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A TRUE TASTE OF ASIA

A true taste of Asia

By Tommy Miah

Kerala sour fish curry with tamarind
Ingredients:
500g/1lb 2oz betki fish, cut into 12 pieces
½ tsp ground turmeric, plus extra for marinating
½ tsp salt
½ tsp fenugreek seeds
2 tbsp red chilli paste
400ml/14fl oz water
2 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
10-12 curry leaves
2 medium onions, grated
1 tbsp finely sliced garlic
1 tsp tamarind paste
Cooked basmati rice, to serve

Method:
Rinse the fish, pat dry and rub in a little turmeric and some of the salt. Set aside to marinate.

Dry-fry the fenugreek seeds for a few seconds in a small frying pan. Be careful not to over-roast the seeds (as this will make them bitter), then grind them using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.

Mix the fenugreek, chilli paste and half a teaspoon of turmeric together with 50ml/2fl oz of water, forming a paste.

Heat the oil in a deep, heavy-based frying pan. Add the mustard seeds, when they start popping after a few seconds.

(Caution: keep the pan well away from your face and eyes), add the curry leaves, onions and garlic and fry for 3-4 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.

Add the remaining salt and the fenugreek paste and fry for a further 3-4 minutes. Add the remaining water and bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the tamarind, and simmer for a further 10 minutes, or until the mixture thickens a little. Add the fish and simmer gently for another 10 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through.

Aromatic beef
Ingredients:
Ghee or vegetable oil as required
400g/14oz beef braising steak, diced into 3cm chunks
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp chilli powder
½ tsp ground ginger
3 cloves
3 cardamom pods
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ x 400g/14oz can chopped tomatoes
125g/4½oz natural yoghurt
1 tbsp vinegar
Salt
Pinch of sugar
Fresh coriander

Method:
Heat a lidded frying pan over medium heat and add the ghee or oil. Fry the meat until lightly browned on all sides, then remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, cover and set aside.

Add the onion and garlic to the pan and fry over a low heat until soft. Turn the heat up slightly, add the spices and fry for 1 minute, they should start to smell aromatic, without burning.

Return the beef to the pan, add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the yoghurt and vinegar, then season to taste with the salt and the sugar.

Return the pan to the heat, bring back to the boil and simmer, covered, for 1½ hours, or until the meat is tender.

Add coriander to finish.

Tandoori quail
Ingredients:
½ cup plain non-fat or low-fat yoghurt
¼ cup minced fresh ginger
2 tbsp minced garlic
4 tsp tandoori masala
About ½ tsp salt
6 quail (about 1/4 lb. each)

Method:
In a large bowl, mix the yoghurt, ginger, garlic, tandoori masala, and ½ teaspoon salt.

Rinse quail and pat dry. Using poultry shears or a sharp knife, cut out the backbone of each quail. Turn birds skin side up and press with the palm of your hand to flatten; a few bones will crack.

Turn birds in yoghurt mixture to coat. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day.

To barbecue, place quail on an oiled grill over medium-hot coals or over medium-high heat on a gas grill (you can hold your hand at grill level only 3 to 4 seconds). Close lid of gas grill. Cook quail, turning as needed, until skin is well browned and meat at breastbone is still pink (cut to test), 12 to 14 minutes total.

Mango shemai with cheesecake
Ingredients:
For the mango shemai --
570ml/1 pint full-fat milk
4 tbsp caster sugar
110g/4oz fine dried vermicelli
275ml/10fl oz canned mango pulp
275ml/10fl oz double cream, lightly whipped
For the cheesecake --
200g/7oz digestive biscuits, crushed
75g/3oz butter, melted
75g/3oz cream cheese
150ml/5fl oz double cream
50g/2oz icing sugar
Fresh or tinned mandarin segments, to decorate
Flaked chocolate, to decorate

Method:
For the mango shemai, heat the milk and sugar together in a saucepan over medium heat until almost boiling. Reduce the heat to low, stir in the vermicelli and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir constantly as it cools.

When cool, stir in the mango pulp, then gently fold in the whipped cream until completely combined. Spoon into small individual serving bowls and chill until ready to serve.

For the cheesecake, in a bowl mix together the crushed digestive biscuits and butter. Tip them onto a serving plate and pat down into a firm round to make the base.

In a clean bowl, lightly beat the cream cheese to soften, then fold in the double cream. Sift the icing sugar into the mixture and stir gently to combine. Pour on top of the biscuit base and spread out evenly. Decorate with mandarin segments and flaked chocolate. Serve the shemai with the cheesecake.


EVENTS

Bangladesh International Tourism Fair 2011

To strengthen the tourism industry in Bangladesh, a three-day long Bangladesh International Tourism Fair 2011 will be held for the first time in Dhaka.

Bangladesh Foundation for Tourism Development in cooperation with Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation is organising the fair at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre from 20 October, 2011.

Two hundred and fifty tourism stalls from 20 countries will participate at the fair. Introducing Bangladeshi tourism to the rest of the world and to attract international tourists to Bangladesh is the goal of this fair.

H M Hakim Ali, Chairman of the convening committee of this fair, said, "Attracting international tourists to and spread the idea of tourism in Bangladesh are the goals of this fair."

Tour operators from Europe, America, Middle-East, South Africa and many countries from the African continent have been invited at this fair. These tour operators will visit destinations within the country and local resorts to get a first hand experience of the sector in Bangladesh.

Director of the committee, Rezaul Ikram Raju said, "The fair will feature cultural programmes, a seminar a day, screening documentaries on the development of tourism industries, exhibition of world cuisines, raffle draw and special tour packages and air tickets."

The seminars will start at 3:30 pm every day. Topics include "Wonder of Bangladesh, yet unknown to the world," "Role of Media in Tourism Development" and "Regional Tourism Development in context to neighbour countries."

The fair will remain open from 9:00 am to 10:00pm everyday.

By Mahtabi Zaman


The orchid jungle

A two-day orchid show was held on 7 October and 8 October, from 9am to 6pm. The show was organised by the Orchid Society of Bangladesh.

Last weekend was a busy yet soothing one at House CEN-C-2, Road # 95, Gulshan. This is the residence of Naseem Iqbal, the president of Orchid Society of Bangladesh, where the show takes place every year.

Orchid lovers, both members of the society as well as the general public, flocked to her place to attend the show which featured orchids of a wide variety.

They have both local and hybrid orchids. Many hail from countries like Thailand and Malaysia. Some of the orchids the society members boast include dendrobium, vanda, ascocenda, cattleya, doritis, mokara and oncidium.

This was the twenty-first orchid show of the orchid club. The society, founded in 1989, holds this annual event every year on September or October. The society, which comprises of about twenty-five members, is a collection of orchid lovers. “We meet on the last Saturday of every month. Together, we pool our knowledge, discuss any problems our orchids face and cultivate the experience and expertise of growing orchids,” Iqbal says. The pleasure of gardening cannot be overrated. “The rise of apartments has left people with no front yard or a big terrace where they can engage in activities like gardening. Also, for many it's difficult to squeeze in time amid their busy schedules. Growing orchids is a smart alternative. They are very beautiful and can give the pleasure of gardening, but neither do they require a lot of space nor do they seek a hefty amount of your time. It's very convenient,” Iqbal further said.

By M H Haider

   
 

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