Sunday, April 26, 2015

Dwell: three cups of tea [bangladeshi cha]

Cha or tea is an indispensable part of the Bangladeshi lifestyle. There are little tea shacks spruced up at every nook and cranny of any city there. And these shacks are never empty and the tea kettle is never off the stove except when tea is poured out from it onto little glass cups. The tea cups in Bangladesh are all pretty much the same dainty size (similar to the ones in the images). They are not enormous like the coffee mugs here in the States. A lot of tea is drank but in separate little cups instead of all at once. And tea is always steaming hot not mildly warm like coffee here. Raging conversations about politics and social issues area stormed over several cups of tea in these street shacks, at offices, schools and home. Tea is essential in the morning with breakfast and the entire country takes a tea break in the afternoon. And the afternoon tea time is always accompanied with snacks like a kolijar shingara. Just the thought of it makes me giddy. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Food: baked hilsha with pineapple [boishakhi anarosh ilish]

On the fourteenth of April every year starts the first day of another new Bengali year. This year it will be 1422. It is a solar calendar and therefore takes place on the same day every year. This day is celebrated in the Subcontinent through traditional food, colorful wear and decor, and lots of music and festivities. The first month is called Boishakh which heralds the bewildering tropical spring storms knows as the Kal-boishakhi. The new year is also called Pohela Boishakh meaning the first of Boishakh.

The national fish of Bangladesh is the Hilsha. A Bengali is incomplete without this fish. So on Pohela Boishakh this intensely flavorful fish is consumed at almost every Bengali household and eatery. Bangladeshis like me who live abroad also will manage to find this fish at the most remotest of conditions. So I will share this recipe that I shared and ate with my fellow Bangladeshi friends this weekend. I prepared a spice mixture and baked the fish in the cradle of a banana leaf with a top layering of sliced pineapples. In the image below you see the fish in its raw form with its beautiful flesh and the core revealing hilsha eggs. The hilsha egg is also a delicacy to eat and is immensely flavorful. Hilsha is also known to have a lot of tiny bones. But as they say back home, the more bones in a fish, the more flavorful it is. And I have found this to be absolutely true. 

Now let us look how this dish is cooked,

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Dwell: innocent green of spring

Everything is in bloom - it is that time of the year. The wilderness beyond my terrace is bursting in various shades of green. Everyday its a new shade and everyday it gets denser. The beautiful green soothes the eyes. Its a shame that the fierce sun of Texas will soon turn this soothing green into a dull brown one. These images were shot in the soft evening light which why is why the yellowy feel. The suns rays lit up the leaves fiercely. Feast your eye as long as it lasts!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Dwell: snow draped dallas

What a tremendous two weeks with an upheaval of the weather in Dallas/Fort Worth! Coming from tropical Bangladesh we take pride in it's torrential monsoon rains. There is nothing like it we say. And the rains are warm which makes every person step outside and drench in it. It's like the rains will wash away everything and renew you. When a Bangladeshi moves to the US, and experiences rain in the West they are saddened. But once they experience snow it is an absolutely breathtaking feeling. We have rain but you have snow.

Last night the husband and I had to drive back home after a game around midnight when the snow storm was at full force. It was immensely dangerous but at the same time incredibly beautiful. There was zero visibility. I now regret not making a video. I was so mesmerized. Images fail to describe what the eyes see. Yet, here are a few shots I sneaked in from last week's snow and the last image is last night's from our terrace. 

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