Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   |   Volume 6, Issue 36, Tuesday, September 13, 2011



Malay cuisine


In today's column, we look at some authentic Malaysian recipes, which I got from my Malaysian friend, Chef Rozaiman, who is also the Head Chef of one of Dhaka's most renowned restaurants -- The 8, in Gulshan 1.

Malay dishes comprise of the cuisine of Malay people from Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei and Southern Thailand. Different regions have their unique dishes. Due to the spice trade through Malaysia, the Malays took in various spices and cooking techniques from the Arabs, Indians and the Chinese and incorporated them into the Malay cuisine.

Chicken Satay and Peanut Sauce
Chicken Satay is a Malay dish which has become very popular in many countries and has become increasingly popular in Dhaka. Satay is a dish of marinated, skewered and grilled meat which can be beef, chicken or mutton. It is usually served with a spicy peanut sauce.

Serves 4
600gm boneless chicken
30 sharpened bamboo sticks or skewers
For meat seasonings:
1 tsp fennel powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 cm galangal, ground into fine paste
1 stalk lemongrass, ground into fine paste
Salt and sugar to taste

Cut the meat into cubes of about ½ cm thick. Marinate it with all of the above ingredients and leave for 2 -3 hours. Skew about 6-7 pieces of meat on a stick. Start charcoal fire until red hot. Place the meat skewers and grill over the glowing charcoal. You can also use a non-stick pan and fry it in very little oil. Grill or fry until meat is cooked, fragrant and tender.

For peanut sauce:
300 gm roasted peanut, ground coarsely.
Ingredients A --
10 dried chillies, seedless and boiled.
1 stalk of lemongrass.
1 cm galangal.
15 shallots.
Ingredients B --
1 cup coconut milk (optional)
½ cup tamarind juice.
Salt and sugar to taste
Cooking oil

Blend or grind ingredients A into fine paste. Heat oil in a pot. Fry paste until fragrant.

Add ingredients B. Add ½ cup of water. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until the gravy is thick. Add sugar, salt, peanut and remove from heat. The sauce is ready to be served with the satay.

Nasi Minyak
The following recipe is called Nasi Minyak which is a savoury rice dish very similar to our pilaf rice or polau. Screw pine leaves are better known as pandan leaves. You can find them in Gulshan 1 market these days.

Serves 4
600 gm rice
700 ml water
130 g ghee oil
¾ tin evaporated milk
1 pc screw pine leaf
Salt to taste
Ingredients A --
2 large onion, blended to paste
3 garlic, blended to paste
3 cm ginger, blended to paste
2 cloves
3 cardamons
1 star anise
4 cm cinnamon stick
10 shallots, deep fried
20 g raisin, golden
20 g cashew nut, deep fried or roasted

Heat ghee in a large pot and put in the Screw Pine leaf, large onion and fry until golden brown. Put in ingredients A to be fried. Add in water, salt and evaporated milk and bring to boil. Add in the rice and mix well but do not break the rice grains. Cook as you would cook plain boiled rice. Garnish before serving.

Beef Rendang
Beef Rendang is probably one of the most popular Malay dishes worldwide. The ingredients are available in most places these days. Galangal, lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves are available in supermarkets like Agora and Meena Bazar. But if they don't have supply, try the Gulshan-1 market.

1½ pound boneless beef (cut into cubes)
5 tbsp cooking oil
1 cinnamon stick, about 2 inches long
3 cloves
3 star anise
3 cardamom pods
1 lemongrass, cut into 4-inch length and pounded
1 cup thick coconut milk
1 cup water
2 tsp tamarind pulp, soaked in some warm water for the juice and the seeds discarded
6 kaffir lime leaves (very finely sliced)
6 tbsp toasted coconut (to prepare the toasted coconut, just add the grated coconut to a dry wok and stir continuously until they turn golden brown)
1 tbsp sugar
Salt to taste
Spice paste:
5 shallots
1 inch galangal
3 lemongrass (white part only)
5 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger
10-12 dried chillies (soaked in warm water and seeded)

Chop the spice paste ingredients and then blend it in a food processor until fine. Heat the oil in a stew pot, add the spice paste, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, and cardamom and stir-fry them until aromatic. Add the beef and the pounded lemongrass and stir for 1 minute. Add the coconut milk, tamarind juice, water, and simmer on medium heat, stirring frequently until the meat is almost cooked. Add the kaffir lime leaves, toasted coconut, sugar, stirring to blend well with the meat. Lower the heat to low, cover the lid, and simmer for 1 1½ hours or until the meat is really tender and the gravy has dried up. Add salt to taste. If not sweet enough, add more sugar to taste. Serve immediately with steamed rice.

Ayam Masak Merah
Ayam Masak Merah is basically chicken in spicy tomato sauce. The chef says it is very popular in his restaurant. Although the ingredients are very similar to the regular curry, this dish has a very unique flavour. You can taste the subtle heat from the chillies, sweet and sour-ish taste from the tomato and the creaminess from coconut milk.

Serves 4
1000 g chicken cut into pieces
20 g turmeric powder
40 g ghee oil
4 cardamom pods
3 cinnamon sticks
2 cloves
2 star anise
40 g dry chilli, seedless, boiled and blended into paste
50 g ginger, blended into paste
40 g garlic, blended into paste
600 g onion, blended into paste
30 g tomato paste
40 g tomato ketchup
Sugar and salt to taste
20 gm green pea
10 g fried shallot

Marinate chicken with turmeric powder and deep fry till 2/3rd cooked, set aside.

Heat ghee oil, sauté spices and blend item till fragrant, add tomato paste and tomato ketchup. After a few minutes, mix in deep fried chicken and braise it till gravy becomes thick. Adjust seasoning. Garnish with green pea and fried shallot and serve with plain rice.


Spiritual hermitage

At times like this, when I have been sitting in front of the laptop for quite a while with my spine curved outwards and my neck extended forwards, I often wish for some magical touch to take away all that stiffness. I stretch and bend and get back to work, but it never seems enough. I bet I just painted an all too common scenario for many of you out there but today I come not only with complaints but also with a solution. Enter -- Ashram.

Ashram is a professional, holistic therapeutic chamber which aids in curing health issues of numerous types and intensities and promotes relaxation for anyone in need of it. This new establishment commenced its journey from 12 September, at 17/1, Shukrabad, West Panthapath. Offering 11 different types of therapies in her service list, Alisha Rahman, the sole resident therapist, opened this establishment to fill in a huge gaping hole in the health services sector of the city.

“In Bangladesh, the idea of massage as a therapy does not exist at all whereas it is a great substitute for medication and surgery in combating diseases such as heart problems, arthritis and many, many more,” states Alisha. “Here we have been taught to see massage as strictly a means of pleasure by the many beauty spas which are currently offering them, but very few of us actually know the clinical power of massage in aiding to cure diseases.” And hence to properly integrate massage and therapy she started Ashram, where she will work strictly on an appointment basis.

With Ashram, Alisha stands apart from the other similar establishments because of her greater knowledge in this field. A graduate in Clinical Massage Therapy from Clary Sage College, USA, Alisha worked at numerous massage clinics across USA and hence can truly differentiate between rubbing oil on your back and rubbing tension out of your muscular system.

“We had to learn about the whole human muscle structure as part of our major, that's why I know what to look for in my clients' bodies and where to focus.” Alisha explains, “I do understand that most people will not know what kind of therapy they need and because of that Ashram will be providing them with the required consultancy after checking up on their medical reports or based on their verbal complaints.”

Alisha's service list includes massages ranging in price from Tk 1200 to Tk 5000 for sessions of 30 minutes (for specific body parts), 1 hour (full body) and 1½ hours (full body with special focus on specific parts). There is the Swedish Massage, which is for basic relaxation and stress relief and is the starting point for your journey with Ashram if you are more into prevention than cure. From there you can move on to Deep Tissue Massage or massages more specific to your needs such as Sports Massage for sports injuries, Trigger Point massage for arthritis, Trauma Massage, Hot Stones therapy etc.

Ashram is more than just a business for Alisha. Her aim is to integrate the use of massage therapy in our culture and Ashram is one means of doing that. To extend our knowledge on this subject, Alisha maintains a website and a Facebook fan page, both of which provide you with information and articles about clinical massage therapy.

“As I see it, most people who are suffering from heart disease, strokes, chronic back pains, sports injuries, circulation problems etc., resort to medication and surgery without knowing what other form of alternative therapy is available for them. I have a wish to be able to help people with dealing with health issues through the holistic art of therapeutic massage, which can increase the body's natural healing process and cure or control diseases 75 to 85 percent.”

Everyone from new born babies, to pregnant mothers to stressed executives to hyperactive teenagers to aged individuals; everyone can reap the benefits of the knowledge and experience that Alisha has brought to our city in the form of Ashram. Ashram is what the name depicts; a spiritual hermitage, where you can hide away from the world and all its stresses and finally look after the greatest gift God has given you. Your health.

By Raisaa Tashnova
For more information visit www.ashrammassage.com or www.facebook.com/ashram.therapy.massage or call 01762173069.


Ena la Mode

Eid maybe out of season for the next two months but Ena la Mode is not yet ready to give up the festive garb. Check out discount offers at all their outlets. Gulshan branch: Pink City Shopping Complex (2nd Floor), Shop #9, 15 Gulshan Avenue, Road #103, Gulshan 2, Dhaka 1212. Uttara branch: House #4, Road #12, Sector #6, Uttara, Dhaka 1230. #028954954. www.enalamode.com


Bangladeshi cosmetologist sets new trend

Bipu Akhtar Samina, originally from Bangladesh, now runs a successful business on her own as a cosmetologist in the USA. On her recent visit to Dhaka, after more than a decade, she talked about her feelings and about her profession and its prospect in the country.

Explaining cosmetology, Samina said that it actually covers all aspects of cleanliness and beautification of the exterior of the body. While learning about cosmetology, one is trained in the skill of hair care, its maintenance, beautification, colouring, trimming etc., along with skin care, manicure, pedicure and more.

Completing her graduation from Bangladesh, she started studying cosmetology in the US, where she has now opened her own business about a year ago. Talking about the reason for choosing the subject, she said she always dreamt of becoming a cosmetologist because they are the ones who set new trends in the fashion industry and she felt a natural urge for the profession.

Having qualified as a cosmetologist, Samina started working as an assistant with different hair stylists in New York for a couple of years before opening her own salon in Florida in 2010.

Spread over an area of about 2000 sq feet, she has opened her salon at Pinellas Park, close to the heart of the city. Services offered from her beauty care centre mainly concentrate on hair styling and skin care, she said.

Bridal hair setting, hair cuts, hair colouring, hairdos, permanent straightening, hair perm, hair extensions, hair braiding and protein hair treatments are some of the facilities available at her outlet.

For skin care, they offer manicures, pedicures, cosmetic skin treatment including waxing, threading, eye lash and eye brow tinting, permanent make up, bridal make up, facials etc.

Samina generally makes use of herbal products as well as medicated products for different kinds of hair problems besides she also suggests that clients take Vitamin E capsules whenever required.

To get acquainted with the latest trends in the business she participates in the hair show held every year in Orlando. Hair stylists, aestheticians, manicurists; everyone involved with the fashion industry participates in the programme which showcases the new technological advancements, trends and products in the fashion world.

Participating in such shows is very important to keep track of where the business is heading, she said adding that these also help people innovate their own style and present it before the market.

The business of hair and beauty care is very sensitive in the US she said, adding that special attention always needs to be given on health and hygiene of the clients as well as the work stations of the salon. Officials visit salons to find out the health and hygiene status of the shop, with irregularities resulting in fines or even license cancellation.

Asked whether she intends to open one such facility in Bangladesh, Samina said it's too early to think about it.

By Z A M Khairuzzaman
Samina may be contacted at cosmetologistsamina@gmail.com


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