To make this pungent delicacy, Bangladeshis ferment a fish in a pot oiled with its innards.
In the northeastern Bangladeshi region of Sylhet, shidol chutney is more than a mere condiment. It’s a cold remedy, a pervasive scent, and a spicy challenge.
Cooks begin with small, freshwater fish called puti maach. After the creatures have been sun-dried, shidol-makers line an earthenware pot with a mixture of mustard oil and oil from the fish’s guts. This vessel, called a motka, is then packed with ...
Duck egg omlettes, biryanis and bhortas—a feast in the Bangladeshi capital’s historic quarter.
My dada bari, or paternal grandfather’s house, still stands on a corner of TaherBagh Lane in Kaptan Bazaar in the old city of Puran Dhaka. My family was based in Libya when I was young, but we visited annually. I have a dominant memory from that time, which is waking up to the distinctly unfamiliar sounds of women shouting orders to servants, a cacophony of crows, and the ringing of rickshaw bells.
Dolmades and I have known each other since I was a child. It was just introduced to me by a different name. These little steamed parcels of meat, rice and herbs wrapped either in grapevine leaves, cabbage or spinach are a familiar feature in Mediterranean cuisine. Growing up in Benghazi, Libya, whose cuisine is influenced by Arab, Mediterranean and Italian food, one of my favourite local dishes was abraak—rice, meat and herbs wrapped in vine, cabbage or spinach leaves. I would pop the whole t...
“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt”
- Charles M Schulz
As the days get colder, appreciate the full bodied flavours of chocolate is all its savoury glory! Rich in minerals, chocolate is known to help combat heart disease, fight the LDL, the so-called 'bad cholesterol,' and also aid in losing weight. Probably the best of the qualities is its ability to lift our moods by releasing the chemical, phenylethylamine (PEA). This encourages the neurons in our brain ...
Almost all food items at some point or the other have been cloistered under the title of an aphrodisiac, with distinct qualities of not just increasing libido but also making us seem more attractive and appealing to the opposite gender.
It is all a play of chemicals on our senses as we consume food that either makes us happy, makes the blood flow faster or simply relaxes us. Nonetheless, some foods have been known to actually work as aphrodisiacs and here are a compilation of some recipes to ...
As the wedding season hits Dhaka with its onslaught of dinners and lunches that make you totter out of the door feeling like you consumed your life's worth of food, here are an assortment of items you can offer those in-between-wedding 'dawat' guests while keeping their palates craving for more. Wishing all my readers a very happy New Year and as the Italians say: 'Mangiare bene e sano' (eating health and being well).
BUTTON UP HORS-DE-OEUVRES
Bbq-ed mushrooms, button ones and layer of eggpla...
O moon-faced Beloved, the month of Ramadan has arrived, Cover the table, and open the path of praise.
Ramadan is here in the blazing summer heat; let us make this month of supplication, devotion and abstinence one that makes us feel lighter, healthier and thankful for all we have. It is a great time to let your body regenerate so drink lots of liquids, avoid those massive food orgies that everyone regrets the next day and above all, avoid wasting food.
Here's to a blessed month of sharing, ea...
The Greek version of a typical bhorta ideally has mashed potatoes with garlic, as skorda is garlic in Greek and comes in all forms with boiled beet or zucchini.
1 kg potatoes and alternatively ½ kg beets
1 tbsp garlic paste
2-3 tbsp lemon juice or 2 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp finely chopped mint leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup olive oil approximately
1 tbsp almonds, blanched and skin removed; alternatively 1 tbsp walnuts.
Boil the potatoes and mash them properly. B...
One of the first things you notice on the mountains of Crete are the goats and the sheep. Hordes of them. Blocking roads as they waddle along, guided by their shepherd's tinkling their bells or simply, camouflaged amidst the brown-green Mediterranean landscape on the mountains of this Greek island. Even the cuisine spells goats, in the form of meat or from the various cheeses that goat's milk produces. It is a popular form of livelihood, where most shepherds still reside in sleepy villages al...
As I sit writing this article on the Greek island of Crete, the song of the cicadas serenades me and I think of Dhaka and the festival of sacrifice just around the corner. Goat meat is high on every Cretan menu so I take this opportunity to share some Greek meat dishes and one from across the border in Turkey. Eat healthy and may your bellies be filled with good food and your hearts with the best wishes of loves ones.
Lamb with yoghurt (Arnáki me yiaúrti)
The idea is to cook meat...
No matter how healthy we eat during the day, late in the afternoon we tend to get peckish and often experience a sudden craving for fried snacks. To steer clear of this rut prior to dinner, it is best to opt for a warm soup that is far more nutritious and will fill you up till the next meal.
Here are some ideas straight from a Mediterranean kitchen to the Fearless Olive column!
LEEK AND POTATO SOUP
The despotic Italian emperor Nero was very fond of leeks and loved consuming them in a soup, be...
Bengali Hindu households respond to 'mayer dak' as Durga Puja arrives in all its splendour and people prepare for this autumn festival of welcoming the mother home. The festival menu is an array of some typically Bengali dishes but as usual, the Fearless Olive provides a variation to the traditional table. With sesame replacing the poppy seed, and a rare fruit making an appearance, here's to a happy homecoming and farewell to the goddess Durga. Saradiyo Shubhechha!
The Venetians are credited for bringing in the stifado when they came to rule Greece around the 13th century CE and the dish is full of… onions. Tiny ones, but just load it up with them!
1kg lean beef, cubed
1 kg small yellow onions, or cut red onions into quarters (as we want the sweetness of the onion)
1 large onion
Garlic cloves (to taste; I used 4 cloves)
3 cups vegetable stock (boil diced carrots, celery, onions or leeks, some garlic and thyme. First fry these unti...
Give me a sun, I care not how hot, and sherbet, I care not how cool, and my Heaven is as easily made as your Persian's.
— Lord Byron during his visit to Istanbul in 1813
As the wedding season begins, speciality drinks are in focus this week as we bring to you concoctions from around the world. Replete with ingredients that are meant to lighten the mood, energise the guests and the bride and groom. So raise your glasses and wish the two a holy matrimony, starting with a healthy drink!
An ancient Celtic festival, a goddess of gardens and fruits, and a mixture of many rituals over the centuries leaves us celebrating the macabre on the last day of October. Synonymous with pumpkins, Halloween is celebrated the world over, giving us all a chance to connect with our morbid, sinister sides. This Halloween, allow me to lead you through a dark, musty passageway to a table laden with food that celebrates the pumpkin!
On a dark, blustery 1 November, a harvest festival was celebrated ...