Category Archives: Bangladesh

Bengali Finale

Tonight, we concluded our week studying Bangladesh with a delicious Bengali dinner. I honestly didn’t have a clue how to make anything from this foreign country, nor did I think I would like the cuisine. I was sorely wrong. Perhaps it was due to the fact that my wonderful friend, Maria, loaned me a phenomenal cookbook.  

  

Bengali cuisine is rich in spices, A few of which couldn’t be found at our local grocery store. (Those were sadly left out.) All recipes from tonight’s dinner were taken from Mangoes and Curry Leaves and nobody complained. In fact, besides a little spiciness for the kids, we all really enjoyed the meal.  

Bengali Dinner Menu  

Bengali Style Fried Zucchini  

Slow Cooked Beef with Onions  

Basmati Rice  

Sweet Yogurt Sundae with Saffron and Pistachios  

Luchis with Cinnamon and Sugar  

I tweaked a few of the recipes to accomodate our family, mainly leaving half of the cayenne chilis out of the beef and adding cinnamon and sugar to the luchis. Honestly, I didn’t know what many of these items were before making them tonight, but I had fun learning new techniques and recipes.  

The zucchini wasn’t at all like American fried zucchini, simply stir-fried in a bit of oil with spices-black mustard powder, turmeric, fennel.  

Bengali Style Fried Zucchini

Other spices used tonight included saffron, cumin, cardamom, coriander, ginger, garlic, cayenne chilis, cinnamon, bay leaves and fenugreek. Most of these were used in the beef dish which  stewed for over an hour along with the spices and onions.    

Slow Cooked Beef with Onions

 

I added basmati rice with saffron to the menu, which is from India, because I didn’t think I’d have time (or energy) to make the traditional dal (Bengali bean and rice dish).  

  

Typically they serve a “salad plate” along with your meal (shown above to the right of the dinner plate). This is not the kind of salad that we think of, but rather a blend of herbs, spices, limes, etc. that Bengalis feel might enhance your meal. We really enjoyed this fun touch and took advantage of our little salads, cutting up the cayenne chilis and sprinkling them into the dish. Even Addie enjoyed squirting lime juice on her rice. I think I might try this with other meals as it allowed us to make the meal as spicy/tangy as we wanted.  

Sweet Yogurt Sundae with a Cinnamon Sugar Luchi

 

As usual, we finished the evening with a traditional dessert. Again, we were not disappointed. The sweet yogurt sundaes and luchis went quickly, gobbled up by each and every mouth in the family. Something about the touch of saffron and cardamom in the yogurt made it simply fabulous….also the sugar, I’m sure.  

Dipping hot, crispy luchis (a type of fried dough) into sweet yogurt we said goodbye to this country that has really grown on us. But, we won’t be gone for long, as we still have a rickshaw to finish. As of this afternoon, more painting of the Bengladeshi artwork had taken place and materials were purchased to finish the overhead covering. So, don’t you worry, we will visit Bangladesh often, after all, we’re going to start a new rickshaw trend.  

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Mysteries of Bangladesh

“But there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries” Daniel 2:28

Wow! Much of Bangladesh is still such a mystery to us and our week is slowly coming to a close. We’ll try to finish the rickshaw this weekend, adding the painting touches and fabric cover, but even if we don’t get everything finished, this fascinating country holds a place in our hearts. Today, the kids wrote letters on their Bangladeshi paper, and artwork for the intricate rickshaw painting has begun.

While I’m not the best with coming up with designs, I do okay at copying. So, the front image on our rickshaw will be of Bangladeshi Art I found on the internet.

Tomorrow night we’ll celebrate with our Bangladeshi meal. I can’t say that I’ve ever made anything even close, so we’ll see how it goes.

Aabar dekha hobey (goodbye)

Bangladeshi Paper Making

When I was in junior high, I volunteered for a period in a second grade class at the adjacent elementary school. One day, the teacher had set up a beautiful stationery making station for the kids using powdered chalk, water and computer paper to make colorful swirled designs.   

In my research of Bangladeshi arts and crafts, I came across a very similar looking type of paper design. I’m not sure if this teacher had gotten her inspiration from Bangladesh, but I’m excited to be able to teach this fun craft to my kids after years of making it with others.   

While I’ve been making this paper for a long time, I’ve never found an “easy” way to powder chalk. I debated putting it in my food processor, but don’t really want to contaminate it. Plus, the kids don’t mind a little hammering. So, we first separated the colored chalk into freezer bags (sandwich bags are a little too thin). Using a hammer, we gently broke the chalk up into small pieces, eventually creating a powder. (This is really the hardest part of this craft).   

   

   

   

   

Once all the chalk had been powdered, the fun began. After transferring the powdered chalk to small tupperware bowls, we filled a large rectangular tupperware container with water and each child chose a few colors to sprinkle onto the top. (Note: if the chalk pieces are too large, they will sink, so make sure they are well powdered). As we were about to sprinkle the colors with our fingers, Tallinn put the lid on one of the tupperwares- it was actually a bug container-and started sprinkling from that. I remembered that I had just bought some parmesan shakers at Michaels for another project at Michaels. They were only $1 each and were PERFECT for this craft. So, instead of sprinkling with our fingers we used the shakers to create our masterpieces.  Then, taking a sheet of computer paper, we gently set the paper onto the surface of the water. Voila! Instant Bangladeshi Paper!   

   

shake it, shake it

 

   

Finished Bangladeshi Art

 

every page is different

 

Now, we have stationery for  a month! Actually the kids said they’d like to write some letters and I’m thinking we should find someone in Bangladesh to write to.   

In the meantime, we’ve got a rickshaw to finish.  

I’m linking this to se7en’s fabulous friday fun:  http://www.se7en.org.za/2010/05/15/se7ens-fabulous-friday-fun-19-link-up?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+org%2Fse7en+%28The+se7en+hoods%29

We’re making a rickshaw!

For probably most of my life I have been a “project” person, always coming up with new ideas and creations, but typically not knowing how to make them happen. Fortunately, I married a very talented man who not only makes things happen, but is also willing to go along with my, often crazy, far-fetched, ideas.

Imagine my excitement when I mentioned to him the idea of making a rickshaw this week as we learn about Bangladesh and he accepted the task! So, now the initial building of the rickshaw has begun and we are about to begin our full-forced decorative efforts. If you were to google Bangladesh Rickshaw, you would see elaborate pedicabs with every inch artfully designed and decorated in bright colors and native patterns.

Maybe you should actually not google those images first. Because as much as I’d like to make an exact replica, I have learned to know and accept my limitations and our family rickshaw is likely to be nothing like a “true” Bangladesh rickshaw but we are sure to have fun in the process.

I’m not sure how far we’ll come today and I’ll post pictures as soon as we have some, but, in the meantime, here are a few from last night, with the sidebars strategically placed as Car went straight into the rickshaw from his bath.

(I edited the picture :)) I’ll post the others soon

red & green without the Christmas

Well here we are in Bangladesh! I think I may actually learn a lot this week as I’m not sure I knew anything before about this fascinating country. A beautiful cookbook has been borrowed “Mangoes and Curry Leaves”, which raves of delicious Bangladeshi foods, flags have been colored and we’re off!   

identifying the red and green flag

 

 Tallinn quickly found the flag and location of Bangladesh on our wall map, then we starred Dhaka on our maps and colored them, along with the flags. Next, we started a fun new safety pin flag craft. This was a great activity for Tallinn as he could easily follow the directions and count out the necessary beads for each pin, not to mention the excellent fine motor practice. He only needed my help for the last part of stringing all the pins through two pins on either end. Addie, on the  other hand really just watched as I made her safety pin flag for her.   

attempting to put the bead on the safety pin

 

I’ll give her an “A” for effort!  

stringing the final pin through

 
stringing the final bead through the pins

finished safety pin flag

 

This fun craft was found on http://familycrafts.about.com/library/bdspins. There are safety pin flags for several countries of the world on this site. It was a fairly inexpensive craft to do and required a little preparation-buying the safety pins and beads, but it was a fun, somewhat easy way to remember this green and red flag.  

 
Now, more fun is sure to come as we are building a rickshaw! Or, at least attempting anyway.

Culture Shock

Our study is about to make a major detour. Up to this point, we’ve been learning about cultures that are somewhat similar to ours. And, even though Japan is probably the most different, we live in an area that is home to many Asians and we’re pretty familiar with the culture. We’ve played it pretty safe, kept well within our comfort zone….until now.

Initially, I had Belgium as one of our “B” countries, and while it would have been nice to learn about their delicious food for a week, I really found nothing for art, etc. Since Bangladesh is the most populated country (for its size) in the world, it seemed more logical to go with Bangladesh. Sorry, Belgium.

So, a week of bold print fabrics, orange striped tigers and much more await us. I have absolutely no clue what we’re doing, but here we go!