|Home | Issues | The Daily Star Home | Volume 6, Issue 46, Tuesday, November 29, 2011|
By Shawkat Osman
Seasons form the natural backdrop for eating. Changes in growing conditions from winter to summer or rainy to dry seasons are essential for balancing the earth's resources and its life forms. To enjoy the full nourishment of food, you must make your menu a seasonal one.
In the cooler season, turn to exclusively warming foods and seasonings like cilantro, ginger, capsicums, mustard seeds, carrot, sweet potato, onions, and garlic. All foods from the animal kingdom fall into the 'warm' category including fish, chicken, beef, and lamb. Eggs also fit in here, as do beans and nuts.
Pea shoots stir-fry
Nutrition Facts: Per 100g pea shoot (motorsak). Energy: 19 kcal.
Bitter gourd stir-fry
NOTE: By varying the amount of cooking done to the onions, you can vary the taste of this dish from a mild flavoured one to a robust one. By all means avoid over cooking the gourd.
Sautéed neem leaves
Neem's traditional use is based on its detoxifying benefits that help maintain healthy circulatory, digestive, respiratory, and urinary systems. Neem is one of the most powerful blood purifiers and detoxifiers in Ayurvedic medical usage today.
TIP: Dry fry the neem leaves, crumple them between your palms, and sprinkle them over any vegetable item, like fried aubergine; you get an instant bitter (teeta) dish.
Malarial prevention. Drinking neem teas or chewing a couple of leaves every day reduces the possibility of contracting malaria. For malarial treatment boil 30g of neem leaves in 3 litres of water for 20 minutes and take one glass of this leaf extract three times a day for one week. Kerosene lamps containing 0.01-1% of neem oil, also reduce mosquito-biting activity.
Next stir in the following: sak, cabbage and lentils (daal). Mix up, sprinkle with salt, mix again and cook until the lentils (daal) are al dente. Heat the ghee in a saucepan, toss in the garlic, sauté until the edges starts to brown, pour the ghee along with the garlic on the sak, stir to mix.
Amaranth leaves stir-fry
NOTE: Data sak does not require much cooking. You can use very tender raw data leaves in salad. Nutrition facts: Per 100g of Data Sak, raw (34 kcal)
"Recipes from the Ranna Ghor": Shawkat Osman launches latest book
A chilly night at Dhaka Club set up the almost perfect premise for the launch of Shawkat Osman's latest book, 'Recipes from the Ranna Ghor'. This third book follows on the footsteps of the previous two successes titled 'Recipes from the Raj' and 'Recipes from the Rasoi'. The celebrity gourmet chef, whose television shows, unique recipes and larger than life personality have made him a household name, expressed his satisfaction at being able to add yet another feather to his cap by the launch of this book.
Recipes from the Ranna Ghor brings to exposure the more deshi cuisine. This book is dominated by tantalising variations of original fish-based recipes. Osman adds different dimensions to each of the recipes and makes them more appetising than they originally were. Hasanat Abdul Hye, one of the members of the panel of discussants labelled the book 'Sahwkat's Piece de Resistance', expressing how it was 'so rich in content that it could easily hold a candle to the best recipe books in the world'.
As a trademark of all his books, Osman brings more than just recipes. Every recipe and sometimes even individual ingredients are preceded by historical background of the cuisine or ingredient in discussion. Nutritional information is also provided, along with guidelines, making the procedures even easier to follow. Hye concluded by stating that the book was indeed a 'book of art'.
Professor Sonia N. Amin also expressed her appreciation for the new book. She mentioned the 'beautiful cover' and highlighted how the book managed to 'celebrate the spirit of cooking'. She also praised the young photographer, Rukhsara Osman, whose brilliant work with the camera made the dishes look even more enticing.
Professor Fakhrul Alam prudently thanked Dhaka Club and its members for coming up with the funds required for the publication of the book, promising that the book will bring about 'an evolution of Bangladeshi Gastronomy'. However, the book's cons were also mentioned, namely how the book could have been better edited and the presence of a Glossary, Index and Bibilography would serve the purpose much better.
Finally, Osman took the stage and enthralled the audience by sharing his numerous anecdotes and stories, reminiscing about his personal revolution and digressing to demand respect for the etiquettes of the club. His magnetism was evident as he took to the mic, with everyone in his presence paying rapt attention to every word.
The Panel of discussants consisted of Hasanat Abdul Hye, Professor Sonia N. Amin, Professor Syed Manzoorul Islam and Professor Fakhrul Alam. And all these legends in their own worlds added much more weight to Shawkat Osman's newest book.
By Osama Rahman
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