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Battling belly fat

Here's the inconvenient truth: there is no quick and easy way to lose belly fat.

First of all, a flat stomach is made in the kitchen. When we eat junk, it shows up in unwanted areas such as the belly.

Workout regimen is the other part of the equation, and the most important factor of the regime is intensity. You burn more total calories per minute during high-intensity intermittent exercise.

Use exercises that work your abdominals all the time. Free weight exercises activate the core more effectively. Squats, lunges, push-ups and planks are among the best exercises that activate your core musculature throughout the entire movement. This way, you are working your body as a unit, which is how you use it every day. Moreover, you are utilising more muscle groups when performing these exercises, which means that you receive a greater caloric expenditure. Therefore, your body responds better to these types of exercises.

Incorporate metabolic circuit training into your workouts. Metabolic circuits are total body workouts that involve high-intensity work periods with short rest periods in a circuit format. These types of workouts deplete carbohydrate stores so that your body is forced to burn fat during recovery and hours after. By performing these workouts, you get the strength training benefits of weight training and the cardiovascular benefits of cardio exercise, which adds to caloric expenditure.

Restrict sugar, starch, trans fat, and partially hydrogenated fat intake. These ingredients set the stage for increased belly fat, not to mention a long list of diseases. Consuming too much of these ingredients creates unwanted inflammation in the body. These ingredients are found in foods such as baked goods, energy drinks, carbonated beverages, fruit juices and desserts. Unhealthy ingredients, too many calories, and not enough exercise are a prescription for abdominal fat gain.

Get enough sleep. An adult should be getting between 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Not enough rest negatively affects appetite control system, making us crave more sugars and starches. Moreover, cortisol increases, which is notorious for mobilising fat to the abdominal area.

Drink half of your body weight in ounces of water per day. Doing so prevents bloating, keeps you from consuming too many calories, and boosts metabolism.


By Nasreen Sattar,
Former CEO, Standard Chartered Bank, Afghanistan

Benefits for Bangladeshi nationals working overseas
Bangladeshi expatriates are responsible for the huge foreign currency inflow into the country. Many in the lower income level who go as manual workers obviously send the money to their families for their maintenance. They could still be advised to save some of the remittance in various products available to them by the Bangladesh Government. Bangladeshi nationals who also go on high-salaried international assignments can also avail these products.

I am outlining some of the products and it would be worthwhile to have a discussion with your Bank Manager to assist you in this respect before you embark on an international posting.

Wage Earner's Bonds
These bonds can be purchased by the wage earner or his beneficiary or by Government employees working in government missions overseas. The tenure of the Bond (purchased with foreign currency, but the bonds are in taka) is five years and the current rate of interest is 11.80 per cent. The bonds can be encashed after completion of one year, but obviously the rate of interest will be pro rata. Claim of interest can be made every six months. However, if you choose not to take the interest over the entire tenure, compounding factor will be applied giving you a huge return at maturity.

USD Premier Bonds
This is a three year bond issued in USD, rate of interest being 7.5 per cent at maturity. The interest earned, however is in taka, but the principal amount will remain in USD.

USD Investment Bond (commonly known as DIB)
This product also has a maturity of three years earning an interest of 6.5 per cent . Please note the interest earned here is in USD (cannot be compounded to the principal amount), but can be moved to your current USD account. The interest earned can be used to remit to your children overseas or used for travel, etc. when you go abroad.

The above products are available to all Bangladeshi nationals working overseas and relevant documents etc. will be required at the time of purchase. Nowhere in the world can you can get an interest of 6.5 per cent in dollars (I am referring to the DIB) and to me this is one of the best products for someone wanting to save in hard currency.

For further information log on to nationalsavings.gov.bd



Prawn pops with peanut sauce
For the peanut sauce --
8oz fresh coconut milk
4oz peanut butter
1 tsp lime rind, finely grated
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp hot chilli sauce
½ tsp fresh ginger, grated

For the prawn pops --
500g minced chicken
375g prawn, peeled and diced
25g fresh basil, roughly chopped
15g breadcrumbs
2 large cloves garlic, peeled
1 tbsp soy sauce /chilli paste
½ tsp fresh black pepper
4 tbsp vegetable oil

Pre-soak wooden bamboo skewers. Combine the peanut sauce ingredients in a pan. Cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, whisking constantly until the sauce is smooth and slightly thickened. Remove from heat.

Put all ingredients for the prawn pops except oil into a blender and blend until a chunky paste brown. Pour oil onto baking tray and brush evenly to coat. Make mixture into oval patties and place them on tray; ensure they are well coated with oil. Refrigerate for 1 hour to firm.

Insert each patty with a skewer and grill. Serve hot with sauce.

Note: I will add some chilli paste and shrimp paste to my mixture.

Patter ka murg
Chicken breasts
20g ginger garlic paste
30g brown onion paste
30g date paste
2 tbsp yoghurt
1 tbsp pineapple juice
100ml ghee
Pepper and salt to taste

Mix evenly into a paste, except the chickens. Marinate the chicken in this paste. Fry each breast for a few minutes or all cooked through with a little ghee.

Prawn Salad
Juice of 1 lime
Garlic cloves
Fish sauce
Green and red chilli sugar (brown) [Blitz it, add oil and keep aside.]

Fry Prawn. Arrange greens on a plate, mix the paste with the prawns. Lay them on the greens. Maybe add some round onion slices. Serve cold.

Tujeh kabab
1 cup plain yoghurt
½ cup fresh lime juice
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp orange zest
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp black pepper ground
2 tbsp crushed saffron
1 tbsp ground coriander
6 cloves garlic

Mix 1 onion (sliced), 2 lb boneless chicken thighs, 4 plum tomatoes, 2 limes halved. Stir yoghurt, juice, oil, zest, cumin, salt, pepper, saffron, coriander, garlic and onions into a bowl, add chicken. Chill overnight. Grill on charcoal or gas grill.

South Asian coriander chicken
4 drumsticks
4 chicken thighs
1 tomato chopped
2 cups fresh coriander
2 tbsp tomato paste
3 long green chilli
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp oil
1 cup thick yoghurt
Coriander sprigs and 1 green chilli extra to garnish
Marinade --
35g grated fresh ginger, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp water, 5 cloves of garlic peeled, ½ tbsp salt

Blend the marinade to a paste and marinate the chicken pieces in a shallow dish. Refrigerate overnight.

Now blend tomato, coriander, chilli, tomato paste and water until smooth. Heat oil and brown the chicken in it. Add the tomato mixture and simmer until cooked through. Season with salt. Remove from heat and gradually add in yoghurt. Garnish with extra coriander and chilli.

Honey and sauce loaf cake
2 tbsp honey
200g butter
80g dark brown sugar
2 eggs
200g self raising flour
1½ tbsp mixed spice
100g icing sugar, sifted

Put honey, butter and sugar in pan. Melt together over low heat. Turn up heat when sugar has dissolved. Leave to bubble for one minute. Take off heat and cool.

Pre-heat oven. Mix eggs and butter. Sift the flour and mixed spice in a bowl and add the butter mixture. Mix well. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Cool.

Make glace icing with icing sugar, hot water to a runny consistency. Drizzle over cooled cake.


Hoi, hoi. Zantiparona…

By kaniska chakraborty

An immortal line from that immortal wordsmith, Rajshekhar Basu. And I am borrowing it in the most frivolous manner.

I, on one of my shopping trips to Spencers, picked up some light soy, some sesame oil and, most importantly, hoisin sauce. You know, the dark, thick, umami laced stuff that makes magic with the most humble stuff like baby corn and button mushroom. That.

At my wits end to figure out a title of this post, I resorted to borrowing that line, which, in my warped sense of humour, encapsulates the essence of hoisin sauce. Magic happens. You don't question how.

So, on one weekend night, a Sunday to be specific, I set out to do a bit of chicken in hoisin sauce. Chopped a lot of mushrooms, onions, tomatoes and the boneless chicken.

I use thighs and legs instead of breast pieces as I prefer dark meat. Also, it is really easy to overcook breast meat and get dry, stringy chicken.

Flash fried the veggies in black pepper oil. Dunked in the chicken pieces. Did a quick stir-fry with a bit of light soy. The stir-fry took a lovely light brown shade. Then I threw in the hoisin sauce. Dark, silky, thick. A smell is enough to send you to food ecstasy heaven.

The stir fry immediately took on a rich dark hue. The diced veggies soaked up the manna from the bottle and plumped up just that little bit. The chicken chunks gleefully swam in the rich sauce and glistened, as if they had a spa session. I thought of boiling some plain noodles and topping it off with this umami rich concoction.

And that happened to be the big moment of truth.

My wife came and announced that we were all out of noodles… quickly thought of steamed rice. But did not want to go through all the trouble of washing rice etc. And we only had parboiled rice at home. Then she announced the next piece of information. We had spaghetti. So, at the end of it, we had a fantastic chicken stir fried in hoisin sauce with boiled spaghetti.

Tried my best to incorporate some semblance of Chinese cuisine with a couple of drops of sesame oil. And some black pepper. It was still not a match made in heaven. Al dente is not the buzzword when it comes to Chinese cuisine. And soy or hoisin is not exactly out of Naples.

Though our dinner was delicious, it did leave us somewhat confused. So do spaghetti and chicken in hoisin sauce go together? As the great author said, “hoi hoi, zantiparona”. (It happens. Only you don't get to know.)

Photo: Kanishka Chakraborty


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