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To every loving mother, there is no better arm candy than her baby dressed in those oh-so-adorable little outfits. Located in Banani is a store specifically dedicated to cater to the needs of these mothers. 'Happy Octopus' has been in business for nearly two years now. They keep a large collection of goods such as toys, clothing, shoes and other accessories for both girls and boys from the age group of six months to 10 years. Their product line is extensive to say the least.

The staff here are superb too. They always greet you with a smile and ask if you need help looking for something. They don't mind the children playing with the displayed products and never press you to buy things.

As per the saying that good things come in small packages, this store is relatively small in size but has excellent stock. They carry unique merchandise for newborns, toddlers, and older children but unfortunately they come in limited quantities and the choice of sizes available is limited. Even then, this is a place people would definitely visit when in need of birthday gifts for kids. Because the shelves are organised, you can check out the wares in accordance to what you need and save time otherwise wasted in rummaging.

A shopping paradise for mothers looking for formals or casuals or semi-formals for their little ones. Happy Octopus has a beautiful collection where clothes are concerned. Small dresses in every colour imaginable made out of satin can be seen in the store. These dresses come in A-line cuts, princess cuts and even fluffy Cinderella fashions. But they are also a bit pricey. A dress or suit will set you back about Tk.4000-6000, which is a bit too much if you consider how fast the kids are going to outgrow those clothes.

Also, polo shirts, jeans and skirts for both girls and boys are available here but they are quite expensive as even the simplest of shirts cost you Tk.900.

Ac`pot for the kids! This store has by far the most widespread collection of accessories. They have cartoon digital watches with interchangeable covers. Tiaras and wands to make anyone feel like a princess. They have Swarovski birthstone earrings and normal bracelets, and hats and shoes. Everything can be bought in a matching set with the clothes. Depending on what exactly you are buying, nothing is really very overly expensive. And you'll want to buy those delectable socks and sunglasses.

Be they little angels or devils, all of them adore their toys. And this is the only part where Happy Octopus is lacking. They have handmade toys which are safe for children of any age to play with, but they aren't anything fancy. Just toys in cute animal shapes, especially Octopuses. The price is also therefore not much -- you get an average animal stuffed toy for about Tk.200. The animals come in animated colours but won't hold the attention of children above 3 years.

This is a one-stop shop for cool on-trend stuff for kids but only if you are willing to pay a bit more.

Happy Octopus is located at B & B Empire, 3rd Floor, Holding #116, Road #11, Block-E, Banani.

By Noshin Nawal
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Products: Happy Octopus


By Tommy Miah

Green chilli fish kebabs
500g (1 lb) firm white fish fillets, skinned
250g (8 oz) salmon fillet, skinned
1 egg white
3 long green chillies, seeds removed and finely chopped
4 spring onions, finely sliced
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves
2 tsp finely grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Juice and finely grated zest 1 lime
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
For the yoghurt sauce --
250ml (8fl oz) tub natural yoghurt
1 small cucumber, grated or finely chopped
2-3 tbsp roughly chopped fresh mint leaves
Steamed rice, to serve

Soak 18 skewers in warm water for 20 minutes. Remove any bones from the fish, roughly chop and then process with the egg white in a food processor until minced. Stir the chillies, spring onions, fresh coriander, mint, ginger, garlic, lime zest and juice and mix well.

Heat the fennel seeds, coriander seeds and peppercorns in a frying pan over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant. Grind in a spice mill or with a pestle and mortar. Stir the spice into the mixture and season with sea salt.

Mould golf ball size pieces of the mixture onto 12 soaked skewers. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

Cook the kebabs either on a barbecue plate or on a heated grill pan until golden on both sides.

Make the yoghurt sauce by combining the yoghurt, cucumber and mint. Season to taste with a little salt. Serve accompanied with steamed rice.

Honey chilli soy chicken kebabs
4 tbsp vegetable oil
5 tbsp honey
4 tbsp chilli sauce
5 tbsp soy sauce
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
8 skinless, boneless chicken breast fillets -- cut into cubes
2 cloves garlic
5 onions, cut into pieces
2 red peppers, cut into pieces

In a large bowl, whisk together oil, honey, soy sauce, chilli sauce and pepper. Before adding chicken, reserve a small amount of marinade to brush onto kebabs while cooking. Place the chicken, garlic, onions and peppers in the bowl, and marinate in the refrigerator at least 2 hours (the longer the better).

Preheat barbecue for high heat.
Drain marinade from the chicken and vegetables, and discard marinade. Thread chicken and vegetables alternately onto the skewers.

Lightly oil the cooking grate. Cook kebabs for 12 to 15 minutes, until chicken juices run clear. Turn and brush with reserved marinade frequently.

Goan beef
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pressure cooker or thick-bottomed pan and fry the onions till brown. Add the whole spices and fry well. Add the turmeric, salt and tomatoes, fry well. Add the washed meat and fry well till it evenly changes colour from pink to brown. Add water enough to just cover the meat layer and cook till the meat is tender (1 whistle on high and 40 minutes simmer if in a pressure cooker).

For the masala --

Heat a pan and dry-roast the chopped onion to light brown. Add the coconut and fry till evenly brown, stirring well. Transfer this to the mixer/grinder.

Then, dry roast all the other 'masala' spices on medium heat, mixing well, till a nice aroma is given out. You can add a few drops of oil if needed.

Add this to the grinder and grind well, with some water to a smooth paste.

For the gravy --

Heat 2 tablespoon oil in a thick-bottom non-stick vessel and fry onion till brown. Add the masala, 2 tablespoon at a time and fry well each time. Add the tomato paste and fry well for 2 minutes. Add the potato cubes and some of the stew liquid. Cook covered, till potatoes are done.

Add the meat and remaining stew, along with some nutmeg, salt to taste and 2 tablespoon vinegar or tamarind pulp. Add water if you need more fluid.

Simmer for a few minutes and serve hot with boiled rice.

Smoked spicy chicken
1 chicken (1.5 kg)
½ tsp salt
1 tsp sesame oil
Spicy sauce --
1 star aniseed
½ tsp brown peppercorn
½ tsp clove
1 piece cinnamon stick
1 cardamom
¼ dried tangerine peel
5 cups water
2 tbsp sugar
Smoking ingredients for chicken
½ cup Jasmine tea leaf
½ cup soft brown sugar
½ cup cooked rice

Wash chicken and remove its legs. Rub chicken cavity and skin with salt and wine. Hang it for 40 minutes.

Bring spicy sauce to the boil until 4 cups of water is left. Strain. Add light soy sauce and sugar. Bring to the boil again. Put chicken in spicy sauce. Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

Cover wok with aluminium foil. Put in tea leaf, soft brown sugar and rice. Heat wok. Place an iron rack on wok. Put chicken on rack. Cover with lid. Remove from heat when smoke emits from wok. Bake for 5 minutes. Take out chicken. Brush seame oil on it and allow to cool. Chop up and serve.

Lanka red chicken
8 chicken thighs
½ tsp black pepper ground
Salt to taste
3-4 tbsp oil
2 medium-sized onions
20 curry leaves
8 cloves garlic
5 cm (2?) piece ginger
3 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp paprika powder
2 tsp granulated sugar

Remove the skins from the thighs, and cut off any excess fat. Put the thighs, the pepper and salt into a pan, together with half a litre of cold water, and bring to the boil. Simmer for 1 hour.

Remove the pieces of chicken onto a plate. Bring the stock rapidly to a boil, and continue boiling until it has reduced to about 150ml (¼ of a pint) and set aside.

Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic. Grate the ginger. In a medium-sized pan, heat the oil. Add the onions and the curry leaves, and fry until the onions are golden brown. Add the chicken pieces and continue to fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the chilli, paprika, the sugar and the stock and bring slowly to a boil. Simmer for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the chicken from sticking to the pan.


The hot dog stand

For much of the past decade, while pizza, sandwiches and burgers have taken the country's fast food scene by storm, hot dogs have remained in almost obscurity. The popularity of the Frankfurters was already cemented thanks to its stature of being a pop culture reference but it wasn't as widely consumed as others. It was really only about time before Bangladeshis also gave hot dog its due honour. That time has now come.

4sHotdogs, a novel concept by four friends, brings hot dogs right to the streets of Dhaka. As a street food, hot dogs unbeatable taste and value for money are legendary and we have seen all our favourite movie stars have a bite of the delicious thing at least once. Hence, no one can claim to be unfamiliar with hot dogs.

Knowing this Hasib, Shumon, Maksud and Shiblee, school friends from their days in Junior Laboratory launched 4sHotdogs nearly 2 months ago.

“Hot dogs have not been popular as a street food and therefore we came up with this concept, which is quite fresh,” Hasib, one of the owners, says. After its launch, the hot dog craze has begun growing and more than just the taste, it is also the delivery that keeps the customers coming back for more.

The hot dog cart is a fusion of the hot dog carts of the Western worlds and the fuchka carts of Bangladesh. The material used throughout the making of the cart ensures that it remains dust free and hygienic. The hot dogs themselves come in three sizes; 9 inches, 7.5 inches and 6 inches priced Tk.100, Tk.80, Tk.60 respectively. The hot dogs come with different dressings using chilli sauce, mustard, tomato sauce and garlic sauce. In the coming months, a few more dressings will be offered including the ever-popular onion relish.

The quality of the franks cannot be doubted; with Hot Breads being the bread partner and White Hen providing the sausages for the two larger sizes called 'Alto' and 'Presto'. For the smallest sized hot dog, “Uno”, sausages from the Canadian company Zabiha Halal is used. The value for money also cannot be debated; 4sHotDogs are filling and they are quite good indeed.

The hot dog cart is located, right off Banani Masjid, opposite White Hen and plans of setting up two new carts are underway. Next time you are hungry and in a hurry, give 4sHotDogs a try.

By Osama Rahman
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed


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