Road safety now mandatory
It is ironic that, living in a city where the precarious nature of traffic and roads is a perpetual hot topic of conversation, we wantonly disregard all safety measures that should be steadfastly followed. This tendency stretches across all walks of life, from the pedestrian crossing the street instead of using an overpass, to the educated office-goer driving his car while talking on his cell, or sitting in the passenger seat without a seatbelt on.
On 21 September, in a meeting of the Road Transport Advisory Council, it was decided to impose a ban on talking over mobile phones while driving, and buckling seatbelts while driving and wearing helmets when riding motorbikes have been made mandatory throughout the country.
The initiatives will take effect from November 1 and stringent punishment including monetary penalty and imprisonment will be incurred by violators, said Communications Minister Syed Abul Hossain after the meeting. He also said that anyone crossing the road instead of using a nearby footbridge or underpass will be taken to police custody for at least 24 hours.
"People are still in a habit of crossing roads rather than taking the footbridges," he said, adding that the law concerned would be amended, if necessary. He also said that the drive will be completed over the next two months.
These initiatives could bring about a welcome change in motorists' and pedestrians' safety awareness. For too long we have ignored the most basic safety measures. It has been proven time and time again that wearing seatbelts could be the difference between life and death in the event of a car crash, and the same has to be said of motorbikes and helmets.
In a country already beset by problems, needless loss of lives through careless disregard of safety measures cannot be afforded nor tolerated. We have not acted out of our own good conscience; now, we can only hope that strict enforcement of these initiatives can bring about a positive change.
Moonlight drive Dos and Don'ts
“IF it's not a school night, it's extremely uncool to sleep before two in the morning,” a teenager was reported as saying to her mother. Without going into the right or wrong of that statement, it has to be acknowledged that we are increasingly becoming creatures of the night. Blame it on the ever-shrinking world, otherwise known as globalisation, there are now more things to occupy oneself with after dinner, what with friends waiting to chat real-time halfway across the globe and 24-hour cable channels showing our favourite programmes in the wee hours of the morning. There are more reasons now to stay awake just that bit longer.
The situation is such that it is hard to come across people of a certain age who go to sleep at a “respectable” hour during holidays. This is reflected in the advent of restaurants like Terra Bistro, which is open all through the night, and Moo's Barn with their 24-hour delivery service.
For the adventurous of heart, however, there need not be a definite place to go to; the journey will suffice. A late night drive with your loved ones can rejuvenate your tired city spirits. You might actually be astounded to find how beautiful and pleasant the Dhaka streets can be. Roll your windows down, put in that CD you like, and enjoy the cool, fresh air.
A note of caution: though the streets are empty, driving late in Dhaka also has its dangers. Many of the horror stories we have heard of car crashes took place in the dead of night.
Perhaps this is because people feel a release from the packed streets, and let their feet weigh heavier on the accelerator than they would when the roads are busy. Whatever the reason, you would be well advised to keep a watchful eye out at intersections and turns.
Then there is the issue of crime. Don't stop your car in isolated and dark areas. Stick to the main thoroughfares, if you have to stop, do so at well-lit and open areas. Moreover, try not to attract too much attention to yourselves by playing music too loud.
Spicy chicken with apples
2 tbsp olive oil
4 skinless, boneless, chicken breast halves - cut into strips
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 apples - peeled, cored and sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
1 tbsp red curry paste
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ cup chicken broth
1 cup plain yoghurt
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the chicken for 5 to 10 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
Add the onion and apple to the skillet and reduce the heat to medium. Cook and stir until the onions are translucent, for about 8 minutes. Add the bell pepper; continue to cook and stir for another 5 minutes. Season with curry paste and cinnamon; cook for a few more minutes to intensify the flavours.
Stir in the chicken broth and yoghurt. Return chicken to the skillet and simmer for a few minutes to heat through. Remove from the heat, season to taste with salt and pepper, and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Spicy chicken with green masala
7 fresh green chilli peppers, diced
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp salt
1½ tsp ground dried turmeric
1 tsp limejuice
2 cups chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp plain yoghurt
8 chicken drumsticks, skin removed
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
Place chilli peppers, cumin seed, ginger-garlic paste, salt, turmeric, limejuice, and cilantro into a blender. Puree until the cilantro is very finely chopped, then add yoghurt, and puree until smooth.
Pour over the chicken drumsticks in a re-sealable plastic bag, and mix to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
To cook, heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion, and cook until the onion softens and turns translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken and marinade, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the drumsticks are tender, 30 to 40 minutes.
Bangladeshi tomato chicken
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 slice fresh ginger root
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp ground cardamom
1 piece cinnamon stick, chopped
¼ tsp ground cloves
2 bay leaves
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
6 skinless chicken thighs
1 can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed
Place onion, garlic and ginger in a food processor and process into a paste. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add onion paste and sauté, stirring continuously, for about 10 minutes.
Stir in the cumin, turmeric, salt, pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves and nutmeg. Sauté, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes. Place chicken pieces in skillet and stir them around with the spice mixture until they are well coated.
Sauté for another 4 minutes then pour in the tomatoes with liquid and stir. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 to 2 hours, or until the oil has separated from the liquid. Stir occasionally.
(Note: If you simmer uncovered, the sauce will thicken; add water, or keep covered while simmering.)