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     Volume 4 Issue 2 | July 2, 2004 |


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Hitting that
Sweet Spot

Imran H. Khan

A new millennium has dawned since a bored housewife took to the kitchen, not to cook for her own family, but to try something different. Instead of pondering over what perils this life brings, this housewife started a revolution…a revolution to free the hands (and stomachs) of our countrymen by giving them more delectable options. That lady is Zahra Hasina Parveen and the revolution was a home-made catering service. Till today, she is busy with her dishes, satisfying the gastronomic needs of hundreds.

Zahra, a loving wife and mother of two, manages to find time in the kitchen to cater to the needs of a number of families with a variety of mouth-watering recipes. There are many parents who don't have enough time in the morning to cook breakfast and prepare tiffin for their children. "The parents have to do so many things at one go that there is almost never enough time to prepare something for the child to take to school", says Parveen. That is where Zahra comes in. Her frozen items are a hit because you can simply defrost the items a little and put them into some oil. And, as for the rest, you let nature take its course and watch the items turn a crispy golden shade and voila…a snack fit for a…well…a very hungry person maybe, because it will surely hit the spot.

Zahra started with one kitchen, but that quickly doubled as more and more people needed her attention and service. She began her journey by serving in schools to tend to the little tender hearts of the students. Prices were cheap and the items very tasty. Having children of her own, Zahra always made sure what she sends up to the schools were items which her own children liked. The catchy names that befit her tantalising dishes gradually invaded the dining rooms of other customers, and slowly but surely, her catering expanded to large organisations.

"Word of mouth is my marketing campaign, because no one can compliment my dishes until and unless that person has been exposed to my cooking," continues Parveen. "My best customers are probably my friends, because friends are always honest about your cooking, no matter what others say."

Items on Zahra's fast food list are delectable chicken sandwich, chicken and beef burgers, chicken patties, chicken fries and different type of cakes. Her frozen food collection comprises mostly of a variety of keema samosas, shingaras, rolls and cutlets. On the more substantial side we have rice, khichuri, tehari, biryani, polao to go along with a range of fish, chicken, beef, vegetable and mutton items. There are also salad dishes for those who have become attached to our 'feathery' and 'furry' friends.

With the advent of globalisation and adventurous nature of our taste buds, Chinese food has been welcomed into our kitchens with open arms. Zahra has taken this into consideration and has come up with numerous lunch combos to make the most important meal of the day -- lunch -- a memorable one. Her Chinese lunch items consist of an artillery of chowmein with mouth-watering sweet and sour prawn; chicken fried rice with sizzling beef chilly, not too hot but spicy enough to make you beg for more; chowmein with saucy sweet and sour meatballs that simply melts in your mouth; fried rice with chicken and onions and much more. "I have some customers who try out different combo different days, giving a pleasant and tasty change to their daily diet."

Though Zahra usually takes about a day to prepare for special meals, she is particular about one thing: the quality. "With the Chinese items, I generally can cook for fifty people. If I cook for more than that number, say a hundred, I will need more time because I do not want to disappoint my food lovers." One can easily reach her at 0171665850 or 9142892 to order and take advantage of the special home delivery service, one of Zahra's special attractions, which has made her kitchens welcoming heavens for food addicts. One can also reach her at House 79, Road 9/A, Dhanmondi. It's about time that people take some time out to enjoy the little pleasures of life, especially by appeasing the whims and growls of the stomach.

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