Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 55, Tuesday February 17, 2009




Hyderabad comes alive at Khazana

The word Hyderabad evokes images of age-old minarets, vintage pearl bazaars and the aristocracy of the wealthy Nizams. Being a perfect blend of fairytale and reality, heritage and modernity, opulent traditions and romantic customs, this bustling 600-year-old metropolis sits high as a jewel on India's crown. No doubt then, that this historically rich urban centre serves the perfect backdrop for a cuisine that in itself, is treat to the senses. A cross-cultural fusion of the rich culinary traditions of the North and the flavours of the South, Hyderabadi food is recognized around the world for its distinct identity and exotic richness. Also symbolised by almonds, saffron, khoya, green chillies and coconut, the distinct flavour of the Hyderabadi delicacies come from the sourness, which is an Andhra experience. The sourness not only heightens the exotic taste, but also facilitates digestion and is good for the heart.

Khazana, a fine dining restaurant in Gulshan, has arranged for its patrons to enjoy this unique gastronomic experience through its Hyderabadi Food Festival. Complete with all the delectable specialties of the aristocratic Hyderabadi gharanas, the menu consists of appetizing names like Kaju Khumb Makhana, Sofiyani Biryani, Lagan-Ka-Keema and Dum-Ki-Kabab. Authentic condiments of this cuisine like Shahi Masala and Putli Masala have been flown in directly from Hyderabad, especially for this Food Festival.

“Authentic Hyderabadi cuisine is a culmination of painstaking and laborious processes, for it demands hours of marinating, fine grinding and slow cooking on low flames,” explained Avishek Sinha, Director-Operations of Khazana. “Fursat and mohabbat are the two main ingredients of the Hyderabadi cuisine,” said Sinha, meaning that Hyderabadi dishes are meant to be cooked with ample time and a lot of love. “With the art of leisurely cooking fizzling out with the busyness of modern city life, authentic Hyderabadi dishes are now cooked in very few households. Khazana's attempt will be to revive this age-old tradition in our kitchens for the 10 days while the Festival is ongoing.”

With starters like Badam Shorba, which is a creamy soup prepared with almonds, the menu boasts specialties like Haryali Chicken, Nalli Nihari (a rich stew, slow cooked overnight and usually eaten at the crack of dawn), Bakar Khaani, Pahari Kabab and Dum-ki-Macchli. Every morsel promises the euphoric experience that only lovingly cooked dishes can give you. To appease the sweet tooth of the diners, desserts like Double-Ka-Meetha and Louki Kheer will be in the menu too, every bite of which oozes with the exotic flavours of saffrons and almonds.

Khazana opens its door to this gastronomic festival from the 15th of this month and it will last till 25th February. Treat your loved ones to this amazing fine dining experience and indulge in the extravagance of a true Nawabi experience!

By Wasia Mehnaz Minna

Dearest diary,
Regret. A six-letter word that packs quite a punch. A person in his/her lifetime does many a thing, which he or she regrets at some point of time. The ideal life would be a life with no regrets but alas! Such, I am sure is a rare occurrence. I, myself have many regrets. Some of which I could control, others inevitable. But at the end of the day they are...regrets...right?

So today diary I want to share a common mistake we all often make. Maybe, my thoughts might help somebody out there to stop, and think, and not have this particular regret on their list.

A couple of months ago there was a death in the family. A very loving, gracious personality left this Earth for her heavenly abode. And I do say with a lot of confidence that, heaven is where she is because that is where all angels go and no other place will befit her. To keep explanations at bay, I am going to introduce her to you simply as 'khala'.

Over the years whatever little maturity I have developed, one thing that I have thought through is to nurture any relationship, which is worth nurturing. Whether young or old, relative or acquaintance, if there are certain attractive qualities in that person's personality, I dive headlong into the relationship.

Sometimes I do not stop to think whether the other person will want to reciprocate or not. And by any chance if the other party is not won over by my winsome charms, I let go. At least I know I have tried. This realisation had come upon me when my husband's beloved brother died a couple of years ago.

Though thankfully I can say we did have a very fulfilling relationship when he was alive, but even saying that, I feel, maybe that wasn't enough. Maybe I shouldn't have taken him for granted thinking he would always be there for me. Maybe I shouldn't have left the country when he was not feeling well, maybe I shouldn't have looked so hard for my father in him. So many maybes…so many regrets.

So here is where 'khala' comes in. She came into my life 25 years ago and I fell in love with her instantly. To me she had the grace and the demeanour of a monarch, but her personality just blew me away. It actually took me some time to acknowledge that she was flawless.

Her take on life and people was something to write a book on. Her patience was endless as the dark blue sea, which she used to gaze into from my veranda. Her level of tolerance was to be reckoned with. Widowed at a very young age with 5 children, life must have tested her from all angles. But not once...never did I hear her berate fate or God. A staunch Muslim to the core, accepted everything with her inborn grace...gracefully.

Her lack of wants for material things made me ashamed of myself. Her happiness from our achievements made me smile. Her children, her grand children, and all the people who loved her, she loved them back with equal fervour. She was all about love, tranquillity, forgiveness and humility. I consider myself honoured in knowing her, loving her and being loved by her. But this all-consuming niggling regret is still there. I wish I visited her more; spoke to her more, learnt from her more and mostly, hugged her more.

My warm salty tears which come in sporadic bursts time and again, makes me question myself...why did I not do enough? Maybe, I myself do not know how much is enough for the person one loves.

Her passing has left huge voids of volcanic craters in our hearts, all very hard to fill. And to be honest, I do not want to fill the emptiness. I want to feel her through my pain every time I remember her. The happiness and the goodness, which she generated has left with her. Only the pain remains...while we still live.

So diary, love, nurture and cherish is going to be our new mantra. Our regrets will be ours to deal with, but it does help to keep it short. Try to have a good day, the Sam Q. way.

Tamarind beef salad
300g beef
2 bell peppers
30g garlic
50g onion julienne
Salt and pepper to taste
4-6 tbsp oil
For marinade:
150g tamarind
20g garlic
40g cumin powder
100g honey
½ bunch mint, chopped
30 ml Soya sauce
5g chilli flakes

Soak tamarind till soft, then purée and strain to get a smooth pulp. Sauté garlic in oil till light golden-brown. Add chilli flakes, honey, cumin and tamarind pulp. Reduce mixture on low heat for about 15 minutes. Finish off with Soya sauce and add mint when cool.
Marinade beef overnight. Grill or bake till done and cut into strips. Grill pepper and cut into batons. Heat oil in a pan, add garlic and sauté till golden brown. Add beef strips and sear. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot garnished with sliced onions.


Seeking simplicity and sophistication

DITAN, with her fashion house "Denial" at Gulshan, deals with handicrafts of metal and terracotta, costume jewellery, and clothing lines. The last deals were with shalwar kameez, panjabis and men's shirts. All the items are made in Bangladesh with local materials. Ditan has been designing clothes and accessories since she left school, 12 years back.

"When it was time for me to wear shalwar kameez there was not the concept of altering clothes and readymade clothes didn't quite fit me. I took my mother's saris and converted them into clothes for myself. I'd learned to stitch and embroider in school. My mother, Gulshan Yasmin, who held exhibitions at Chittagong, inspired me. My cousins and school friends encouraged me in this," says Ditan.

Ditan believes in keeping things very simple but sophisticated. She deals on a one-to-one basis with her clients. "We don't provide fashion for the clients, but rather style. We advise on the type of accessories to go with the clothes," says Ditan. Her jewellery makers deal with silver, bead and terracotta products and have been working with her since 1994. She designs and colours her products, buying her clothing from whole sellers, who bring in handlooms from Sylhet, Narshingdi and Tangail.

Dwelling on fashion tips, Ditan says, "Our housewives tend to overdo their clothes and make-up. If you're wearing bright colours, you've to make sure that your make-up is light. As for our beauty-parlours, they tend to listen to their clients, rather than advising them on what to do."

Ditan has tried her hand in filmmaking too, beginning with the film, 'Grey Dhaka'. There she met Rubayat, who did some filmmaking courses overseas. Meanwhile, Ditan had already begun her novel about three young women with three different backgrounds and personalities. One is a journalist, one a model, the other waiting to get married. At the end of the day, they have the same goal. It was called "Chasing the butterfly" and is a 40 minute film. "It is a raw film in which no artificial lights or tripods were used," says Ditan. It is the product of friends getting together, with Tashan singing, and Zubair playing the flute. It is a crossover film, which has no precise ending.

She had a stint of acting as a child in BTV in a play "Biran Janapothey" in 1993. She has done the fashion designing for Pantene's "You got the look" for four years. She hosted "Sunsilk Apshora" in Channel-i. She has worked in "Ice Today" and "Charbela Chardik" as fashion editor.

"I urge my clients to be themselves," says Ditan. "At the end of the day our youth tend to look alike. In the mad stampede to follow fashion, the young one's lose their individuality. Fashion changes, but one's own style and personality should not," says Ditan.

By Fayza Haq



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