Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   |  Volume 7, Issue 27, Tuesday, July 03, 2012




Shab-e-Barat delights

By Asma Aziz

Shab-e-Barat, the blessed night of 15th of Sha'aban, the eighth month of the Hijri calendar, will be observed in just a few days from now. Muslims in this part of the world, particularly in the Subcontinent, believe that during this night Allah (SWT) takes decisions in the matters of sustenance, life, death and welfare of the people for the next one year. In the belief that destiny is divinely determined on this blessed night, an aura of spirituality and a festive mood intermingle.

Traditionally, Muslim families of this region not only devote themselves in seeking forgiveness and divine blessings through night-long prayers and recitation of the Holy Quran but also prepare various sumptuous dishes, which they distribute to orphans, the destitute and also share with friends, family and neighbours.

The Holy month of Ramadan follows in two weeks and the two other great Muslim festivals of Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha come soon thereafter. So while Shab-e-Barat is a solemn occasion for the reaffirmation of one's faith, it is also a harbinger of spirituality and festivity.

The following are some simple recipes that can be made and enjoyed on Shab-e-Barat.

Pineapple halwa
(Serves 4)
Per serving: 95 calories, 1.3g fat
1¼ cups pineapple, thickly grated
1 cup low fat milk
2 tbsp sugar
1tsp ghee
Saffron (a few strands; dissolved in 1tbsp low-fat milk)
Almonds, chopped (for garnish)

Heat the ghee in a non-stick pan, add the pineapple and sugar and cook for 8 to 10 minutes on a low flame, stirring continuously. Add milk and mix well. Simmer till the milk evaporates and the mixture thickens. Stir in the saffron and milk mixture. Remove from flame. Garnish with chopped almonds and saffron.

Carrot and beetroot halwa
(Serves 4)
Per serving: 71 calories, 1.4g fat
¾ cup bottle gourd (lau), grated
¾ cup carrot, (grated)
¾ cup beetroot, grated
2 cups low fat milk
½ tbsp sugar substitute
¼ tsp cardamom powder
1 tsp ghee
1 tsp almonds, chopped, (for garnish)

Heat the ghee in a non-stick pan, add the bottle gourd, carrots and beetroot and cook for 5 to 7 minutes on a low flame, stirring continuously, till the vegetables are half-cooked. Sprinkle some water if required. Add the milk and the sugar substitute and bring to a boil.

Simmer for 10 to 12 minutes on a low flame, stirring a few times. Add the cardamom powder and stir for another 5 to 7 minutes till the moisture has evaporated. Garnished with almonds.

(Serves 12)
2 cups plain flour
¼ cup ghee (melted)
½ tsp salt
Oil (for deep frying)
½ cup Moong dal (soaked for 4 hours)
1 tsp cumin
¼ tsp asafetida (hing)
1 tsp ginger and green chili paste
1tsp red chili powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp dried mango power (amchur)
2 tbsp Bengal gram flour (besan)
3 tbsp oil
Salt (to taste)

Combine flour, ghee and salt with sufficient water to knead into a semi-soft dough. Knead very well for 5 to 7 minutes. Divide the dough into 12 equal parts and keep covered under a light wet cloth.

Drain the soaked moog dal. Heat 3 tbsp oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds and asafetida. When the seeds start to crackle, add the drained moog dal and sauté for a few seconds. Add the ginger and green chilli paste, chilli powder, garam masala, amchur powder, gram flour and salt, and stir for 5 to 7 minutes till the spices are cooked.

Cool and divide into 12 equal portions. Shape each portion into rounds and keep aside. Roll out each portion of the dough into 2 inch diameter circles. Place one portion of the filling mixture in the centre of each rolled dough circle.

Warp the dough around the filling mixture and seal tightly. Roll each filled portion into a 2½ inch diameter circle, taking care to ensure that the filling does not spill out. Deep fry the kachoris in hot oil over a low flame till golden brown on both sides. The kachoris should puff up like puris. These can take a long time to fry as the crust is thick.

Kachori can be stored in air-tight containers for up to a week. When needed, warm up the kachoris in an oven (on low heat) for about 7 to 10 minutes.

Food prepared by Md Billal Hossain.
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed


Making bread

By Abdullah tareq
Head Chef Cilantro

The Shab-e-Barat is believed to be the night of records, the night of assignment and the night of deliverance, and the observance involves a festive nightlong vigil with prayers. Traditionally neighbours send each other sweets and bread. So we look at a few easy bread recipes you can bake this Shab-e-Barat to fulfill your religious, social duty.

Savoury onion bread
1½ cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp margarine or butter
½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese
½ cup finely diced onion
1 tbsp margarine
1 egg
½ cup milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Grease one 8 inch round or one 8x8 inch square pan. Combine flour, baking powder and salt, cut in 2 tablespoons of the butter until mixture is crumbly. Stir in ½ cup of the grated cheese. Make a well in the center of the mixture.

Fry the onion in 1 tablespoon of the butter or margarine until clear and golden. Set aside. In a small bowl beat the egg and stir in the milk and the cooked onion. Pour egg mixture into the well in the flour mixture. Stir until just moistened. You will have a soft dough. Pat dough into the prepared pan. Sprinkle remaining ½ cup grated cheese over top.

Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 25 minutes. Serve hot. Makes about 6 servings.

This is like a stuffed roll. It's very simple and you can use peperoni, salami or even roast beef. These meat products are all locally made these days by Bengal Meat and you can find them in super stores like Agora, Meena Bazar, Dhali, etc.

1 batch white bread dough
6 tbsp good-quality tomato sauce
3 thin beef peperoni slices, torn
100g ball mozzarella, grated
Dried basil leaf
1 egg , beaten
For bread dough:
500g white flour, plus extra for dusting
7g dried yeast
1 tsp salt
Up to 350ml lukewarm water
A little sunflower oil, for greasing

Make the dough by tipping flour, yeast and salt into a large bowl; make a well in the middle. Pour in most of the water and use your fingers or a wooden spoon to mix the flour and water together until combined to a slightly wet, pillowy, workable dough -- add a splash more water if necessary. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for at least 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. This can also be done in a tabletop mixer with a dough hook. Place the dough in a clean oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise until doubled in size.

Knock back the dough by tipping it back onto a floured surface and pushing the air out.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a rough rectangle about 40 x 25 cm. Spread the sauce over the dough, leaving a small border, and scatter over the ham, mozzarella and basil. Tuck the short sides in and roll up the long side like a Swiss roll. Lift onto a tray, seal-side down, and brush with the egg. Bake for 30 minutes until puffed up and golden -- don't worry if there are a few cracks. Leave to cool slightly and then serve sliced.

Cheesy garlic bread
500g strong white bread flour
7g sachet/1.5 tsp dried yeast
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp clear honey
2 garlic cloves, crushed
25g soft butter
100g Cheddar, grated
Dried thyme

Measure the flour, yeast and salt into a large bowl. Mix 300ml hand-hot water with the oil and honey in a jug, then pour into the dry mix, stirring all the time to make a soft dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, then knead for 5 minutes until the dough no longer feels sticky, sprinkling with a little more flour as you need it. Now stretch it to fit the Swiss roll tin.

Mix the garlic with the butter, then dot over the dough. Sprinkle over the cheese and snip over the thyme. Cover the bread with lightly oiled cling film; leave in a warm place to rise for 40 minutes.

Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Remove the cling film, then bake the bread for 30 minutes until golden and risen. Leave to cool for 10 minutes, then cut into 12 pieces and serve.

325g plain flour
200g chilled salted butter
125g/4½oz golden caster sugar
2 tsp good-quality vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks

Tip the flour into a food processor. Cut the butter into small pieces and drop them into the bowl, then whizz until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. If you haven't got a processor, rub the butter into the flour in a large bowl, then add the remaining ingredients and mix to a dough with your hands.

Add the sugar, vanilla and egg yolks and whizz or knead to a small dough.

Using your hands, roughly spread the mixture out in a 20 x 30 x 4 cm baking tray. Cover with cling film and smooth over until there are no wrinkles. Place in the fridge, uncooked, for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days.

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Remove cling film, then lightly mark the shortbread all over with a fork. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar, then bake for 20-25 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin and cut into 24 thin slices. Shortbread will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed


As part of Star Lifestyle's expansion to a 20-page publication, we have re-introduced our shopping column, Shoptalk, in a new guise. It will now focus on highlighting specific products and to this effect businesspersons, retailers and product manufacturers are requested to send products and product information (except clothes)that they would like to promote. All product suggestions should be emailed to lifestyleds@yahoo.com or raffat@thedailystar.net.

The bread spread
With Shab-e-Barat just around the corner, this week Shop Talk highlights all this flour to make your Halwa and curries a sure hit for the taste buds.

Chapati charm
Steaming chapati has a certain charm about them. They make for a delectable and filling breakfast. However, at home its best to make your own instead of going shopping as chapati is best eaten hot. 'Pure' is the brand of flour most preferred and at Tk75, they are a steal. But there are variations for rotis.

Normal roti, cheese roti or rumali roti at BBQ tonight or elsewhere adds something more to your meal. Priced between Tk.5 to 15, these are available at restaurants serving Indian Cuisine.


Bread banter
Now that most superstores and chain shops have their own line of bread, the options are higher than ever. There are variations too. Breads with candied vegetables are popular but the new kid on the block is the chocolate bread. Available at California Fried Chicken's bakery, these Chocolate Breads are normal breads lined and sprinkled with chocolate spread. Now even dessert is self prepared. Priced at Tk.80 onwards, indulge in this chocolaty goodness.

Little luchis and lacy rotis

Not exactly a bread kind of bread, luchis and chhit rotis are still pretty popular. We as a people love luchis be they with curry, halwa or just plain old achaar, and chhit rotis with beef curry are also a favourite.

Need for naan
Naans are also a firm favourite. Be that with halwa or a steaming plate of nehari, you can't go wrong with naan. A bit on the heavy side, most local restaurants begin naan preparations from 7 in the morning till 11 a.m. Early batches are the best, since you get them while they are still hot. Here too, variations are available in the forms of Cheese naan or Masala naan.

Santoor has quite the selection priced between Tk.20 and onwards.

Loaf-ly day
These delicious, layered and fluffy goodies can be their own standalone items when entertaining guests. Loaves are available at Du Mi Ok with thick fillings of butter and jam running all the way through along with the appropriately named Angel bread, the perfect sliced companions to an evening cup of tea. Also worth a mention are the dinner rolls at the Korean bakery.

Path to paratha
Paratas are filling. Cooked in oil, paratas appeal to the more classy taste buds, those for whom just rotis are too mundane. Widely available for as less as Tk.5 a piece, most advise paratas cooked at home, using the healthier and cleaner options of cooking oil. For those with little time, go for the frozen Parata options. There's even Aloo parata!


And there's more
Danish, Aloo puri, Daal puri and the list is endless. For a bit extra, head off to Swiss and get your hands on their delicious chicken bun. That's also a treat. With an endless array to choose from, stop sweating over the options and start preparing. Its food season, folks!

Products available at Baker's Bay,
Du Mi Ok, Cooper's, King's,
Muslim Bakery and Yusuf Bakery.

-- LS Desk




Way to Fame

Facebook has now become an inseparable part of all of our lives. It has become everything its creator wanted it to be, a medium to live life online. True to this definition recently facebook has even added shopping to its list of activities. The number of online brands on facebook has steadily grown over the last year.

Oh how many hours we have spent blissfully window shopping from the comfort of our own homes? How many minutes have been spent clicking to see the next picture of the next bag, clothes or shoes in the vast collections of the facebook online brands? And haven't there been many moments when you fell in love with this one item but could not get it because you are not comfortable with the idea of buying items online without first physically touching, probing and examining it?

Keeping all that in mind, 'Way to Fame', like a true and proper marketer, has taken the steps to provide what the customer desires; a physical platform where you will get all your facebook brands in one place.

Way to Fame is a first of its kind. Every Friday it organises a fair of the most popular facebook brands spreading out their gears just for you. You can touch those coveted materials, hold those dresses against you to see if it brings out your eyes and check if it will be too hot to wear in our climate. Apart from the wide array of unique clothing, jewellery, cosmetics and accessories collections the fair has another great seller. An amazing environment!

Teeming with youthful energy and sophisticated, polished individuals relaying the good features of the products from behind the counters, the fair is a good mother-daughter, friends or couples'-day-out place. There's food and music and also great games to compete over. All in all it's an amazing initiative.

Way to Fame is a must visit if you want to have a unique kameez in your wardrobe or replenish your cosmetics cupboard without worrying about counterfeit products. And most importantly, they allow bargaining!

The next two editions of this fair are Eid-centric. Your favourite facebook brands are all prepared to astonish you with their Eid collections and if you want to cut down on those exhausting pre-Eid, dress shopping trips without the fear of losing out on the best possible Eid dress, be sure to check out the next two Way to Fame events.

Event dates: Friday, 13 July and Friday, 27 July
Venue: Renaissance (1st Floor), House 33, Road 4, Dhanmondi.

By Raisaa Tashnova


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