Wednesday, May 20, 2015

DIY: vintage chic graduation decor

It is my great honor to be able to present these photos to you because my adorable older niece and her friend with the help of my nephew created this amazingly chic backdrop and decor for my younger niece's college graduation. All the desserts in the images were homemade by our family except for the cake. The wood backdrop was made from scratch. They bought the logs of wood and stained them and then nailed them in place to make the backdrop. My niece carefully took care in each little detail of this party. There were more arrangements that I missed photographing since there were 100+ people at the party. I am so proud of them and I have suggested them to open up their own business in this field. Enjoy the rest of the photos. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Food: eggplant/shrimp mash [begun chingri bhorta]

Eggplant is a very versatile vegetable that is quite popular in all cuisines be it French, Italian, Middle-eastern, Chinese, or Bangladeshi. It is quite fascinating, isn't it? Rice is a staple for Bangladeshis and with this rice a "bhorta" which basically means anything that is mashed goes very well together. In the Bengali cuisine anything and everything can be made into a "bhorta". But the begun or eggplant bhorta/mash is quite traditional. The eggplant is burned over the stove and then mashed with spices and mustard oil and this brings out an incredible coal flavored dish. I have taken that traditional recipe and made it in my own way by baking/broiling the eggplant and adding some crispy shrimp with it. 

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,
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