano, paprika, thyme, garlic powder and onion powder, black, white, and red peppers. Mix and press evenly onto beef steaks. Place steaks on grid over ash-covered coals.
Grill steaks uncovered for 14 to 16 minutes (top loin steaks for 15 to 18 minutes) for medium rare to medium doneness, turning occasionally. Remove bones from T-Bone or Porterhouse steaks and carve into slices.
Picnicking & Tailgating
Mix the ingredients at home and wrap in plastic wrap. Then place in plastic container and cover. Put container in ice chest to keep cool. Cook on the grill just as you would do at home.

Picnic Lemonade Punch
2 envelopes unsweetened lemonade drink mix
1 46 oz. can pineapple juice
4 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 28 oz. bottle ginger ale

Combine drink mix, pineapple juice, water, sugar and ginger ale in a large container and mix well. Chill, covered, until serving time.

On the cover

Victory Day is right around the corner,
And we're getting ready to celebrate Bangladesh.

Photo: Amirul Raji

News flash

Freedom flair at Bangal
Whoever said fashion was for Eid and other occasions of similar magnitude, definitely would be surprised at our capacity to integrate new fashion lines into every event whether personal, religious or national. It is no wonder then, that the fashion houses of the city are all abuzz with activity for the upcoming Bijoy Dibosh. Firmly on this bandwagon, is the relatively new outlet Bangal, located on the third floor of Aziz Supermarket, Shahbag. Alongside the usual, they have introduced an interesting line of t-shirts, ranging between Tk 80-200, to commemorate Victory Day. Their other lines of clothing are also reasonably priced with men's and women's fatuas costing between 200 and 450 taka, three piece salwar kameez sets Tk850-1500, saris Tk 400-7000 depending on material and men's panjabis costing a minimum of Tk 450 and a maximum of Tk 850.

Winter wear at Prabartana
Prabartana is out with its interesting line for winter. It comes in a wide variety- silk, rayon, 'reshom' and cotton. There are also apparels for wedding ceremonies, given that December offers myriads of such events.

The clothes have been provided with a double-layer for extra protection from the seasonal chill. And like all the other years, its shawls are likely to steal the show.

This is the general price range: 'churidaar' salwar kameez- silk (Tk.2295-2995) cotton (Tk.1295-1995), long skirts and tops- silk (Tk.2295-3995) cotton (Tk.1495-1995). For men, fatuas: Tk.329-495, shirts: Tk.465-595, panjabis: Tk.495-1195, and shawls: Tk.225-595.

So make some time, and drop by any of their outlets.

LS Desk



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