Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home |  Volume 6, Issue 09, Tuesday, March 01, 2011




By Tommy miah

Asian vegetable rice
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
½ tsp ground cumin
1 cup basmati rice
2 cups water
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp garam masala
¾ cup frozen mixed vegetables

In a large pan heat oil over medium heat and sauté onions and cumin until onions are tender, but not browned. Rinse the rice several times and drain well. Add rice to the pan with the onions and pour in 2 cups of water. Stir in salt, garam masala and vegetables. Cover the pan and increase the heat to high.

Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to low, keeping the rice covered at all times. After cooking for about 10 minutes, gently stir the rice to distribute the spices evenly. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until all of the water has evaporated and the rice is tender.

Healthy barbeque chicken
3 pounds bone-in chicken pieces
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp meat tenderiser
2 cups plain yoghurt, divided
3 tbsp ground cumin
2 tbsp ground coriander
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tsp paprika
½ tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
6 cloves garlic, minced

Make shallow crosswise slits in the meat of the chicken parts to help absorb more flavour. Mix together the lemon juice and meat tenderiser; rub into the chicken meat. Place chicken into a shallow dish.

Place ½ cup yoghurt, cumin, coriander, cilantro, paprika, turmeric, salt, pepper, and garlic into a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, and stir in remaining 1½ cups of yoghurt. Pour over the chicken parts, cover, and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, or overnight.

Preheat grill for medium heat.

Lightly oil the grill grate. Remove chicken from the marinade, and discard any remaining marinade. Grill chicken for 30 to 45 minutes, turning frequently to prevent burning, until juices run clear. Smaller pieces will finish cooking first.

Spicy salmon fish fry
2 tbsp olive oil
¾ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp brown mustard seeds
1 small onion, sliced into thin half-circles
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger root
1 green chilli pepper, chopped
10 fresh curry leaves, chopped (optional)
1 tomato, diced
2 (14.75 ounce) cans salmon, drained and bones removed
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; place the cumin and mustard seeds in the hot oil and cook until the seeds begin to pop. Cook and stir the onions in the spice mixture until they brown. Mix in the garlic, ginger, chilli pepper, and curry leaves; cook and stir until the garlic becomes golden.

Add the tomatoes and stir for a few seconds before adding the salmon, using the back of your stirring spoon to break the salmon into small pieces in the pan; cook until the salmon is heated through, 5 to 10 minutes; remove from heat. Garnish with cilantro to serve.


An odd obsession

The first thing I did, after the wide-eyed look of shock of course, was ask 'WHY?!' as my best friend licked the last bit of ketchup off his fingers from the plate of fries before we could even have any.

A lot of obsessions and addictions are seen nowadays but the one with ketchup involved is one that's hard to understand. From toddlers, to kids, to teens, to adults, there are ketchup-addicts of every age who seem to add ketchup to anything that is edible. When asked why, they all seem to have the same answer that us, non-ketchup-lovers, don't seem to get at all - 'IT'S AMAZING! That's why!'
Let's analyse, shall we? What exactly is so great about ketchup? Why not some other sauce? Soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic sauce, there are so many types but Ketchup seems to hold a special place in people's hearts. Of course, there are some kinds of food that would taste obnoxious, yes obnoxious, without ketchup but isn't having it with rice a little too much?

So, is it just the taste? The perfect amount of sweetness that's just about right when it hits your taste buds or the tangy, lip-smacking flavour you get that keeps your tongue tingling for minutes after your first bite? Maybe it's both. But is it reason enough?

Let's go to texture - it holds a special state between completely solid and completely liquid. It's smooth and generally cools your mouth the moment it's inside. Sometimes, you can taste the fresh tomatoes just because of the silky texture of the sauce.

Apart from these, what else can be that attractive about it? The colour, maybe? Red is known to be the most attractive, attention-grabbing colour known to man. And once you see something that beautiful and gooey ready for you, you will jump at it as soon as you lay eyes on it.

So what if it tastes amazing or feels amazing or looks amazing? There is still absolutely no reason to be addicted to something so irrelevant in life. Having said that, there's also no reason to not have your mouth watered by now and have the urge to go and have some, and yes, just like that. You know you want to!

By Naziba Basher


A new name in the fashion industry: Ena La Mode

Modish shoes and bags are must-haves in the wardrobe of a fashion conscious individual. For those who think bags and shoes are synonymous to Thailand and China, think again because Ena La Mode is here to change your perception.

Made completely out of local materials, Ena La Mode boasts a collection of trendy and sophisticated yet durable shoes and bags that cannot be spotted anywhere else in the country. The designs are one of a kind and all their products fall within the price range of Tk.600-5000. They even carry a separate line of sandals for males.

En La Mode started its journey eight months back, on the month of June, 2010. Since then they never looked back. “My target market consists of people who claim international brands to be of utmost quality and complain that such products are unavailable in the country. I want to show them that it is very much possible to produce products that can be compared to the international standards using local materials and production facilities,” says the owner of the shop, Anica Osman.

Entering the shop, one will catch the sight of clutches made out of jamdani sari, bags made out of chicane fabric, and sandals adorned by batik prints. If you bought yourself an extravagant dress but cannot find the perfect shoe or bag that goes with it, don't worry. Ena La Mode is there to provide you with just the shoe or bag that will match your outfit, but this service is available on an order basis. They believe in providing their customers with a customised experience.

Anica Osman feels that the overall concept of branding is very much absent in this industry, and she wants to differentiate Ena La Mode on this ground. They are already exporting a large quantity of their products to U.S.A and will soon start its operations in Malaysia and Dubai. “I want Ena La Mode to be the face of Bangladesh in foreign lands,” adds Anica. She also wants to expand within the country by opening outlets in Chittagong and Sylhet.

They are currently holding four major lines: designer, festive, premium and popular, and will soon launch their Pohela Boishakh collection under the festive line. Ena La Mode is situated in House # 4, Road # 12, Sector-6, Uttara. They are planning to open a new outlet in Gulshan soon.

By Afrida Mahbub
Photo courtesy: Ena La Mode


The power of culture

With the International Mother Language day added to our acclaimed list of cultural celebrations, Bangladesh has entered a new height of international recognition for its culture. Other nations are now interested in building mutually beneficial relations with us and have given us numerous cultural centres for this purpose. These cultural centres are the disseminators of the kind of knowledge which would allow the next generation of this country to spread their wings far and wide in this fast integrating, globalised world.

Today, you have the choice of learning a foreign language beyond English, straight from the horse's mouth. Cultural centres such as Alliance Française, Russian Cultural Centre and German Cultural Centre allow you to learn the languages of their respective countries in the manner that is used in daily life and not as it is used in books. These cultural centers can provide teachers whose native tongue is the one being taught, an invaluable component in perfecting a beginner's accent and pronunciation.

Though language is the primary product of these cultural centres, their activities and objectives spread over a diverse array of offerings. Dance, singing and music are the common divisions of extracurriculars you can seek but each centre adds its unique flavour to the activities it provides. For example, dance is taught in styles true to the cultures of the centres, with the German centre teaching Salsa and Samba, the Russian centre teaching ballroom dancing and Indian centre teaching Kathak.

The German Cultural Centre goes a step further than the others do. Apart from providing courses they conduct programmes designed to build collaborations with local schools. Under this programme termed PASCH, they hold seminars to improve the understanding of the culture for the children, train interested teachers in their language and arrange shows for the children to participate in. “Our goal is to provide an in-depth understanding of German cultural values and integrity” says Tanvir Alim, programme officer for the centre.

Apart from these international institutions, we have some of our own local initiatives to thank and cheer for, for keeping the famous Bengali culture alive and flaring. BAFA and Chayyanaut deserve a shout out for their contribution in liberating attitudes towards music and dance. The stigma attached to dance and dancers in Muslim society was greatly reduced and dance made acceptable through their persistence and promotion. The Government is also doing its fair share of promoting our culture for the future generations through Shishu Academy, Nazrul Institute etc. These Government projects are the last barrier against extinction for many parts of our culture.

The power of culture is evident in history. Culture in the past has been the cause of division and destruction. Countries have defined their boundaries depending on what one wears and how one speaks. The new era, however, seems to be using the same differences to make allies rather than foes. Maybe the differences in cultures are what are finally going to bring the world together in the end.

By Raisaa Tashnova
Photo: Zahedul I Khan


Cultural centres around town

Bangladesh Shishu Academy
Dance (classical styles), singing, music (Guitar and Tabla), recitation, fine arts, theatre, events, film festivals, debates, fairs, museum.
Contact info: 02-9550377

Nazrul Institute
Singing, dance, recitation (all activities are based on original Nazrul lyrics and poems).
Contact info: 02-9114602

Singing (various classical styles), music (Tabla, Sitar, Violin), dance (Monipuri, Bharatnatyam), singing and art for autistic children, special classes for music intellects.
Painting Exhibitions, dance and music performances.
Contact info: 02-9133716

Bulbul Lalitkala Academy (BAFA)
Singing (four different classical styles), music (six types of instruments), dance (five different classical styles), fine arts, electronic arts, sculptures.
Contact info: 02-9127374

Alliance Francaise de Dhaka
French Language Courses, music (Composition, Piano, Guitar, Violin, Cello), dance (Modern), theatre, photography and film making, interior designing, event management, fashion designing and merchandising, painting, ballet and gymnastics for children only
Photo exhibitions, film festivals
Contact info: 02-8611557

Indira Gandhi Indian Cultural Center
Dance (Kathak), singing (classical Hindustani vocal), Tabla, yoga
Music and dance performances, regular film shows, painting exhibition.
Contact info: 02-8820243-47

German Cultural Center
German language courses, dance (Salsa and Samba), music, theatre, fine arts, Piano, academic consultancy, events (open for all), seminars, concerts, exhibitions, film festivals, cultural programs
Contact info: 02-9126525

Russian Cultural Center
Russian language courses, dance (Latin and Ballroom), theatre, photography, guitar, fine arts, fashion designing
Exhibitions, concerts, film festivals
Contact info: 02-9118531



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