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Check It Out

Spice up your Eid!

As Eid approaches, and preparations going on full throttle, it's time to gather up all components required for the upcoming festivity. And undoubtedly, just as Eid would be incomplete without the scrumptious delicacies, their preparation would be incomplete without a liberal helping of spices. Whether your personal favourite is tangy, hot, sweet n' sour, or spicy; to create the desired taste, it is essential that the right kinds of spices are used in right proportions. There are lots of spices that are used esspecially for the preparation and garnishing of Eid dishes. Let's take a look at our contenders.

Mostly used as a food colour for polao/biriyani, saffron is a popular spice during the Eid season. Apart from giving the rice dishes the “Jafran” colour, saffron is also used in dessert preparation. Sprinkled on top of desserts like payesh, and firni, it serves the function of dessert garnishing. Saffron needs to be used very carefully to strike just the right note with its wonderful bitter-sweet taste and exotic aroma. To enjoy the full flavour, crush the saffron by rubbing the threads between fingers before adding it to the dish. However, the spice is not readily available and is also highly priced compared to other spices.

Not just for sweets, nuts give a classy touch to savoury dishes as well. Kathbadam (almonds) and pesta badam (pistachio) lend an exotic taste to rice preparations like Kashmiri Polao, Hydrabadi biryani and other such dishes. For special rice preparations during Eid, they are sold by the handful at every spice shop. They come at quite reasonable prices and are readily available. Almonds cost Tk 35 per gram, while pistachios cost Tk 60 per gram. Also used as a common ingredient in desserts like firni/payesh and others, almonds form a staple item in Eid cookbooks!

Be it spicy chicken roast, gravy beef curry or spicy mutton joyfol and joyotri make every kind of meat preparation a delicacy. They are must for any kind of meat preparation. Joyfol is mainly used for quick and proper stewing of meat, while joyotri preserves the taste. They are readily available in all kinds of spice shops. Joyfol is priced at Tk 3 per piece while joyotri is sold at takas 10 per gram. For all those mouth watering meat preparations during Eid, joyfol and joyotri serves as the key spices to add to the taste.

For the widely popular chotpoti/fuchka preparation, the key spice remains Talmakhna. It is used in the flour dough for making fuchka. Mixed well with flour it brings the crisp taste and brittleness of the fuchka shells. 50g of talmakhna is available at the cost of Tk 30. A common spice for the chotpoti/fuchka lovers, it is widely available at any spice shop.

White pepper and rock salt are mainly used in borhani preparation- a widely popular drink during any festive occasion. Apart from borhani, they add zing to a number of dishes like dahibara and chotpoti. White pepper costs Tk 50 per 50 gram and rock salt costs Tk 20 per 100g. They can be found at your nearest spice stores.

For the fish lovers, Shorse Ilish is a staple item along with other gravy dishes. It remains in the top charts of Bengali cuisine. The key in ingredient, in this dish as the name suggests, is mustard or shorisha. Sales of mustard therefore go up during Eid season, the price remaining at Tk 70 per kilogram.

Asafetida (Hing) is mostly used as a digestive aid in gravy items. Apart from serving as a catalyst in digestion, it is also used as a spice in special preparations. It has a flavour similar to that of garlic and garnishes the dish with a tangy taste. A useful tip to get a smooth taste and the mild colour of hing is to fry it in ghee or oil while using it. Cheaply priced at Tk 30 per tola, hing is available at common spice stores. Mostly used in lentil preparations, it serves both to add flavour and aroma and to reduce flatulence.

Yet again, staple spices used all round the year, cinnamon and cardamom remain indispensable during Eid. Used in all types of curries, the optimum quantity adds a wonderful flavour to the dishes. 100gm of cinnamon costs around Tk 18, while 50gm of cardamom is priced at Tk 70.

Most of the spices are available in local spice shops round the corner of your locality, if you want to choose from a wide variety of fresh spices, New Market bazaar is a must visit. To get the rare Indian spices, check out the New Jonota General store located at New Market. Wherever you procure them from, be sure to get your spice jars filled amply before Eid in order to serve your family with the spiciest specials!

By Zannatul Lamea

Try it out

With the month of Ramadan over, our body clocks are pretty much by now attuned to the practice of going without any sort of nourishment from dawn to dusk. But Eid is just a day or two away and thus this week we give you few suggestions of your eid day breakfast. Remember to keep breakfast light this day because after a month long abstinence our system will take a wee while to get adjusted.

Eid day breakfast could include:

A glass of cranberry juice (extremely good for kidneys), prawn toasts, a serving of fresh cottage cheese and bakorkhani, fruit and sprout salad, with the usual rice pudding.

Farzana Nazrul's sprout salad
½ cup chola
2 amra, chopped
1 cup chopped cucumber
1 cup chopped onions
½ cup jambura
½ cup chopped crisp guava
2-3 green chillies, chopped
2 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
1 tsp roasted cumin powder
½ tsp crushed red chilli flakes
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp sweetened tamarind chutney
1 tsp rock salt (bit lobon)
regular table salt to taste

To make sprouts, soak the chola for 7-8 hours in enough water so that the chola are submerged. Then tie the soaked chola in dampened cotton cloth and leave for 2-3 days or until sprouts appear (keep in mind to occasionally spray the bundle with water so as to keep the cloth from drying out). Half cup chola makes 1 cup of sprouts.

To make salad, mix all ingredients together in a bowl and serve immediately.

On The Cover

At long last, our Eid countdown winds up and brings us to the event we've all been waiting for. Star Lifestyle wishes its readers a warm Eid Mubarak
Photo: Abu Naser
Model: Choiti
Make-up and styling: Farzana Shakil's Hair and Makeover Salon

Budget Smart

Name: Arafat Ibrahim
Age: 29
Profession: Engineer
Desire: To buy a motor-bike
Budget: Tk 1 Lacs

Arafat has always liked bikes and now, given his hectic schedule, he is determined to buy one. There are a lot of shops in Bangla Motor and Kakrail selling a wide array of motor-bikes.

The market is flooded with Chinese and Indian motorbikes. A 100cc motorbike made by the Chinese company Loncin, will cost Arafat Tk 63000. Another model of the same company sells a motorbike of 110cc that has a remote control incorporated in it. It costs Tk 72000. There are a few other Chinese companies offering motorbikes of similar price range, but Arafat is unlikely to be pleased with buying any one of them. Chinese motorbikes are not perceived to be of high quality and do not enjoy a high brand image. But Arafat will be able to afford most of the Chinese bikes with his budget.

Indian motorbikes seem to dominate and hold a strong position in the market. Hero Honda's 100cc Splender Plus costs Tk 93000 and 100cc Fashion Plus is Tk 97500. Hero Honda Passion, which is also 100cc, will cost him Tk 97000. Three of Hero Honda's most popular bikes are CVS Extreme, Hero Honda Hunk and Honda Unicon. All three of these bikes comprise of 150cc engine and are priced Tk 1 lac 39,500. Hunk is usually preferred by young people because of its sleek and stylish design. On the other hand, Bajaj Pulsar (150cc), which costs Tk 1 lac 45,500, is also a good buy. Bajaj Discovery, another bike preferred by many, has a 135cc and costs Tk 1 lac 25000. TVS Flame (125cc), another well-liked bike, asks the same price. Yamaha Gladiator (125cc) is a hugely promoted bike; it costs Tk 1 Lac 25 thousand. Bikes with more than 150cc are banned in Bangladesh.

Its better to purchase Indian bikes and Arafat can afford a few of them. But he has to pay about Tk 1200 for a helmet (yes it's not free) and another Tk 16000 for registration; he may have to have stretch his budget a bit. Most of the showrooms give a warranty on their engine for 2-3 years. Many of them promise free service for about 3-4 years. Arafat should try to get hold of a bike with hydraulic brakes that assist to put the vehicle to a halt almost immediately. Digital speedometer and a remote control are also craved by many, but only a few bikes incorporate these features.

By M H Haider



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