Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 4, Issue 5, Tuesday February 6, 2007



Tangy & Healthy

During winter, fresh vegetables are usually plentiful. Eating fresh vegetable soup and stew is quite refreshing and healthy. Certain etiquette is observed for serving and eating soup. Although most of us are familiar with them, a recap of the common ones will help those who are not yet aware.

Soup may be served in a (a) double-handed cup, (b) soup bowl or (c) soup plate. It is necessary to have an under-plate for all of them.

The double-handed cup is usually set for luncheons while the soup plate is used at formal dinners. In oriental countries, the traditional soup bowl is often used at both luncheons and dinners.

There are three types of soup spoons: one is large and oval-shaped with a deeper bowl than a dessert spoon; the second is large and round, and the third is a Chinese ceramic spoon. The spoons should be placed to the right of the plate.

Generally, creamed and pureed soup should be served in double-handed soup cups using a round spoon; and minestrone, broth or stews should be served in soup bowls or soup plates with oval spoons.

Sip the soup quietly from the left side of the spoon, lifting it to your mouth. Soup spoons should never enter your mouth.

Dumplings, decorative vegetables, floating garnish or croutons, should be eaten first with the spoon, and the soup sipped later.

To scoop up the last bit of soup with the spoon, the plate or bowl should be tilted away from the diner.

Wait for the soup to cool first and then eat without making any noise.

The soup spoon should be placed on the right side of the under-plate for pauses during the meal, and also after finishing the soup.

Break off small pieces of dinner rolls or crackers on the bread plate and eat with the soup. Never dip or crumble these in the soup.

Here are some recipes which I hope will be liked by youngsters and elders alike.

Spooky Tomato Soup

Tomato 1 kg
Onion (chopped) ½ kg
Celery (chopped) 4 stalks
Carrots (chopped) 4
Orange juice of 3 oranges
Bay leaves 3
Chicken stock 600 ml
Salt and pepper to taste

Plain flour (or a mix of plain & whole wheat flour) 100 gm
Egg 1
Oil 1 tsp
Salt single pinch
Water 1-2 tsp

Leave the chicken stock in the fridge overnight, just before cooking, strain out the excess fat with a muslin cloth for a nearly fat-free stock.

Place the soup ingredients in a large pan, bring to a boil and simmer for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, sift the flour into a mixing bowl; make a well in the centre and add the egg, oil and salt.

Work into the flour, adding water a few drops at a time until the dough is smooth and pliable. Knead thoroughly for 10 minutes, then cover and leave to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is as thin as possible; using tiny cutters, cut into moons, stars and suns or any other shapes.

Discard the bay leaves then puree the soup. Return to the pan and adjust the seasoning.

Add the pasta shapes to the soup and simmer until cooked.

Lamb Stew
Sweet potatoes, contrary to popular perception is suitable for diabetics. In fact, sweet potatoes have low GI (glycemic index) and therefore are suitable for weight watchers. To make a complete meal, lamb stew may be eaten with whole wheat dinner rolls and coleslaw salad.

Sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into 1 ½” cubes) 500 gm
Lamb meat (cut into 1 ½” cubes) 700 gm
Onion (chopped) 2
Raisins 1/3 cup
Cumin 1 tsp
Salt ½ tsp
Chilli powder 1/8 tsp
Tomatoes (diced) 450 gm
Chickpeas (boiled) 350 gm
Coriander leaves (chopped) 2 tbsp

In a large pot, layer the sweet potatoes, onions and raisins.
In a bowl, combine cumin, salt, and chilli powder; add lamb and toss to coat.

Place lamb on top of potatoes; add tomatoes in with juice.
Cover and cook for 4-5 hours on low heat.
Stir in chickpeas during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
Serve sprinkled with coriander leaves.

Fat Free Cole Slaw
Fat free yogurt ½ cup
Carrots (shredded) ½ cup
Green cabbage (shredded) ½ cup
Red cabbage (shredded) ¼ cup
Green pepper (minced) ¼ cup
Garlic (crushed) 2 cloves
Coriander leaves 2 tbsp
Vinegar any flavour 1 tbsp
Honey (optional) 1 tbsp

Mix yogurt, vinegar, coriander and honey.
Add to vegetables and marinate at least an hour.
Toss and serve.

News Flash

Stomaching the Hilsha- the Elenga story

The vast stretch of the lawn. The copiousness, the viridity of foliage. Cottages huddling, making themselves comfy in the beauty of the surrounding. Clouds slide lackadaisically along looking like shaving foam squirted out of a canister. Paradise, you think. This must be it. But the sign dangling on the entrance suggests otherwise. 'Elenga Resort' it reads.

Located in the heart of Elenga town, Tangail- 10 kilometers away from one of the world's most majestic rivers- the Resort is a sight to behold. It has been heralded by many as the best resort in the country. It lies, in its resplendence, over eight and a half acres of land draped in virgin grass and trees that offer seasonal fruits. A certain calm hovers over it intermingled with only the chirping of birds. The air is fresh. The Elenga is a perfect spot to get away from urban hassles, the hubbubs and the pollution.

There are independent cottages and deluxe rooms. These are air-conditioned and furnished, with wall-to-wall carpeting and all the other basic amenities- intercoms, mini refrigerators, phone dialling facilities and so on. And to live like royalty, there is of course the 24 hours room service. Those who are slightly tight on budget can get hold of one of the non-A/C dormitory style rooms.

For those who seek to participate rather than play the role of the silent observer, there is no reason to fret. The Elenga Resort offers a range of indoor and outdoor games. These include badminton, lawn tennis, table tennis as well as the popular horse ride. If you choose to stay on the fit side, there is the Health Club.

Last Friday, February 9, the Resort hosted a festival: 'Hordom Shorshe Ilish Furti'. As the name suggests, it was a Hilsha extravaganza. The primary aim was to take back the urbanites to the days when the fish was abundant to make people forget how difficult it is to get the hilsha these days.

As they maintain, it is an understatement that the hilsha is merely a national fish. The fish is a thrill to the taste buds. It is not only Bangladesh who is in love with the flavour, the texture of well-cooked hilsha, people around the world are drawn to it in the same manner.

Amidst all the celebration and fanfare, there were rounds of tea and coffee, and a small-scale cultural show. The guests were shown around the Resort. And all this culminated to the item on the itinerary everyone was looking forward to- the lunch. Of course, hilsha graced the menu.

On a further note, they are launching a new book titled, “Peace Maker on Earth”. This concerns the life and times of the various Nobel peace laureates, and is penned by the Chairman of IPSSL, M. Haideruzaman.
To note, Elenga Resort Ltd. is a company of IPSSL Group.

By Shahmuddin Ahmed Siddiky



Post-war patriotism

The recent abundance of hartals, blockades and picketing and the counter politics of police batons, hot water and teargas shells has raised many questions. Have we lost patriotism forever or the sense of duty to the nation? Many minds wonder whether we are heading back to where we started? Are we going backwards to the difficult days of 1971 or 1990?

It is definite that those who raised the questions did not find answers and those who could find answers, the leaders of the country, are too busy getting rich in alternative ways and making the county their very own playground forgetting the rights of the countrymen. The only thing the depressed citizen can do is watch the drama while its fresh.

Current political situations made one thing clear-that leaders and supporters of the major parties have lost their depth and true passion for selfless acts and sense of direction. Patriotism is nowhere is sight.

Here is a quote from a freedom fighter, “How would they know? They did not fight to free a nation, a fight that cost a lot of blood and caused a lot of heartache. Definitely the new generation will not find the direction as we did in the 60s and 70s.”

He shared with us his valuable insight. Those who create understand the value and those who relish the creation afterwards take it for granted and fail to respect the pain and suffering that brought it about. This is what happened to the nation he mentioned. In the liberation war no one cared for personal gain. Everyone had the same direction, passion and goal. These days the loss and gain equation is what matters to everyone.

“Our perspective has totally changed these days. The word collective has no value for us and personal gain is what drives us. I remember during my childhood I would run away from home to listen to the speeches of our leaders. Their messages would strongly affect me. Today those same leaders stun me with their goals of personal gain”, said filmmaker Morshedul Islam.

Islam tells us that the face of patriotism changes everyday. He fails to find in his son the patriotism that he felt during his teens. Islam does not want to leave his beloved nation although the temptation of success from abroad beckons everyday.

There are millions who did not return. To Morshed they only think of their personal gain. They did not use their knowledge for the betterment of the country. According to him it is a great loss for the nation. The assets of the nation have left and they took away the merit along with them.

However, Ahmed Eusuf one of the young minds of today argues with this opinion. “My patriotism is right where it is supposed to be. I received a ready made Bangladesh from my forefathers. I am enjoying what is given to me. My father's love for the nation in 1971 and my patriotism in 2007 will definitely be different”

“The reason we are wedged in a perilous track right now is because we have all become so self-centred. We are always seeking a way for personal gain. The country is worn out of all its strength”, Eusuf continued.

Mahmud Hossain, Marketing Director of a renowned builders agency expressed his opinion. “The country is now hostage to a few peoples' whims. If they had any empathy left they wouldn't have become so selfish”, he said.

And the urge to satisfy personal need is the most important sentiment for the countrymen and the people leading the masses today. Moral decay of the political leaders is beyond restoration and passion for the nation has gone astray.

However, despite the over looming darkness that we seem to be headed towards, there are small rays of hope. Resignation by the four advisers from the Caretaker Government salvaged what it could of the lost image of patriotism. Major General Hasan Mashhur Chowdhury, Dr Ali Akbar, Dr Sultana Kamal and C M Shafi Shami showed us a sign of true bravery and a little light that somewhere in our midst, we have people left who do not think only of personal power and success, but for the genuine betterment of Bangladesh.

By Sultana Yasmin
Translated by Shahnaz Parveen



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