An Ode to Smoking

I can honestly say that I love eating salads, they make me feel light and its just too good of a feeling to end your day with a killer one.

Now I rarely order salads at restaurants though! Since I personally think that they can get very boring, the simple oiled salad and leaves, mozzarella, pesto…etc..etc.. So heres a salad that I recently cooked up with flavors that I really liked. I don’t also like quinoa a lot, but I loved the flavour the smoke gave the entire dish, since it uses a smoked yoghurt dressing that is drizzled on top of grilled carrots, bell peppers, asparagus, and the rest of the vegetables. The smoke part is not very technical, its an indian cheat way of getting smoked flavour into dishes in the home of your kitchen where you would simply dollop a bit of ghee onto a piece of piping hot coal and cover the entire area/bowl with a lid to allow it to get that beautiful smoky flavour. Yum.

 

Its very easy to make, and heres the recipe:

-1 Head of asparagus, ends trimmed.

-1 spanish chilli

-1 small bell pepper, sliced half ways

-1 large carrot, peeled and chopped into big cubes

-1/2 head of broccoli, steamed or boiled

-1 cup of cooked quinoa 

-1 tablespoon of chopped parsley

-Olive Oil, to brush vegetables

Method: 

Brush the asparagus, bell pepper, chilli, and carrots with olive oil and place on a hot grill until they are cooked and seared beautifully. Set beautifully aside in a baking pan.

Smoked Yoghurt dressings:

-170g of yoghurt

-1 teaspoon tahina 

-1/2 teaspoon vinegar

-Black Pepper

-Sea salt

-Juice of 3 small limes

-3 tablespoons Olive Oil

Method:

Mix the Yoghurt with the Tahina, Vinegar, Black Pepper and Sea Salt.  Heat a piece of coal until hot, place the yoghurt bowl in a large pan and place an aluminium bowl in beside it to place the piece of coal in it. Drop 1/2 a teaspoon of ghee in it and cover with the pan cover and set aside. It will begin to smoke.

Prepare the quinoa, then add all the grilled vegetables with the broccoli & parsley. 

To finish the dressing, in a jar mix the lime, olive oil, 3 tablespoons of the smoked yoghurt, and cover and shake until well blended. Add to the salad and mix well. top the salad with the smoked yoghurt sauce and enjoy!

 

From Bangladesh, from Beautiful Dhaka, Jamalpur, and Jussore.

The video above captures a stitched glimpse of our encounters in Bangladesh. Just a glimpse. I never knew I’d say this, but Bangladesh you make me feel at home. 

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The past week we’ve been waking up from dawn, setting up for travel by 6:00 and traveling all around Bangladesh for charity, photography, you name it.  A cocktail of events. I was invited by a dear friend to the family to join alongside my brother for a week of charity work in Bangladesh.

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 It included things like giving out meat to orphanages, visiting hospitals that were giving free of charge open heart operation on behalf of the organisation we are with. We had the honour of meeting orphans that had memorised the entire Quran MashaAllah, and my favourite part, was witnessing the marriage aid of 20 couples in Jussore. It was Beyond Beautiful. 

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We stayed in Dhaka, and went by car to cities like Jussore, Jamalpur, and Ottawa. We were able to merge with the local people, eat at their homes, and truly experience the hospitality of a bengali family. It blew me away, the hospitality, the generosity, and the care they would give to a guest. I would be sitting down and suddenly a spoonful of ras malai would get stuffed into my mouth by force.. “Eat, eat!” they would say. I also got a glimpse on how Pan was made and delightfully refused. 

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We would end up hugging each other for hours not wishing for that final goodbye, since goodbye means going back, and coming back to Bangladesh is not a certainty. My parents actually lived in Bangladesh for around a year a long time ago for work, I wasn’t born, but perhaps that little Bangladesh came to me, who knows. 

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When it comes to food, one very new aspect I noticed was that we dined on bed. A member would place a fabric cloth on bed and place the meal dishes and boom we would sit on bed and eat. I’d get scolded for that at home I would tell them. 

Below is a feature the organisation got in local bengali newspapers. 

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We would always get greeted by the most beautiful assorted of food, it’ll be for breakfast, after lunch, or an afternoon snack. Delicious. 

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IMG_1439Bengali Food might be wider than what I saw, but I noticed a repetitive pattern throughout the week we stayed, it consists of a light beef biryani, lots of freshly sliced cucumber, a chicken stew, and sometimes a prawn curry called chingri maacher malai which I loved. And lots and lots of fried fish. Which is a very gulf dish to be honest. 

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IMG_1809We would have lots of freshly sliced coconut throughout the day, alongside fresh coconut water, slices of mango (“Am” in bengali), and sometimes jackfruit. All with a delicious cup of Masala tea of course. 

To conclude, I would say that this was indeed a deep dip into a culture I never truly explored, I really got a glimpse of their tradition, their culture, and their food of course. To many more trips like this inshaAllah. 

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Till next time Bangladesh.

Lots of love.