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Iftar ideas

By Asma Aziz

The blessed month of Ramadan is a time devoted to the exercise of restraint and discipline. The faithful abstain from food and drinks from dawn to dusk. At the call of Maghreb prayers, they break their daylong fast -- iftar. As the first meal after fasting the entire day, the iftar menu needs to be balanced as well as enjoyable. An ideal iftar should quickly replenish the body's fluids, provide the day's required nutrients, be easy to digest, and of course, be very tasty.

While it is common for iftar to include all kinds of hearty dishes, it is important to avoid overindulgence in these. The month gives us an opportunity to detoxify our bodies, and along with some of the heavier dishes that may be eaten in moderation, healthier options including plenty of fruits should also be a central part of a balanced iftar menu.

Cucumber cooler
4 cucumbers (peeled, seeded, cut into small pieces)
¼ cup water
½ cup fresh mint leaves
1 lime (thinly sliced)
3 tbsp Honey
1 litre club soda

Puree cucumbers with water in a blender. Sieve the puree into a large bowl. Mash fresh mint leaves until bruised. Combine all ingredients in a jug and stir well. Serve with ice and garnish with cucumber slices.

Rice and cabbage pancake
2 cups rice (cooked)
1/3 cup carrot (grated)
1/3 cup spring onion (chopped)
1/3 cup cabbage (shredded)
¼ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup besan
½ tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp asafoetida (hing)
2 green chillies (finely chopped)
2 tbsp Fresh coriander (chopped)
2 tbsp low fat yoghurt
5 tsp oil (to cook)
Salt to taste

Combine all the ingredients except the oil in a bowl. Add enough water to make a soft dough. Divide the dough into 10 equal portions. Using wet hands press each portion of the dough to form circles (4 inches in diameter). Grease a non-stick pan using a little oil and cook both sides of each pancake till golden brown.

Hyderabadi haleem
1 kg lamb (boneless)
3 cups crushed wheat
1 cup mixed lentils (uraddaal, chanadaal)
4 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tbsp red chilli powder
½ tsp turmeric power
1 tsp garam masala powder
½ tsp pepper corns
Whole spices (1 large cinnamon stick, 3 cloves, 3 cardamom pods)
1 cup fresh coriander
¼ cup fresh mint
6 green chillies
1 cup fried onions (bereshta)
½ cup cashew nuts
1½ cups yoghurt
2 tbsp oil
½ cup ghee
Salt to taste

Wash the crushed wheat and soak for at least half an hour. Trim any excess fat off the lamb, cut into very small pieces and wash well. Mix the lamb with 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste, red chilli powder, garam masala, ¼ teaspoon turmeric, and salt. Pressure-cook the lamb on high for 8 to 10 minutes and simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes. Boil the crushed wheat along with the mixed lentils, 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste, ¼ teaspoon turmeric, 3 green chillies and pepper corns in 8-10 cups of water until it is cooked completely and the water is almost absorbed.

Blend the wheat and lentil mixture for a few seconds. Heat oil, add the whole spices, cooked lamb, 3 green chillies, and ½ cup fresh coriander. Fry for 1 or 2 minutes. Add yoghurt and cook on low heat until oil settles on top, stirring occasionally.

Add 3 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Add ghee and the wheat and lentil mixture. Simmer on low heat for at least half an hour, stirring occasionally. Garnish with fried onions, cashew nuts, fresh coriander and mint

Fruit salad
½ pineapple (medium size)
1 mango (medium size)
1 papaya (medium size)
1 orange (medium size)
½ cup raisins
¼ cup low fat mayonnaise
¼ cup low fat yoghurt
1 tbsp orange juice
2 tbsp sugar

Peel and cut pineapple, mango and papaya into small pieces. Peel and section the orange. Combine all the fruit in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix all remaining ingredients until well blended. Add to fruit mixture and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate till chilled.


RAMADAN temptations around town

Each iftar meal that we have with friends and family brings us a step closer to the much awaited Eid-ul-Fitr. To make iftars even more enjoyable each year Khazana brings its special iftar with new additions to the menu and this year is no exception.

The master chefs at Khazana have taken extra effort to acquire the right ingredients for the dishes to be cooked. This year's new additions include Shahi Haleem (Mutton & Chicken), Gosht Dum Biryani, Lazeez Murgh Kabab, Paw Bhaji and Kesaria Phirnee.

This time around the buffet Iftar dinner will be available throughout the month at the reasonable price of Tk.999++ per person.

A few items that you will find in the Ramadan specials are assorted Kebabs, Chicken Kathi Rolls, Dahi Barra, Chana Chat Pata and Matka Lassi and more.

This year Khazana is introducing a special zipped pack “Lacha Shemai” for their valued customers. A Master Halwai Chef from India has come over for the month of Ramadan to thrill you with his sweet delicacies. Some of the sweet specialties include Canned Sweets, Son Papri, Gulab Jamun, Rasmalai, Motichur Laddu, Kaju Barfi, Lemon Sandesh, Raj Bhog among others.

For reservations and more information please contact: 028826127, 02882196 and 01711476379.

Nando's: New waters and new endeavours
Nando's has launched yet another outlet! Even more interestingly, it is located in Gulshan-2. Well, it just shows how zealous Nando's is about “Painting the Town Peri Peri”, a vision where it hopes to “Perify” the town with their outlets and their presence in the hearts of people. The restaurant is located in Road # 61, Gulshan Avenue, Gulshan 2, opposite the Australian High Commission.

Nando's has come up with three different iftar meals this Ramadan. And there is a clear and interesting segmentation: The Hungry, The Very Hungry and the Very Very Hungry. The Ramadan offerings are available at all outlets. Also, Nando's will bring underprivileged children to their restaurants and treat them to delicious Peri Peri Chicken during Ramadan. You can also donate a Quarter Chicken Meal, and Nando's will match your donation.

Nando's has also come up with a very exciting platter for takeaways -- a meal for four. The hearty meal for four has a full chicken as the core meal. And, surrounding the main course, there are portions of almost every item Nando's has to offer.

Radisson's Ramadan & Eid celebrations
A hearty Arabian Iftar at Water Garden Brasserie is something to look forward to. Complete with Arabian theme, including Arabian music running in the background and a team of waiters wearing Middle-Eastern clothes, the Iftar-cum-dinner experience at this extravagant restaurant is definitely worth it.

The long buffet line consists of authentic dishes of the Middle-East and also traditional items we get in our locality. Seafood, hummus, steak and a dish consisting of a giant lamb roast that sits in the centre surrounded by biriyani in a platter half your size will surely make your mouth water. The buffet menu is changed regularly.

The price tag for this buffet is Tk. 2055++. You can make reservations for up to 15 people.

Spice & Rice, another Radisson restaurant will be serving the existing ala-carte menu for dinner only. Here too, you can make reservations for up to 15 people.

If you want to invite more people though, there is another offer for you: priced at Tk.1399++, the buffet menu contains traditional food from the sub-continent as well as a number of cuisines from all over the world. Mainly targeted at businesspeople seeking to break fast with employees, associates or partners, this lavish meal has been arranged at Mallika, Mahua and Madhabi, 3 exclusive halls of the hotel.

Haleem (Tk. 650 ++ per kg) and jilapi (Tk. 500 ++ per kg) are available for takeaways.

Radisson also offers the Special Iftar & Eid Room Package, priced at Tk.12999 (inclusive of all taxes) per night. This package offers a night's stay for 2 people, iftar at Mahua, and sehri in your room (check-in time: 4:00pm; check-out time: 12:00 pm on Day 2). The offer will be valid till 20 August.

Finally, you might want to grab some of the special Eid Hampers that contain special delicacies and gift items, priced at Tk. 4099 ++, Tk. 2999 ++ and Tk. 1999 ++.

For reservations or more information, call 02 8754555, Ext: 6029.

Platinum Suites brings 'Old Dhaka' Iftar
For those who always wanted to taste the famous Old Dhaka iftar but never got the time to travel that far on busy Ramadan days, Platinum Suites brings “Old Dhaka Iftar and dinner buffet”. Check out the many different tastes of Old Dhaka food, prepared by the chefs of Platinum Suites, and enjoy iftar with friends and family throughout Ramadan at Banani 11.

By Karishma Ameen and M H Haider
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Food: Raddison and Khazana


The time between May and August make up the fruit season of Bangladesh. This is that time of the year when all kinds of fruits are available in abundance all over the country. Now, that the season is drawing to a close, this week Shoptalk pays homage to the sweetness that ran rampant for the past month and recommends one last helping of these goodies for all.

It is the king of fruits, it is our favourite but it is here for a short while. And this year the mango season coincides with Ramadan! Mangoes are packed with nutrients and are full of fibre to help with digestion. One mango provides an entire day's supply of Vitamin C other than several vitamin Bs, calcium and magnesium.

A bit on the pricey side this season but make sure to try out the famous Lengra and Himshagor versions, one last time, this year.

These were called “Fruit of the Angels" by Chrishtopher Columbus. It is a great aid to digestion. It cools the stomach with its tonic effects on the stomach and the intestine. Papayas can prevent nausea and lower cholesterol with its fibre content. Twisting some lemon onto the fruit just adds to the flavour!

Just squeeze it over your food and you will have skin care, cancer care, digestion care, respiratory care and dental care all in one place. You will also be purifying your blood! Not to forget the traditional must-have 'lebur shorbot'; have a cup of this everyday.


Any thing green is good. Amras are no exception. They are extremely cheap and are usually sold at traffic signals and fruit stalls. Grab a few of these and serve them at the table as juice or just sliced and you will be serving a lot of vitamin C and solutions to cough, dysentery and diarrhoea.

Drink the water out of the shell, which is where the fun lies; it will give you the feeling of relaxing on a beach. Other than that it will detoxify you after a long day of fasting, boost your immune system and cleanse your digestive tract. All in all it is a healthy substitute to the artificial fruit juices and beverages.

These tasty and tangy fruits provide you with rich vitamins and minerals at the end of the day. One cup of these and you will have consumed 73 percent of the daily recommended portion of manganese. Pinapples also help suppress coughs.

Slice a huge piece of these big round fruits and gnaw away at the red flesh! You will be storing up on vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and electrolytes which will be lost through perspiration in the summer heat throughout the day.

They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Apple contributes a lot in prevention of cancer of colon, liver, lung and breast. Plus, with its load of fibre it helps in digestion and keeps you full so you will not overeat at the iftar table. Also, apple juice helps in asthma control.

Products available at most street vendors.
Food carvings is done by Md Billal Hossain; reach him at carving.billal@yahoo.com or call #0181 367 8437.


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