Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 4, Issue 28, Tuesday July 17, 2007



Chronicles Of Sam Q

Every person on this earth has a reason to be here. The reason for my existence on this huge multi-dimensional world is to be this obsessive 'cookaholic' person. Actually, now I do not like to think of myself as a simple cook; I prefer the euphemism “food connoisseur”. From the early years of my childhood, when ovens were a novelty and whisking, actually meant manually whisking with a tired looking wire whisk, and granulated sugar was real sugar broken down with a rolling pin, I sure have come a long way. So now with this plethora of modern appliances I still think that my yesteryears were absolute sacrosanct, where I learnt the most. Even a simple sponge cake when it came out, all sides fluffed up, was so euphoric.

But nowadays I have become very pernickety. Everything has to be perfect. How soon we forget. To me, all my creations now have to be in a state of decadence. And all for what? For me to luxuriate in the iconic state of the perfect “food expert” status.

I know I am coming across very smug and self-absorbed, but I truly believe my passion for cooking and food makes me a cognoscenti. And by the way, a cognoscenti is a person who is considered to be well informed about a particular subject.

Anyway, enough about me. Now let me tell you about us Bangladeshis and our relationship with food. Food to us is, the end of the world. To love somebody, the only way it can be expressed is by food and only food.

In Bangladesh, unlike other developing countries, there is a dearth of entertainment. So again in the form of entertainment, the restaurant business is a thriving affair in Dhaka. To us an evening out is either going to a restaurant or going to somebody's house for dinner. And the dinners are getting more exotic by the minute. So readers if by any chance, you are here at this part of the world, please do look up a few of my favourite restaurants and enjoy our multi-racial cuisine.

For our local cuisine one should go to Kosturi for authentic Bangladeshi food. For Chinese food, Golden Rice will delight your taste buds to great heights. For Indonesian food, Skyroom is the place to be. Their chicken wings are to die for. For Thai food, Lemon Grass and Thai House are my favourites. And for continental food Grille Room is perfecto. The shrimp cocktail there is utterly awe-inspiring. For Vietnamese food, Le Saigon's banana dessert is too chewy to even talk about. And lastly, for Indian cuisine, Santoor is the best. Their dosas and idlis take me back to Kolkata every time.

So readers, apart from all that, I can also assure you of our own brand of hospitality. I have given some of my favourite Bangladeshi recipes to which I have added my own little twists. Please try them out and try to forgive this self self-proclaimed, smug Bangladeshi food-expert, who with utmost reverence says,
Have a good day and happy cooking.

Jacket Potatoes With Cheese & Corn
4 big potatoes
25g butter
100g cheese, grated
1 can corn
Salt & Pepper

Preheat Oven
Boil the potatoes until tender.
Cut the potatoes in half lengthways.
While keeping the potato skin, scoop the flesh carefully into a bowl.
Mash the potato flesh with the butter and half the cheese. Add the drained canned corn. Mix well and season with salt & pepper.
Spoon the mixture back into a baking tray, topping it with the rest of the cheese.
Put in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until cheese is melted and potato is piping not.

Chilli Chicken Sam Q. Style
70ml oil
6 large dried red chillies
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped garlic cloves
1 tbsp chopped lemon grass
2 tbsp chopped ginger
1/4 tsp lime rind
2tbsp dried coriander seed
1 tbsp dried cumin seed
1 tsp dried star anise powder
40ml oil
750 gm boneless chicken

Heat oil in a pan and sauté the red chillies, onion and garlic till light brown.
Remove and grind to a paste along with the other ingredients, except the oil and the chicken.

Heat the 40ml oil and quickly brown the chicken cubes. Add the ground paste and cook, covered on low heat till chicken is done.

Pop Up

Nothing soothes a sore throat better than a concoction of ginger, basil and honey boiled in water. The hot water helps the ache, the ginger and basil relieve that raw feeling and the honey adds just a drop of sweetness to make the whole drink taste better.

-LS Desk


Saving water at home

One leaking tap can waste more than 2,000 litres of water a month! Amazing as it may sound, but our efforts can help save thousands of litres of water each day. After reading newspaper articles on the hardship that many Dhakaites face each day for water, it is time for us all to start conserving water. Our combined efforts can save thousands of gallons of water every day.

The most water efficient methods for cooking vegetables are microwaving, steaming or using a pressure cooker. You can also cut down on water loss by using tight lids on pots and simmering instead of boiling.

Thaw frozen foods in the microwave oven instead of placing them under running water for defrosting- it will save a lot of water.

Prevent taps from leaking by turning taps off lightly. And change washers immediately when you see taps leaking.

Wash fruits and vegetables in a half-filled sink instead of under running water- this is a great way to cut down on water wastage.

Rinsing your dishes in a plugged sink rather than under a running tap is also an effective way of reducing water wastage.

Ensure that sinks have strainers to reduce excessive wastage of water.

There is no need to leave the tap running while brushing teeth. Wet the brush before you begin and once you are done, use a glass of water to cleanse your mouth. The same thing goes for cleansing a razor. Instead of rinsing in running water, rinse your razor in a plugged sink or a water mug.

When cleaning your bathroom or driveway ask your staff to use a bucket instead of running a tap or hose.

Clean water has become a scarce natural resource. If we do not start conserving water from today, our dear Dhaka will soon be submerged in a severe water crisis.

By Penelope


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