A #taste of #Vietnam in #Bangalore

Now, the flavours of Vietnam are not far from reach. Chef Nguyen Thi Nho has flown down from Vietnam for the Benjarong Vietnamese Food festival -Flavours of Vietnam, and offers a fine balance of vegetarian and meat dishes.

A-taste-of-Vietnam-in-Bangalore-jpgVietnam cuisine focuses on selective use of herbs, exquisite presentation of food, elaborate preparation techniques that are perfected as an art, and a wholesome experience that appeals to all the senses.
Appetizers on the menu i n c l u d e Charcoal Grilled Shrimp Mousse on sugarcane, wrapped with fresh rice vermicelli and Vietnamese herbs) and Vietnamese Fresh Shrimp Spring Rolls dipped in fermented bean sauce and mixed pickle.

The main course has dishes such as Wok-tossed Tenderloin with lemongrass and chilli, Five-spiced Vietnamese Fish, Caramelized Tofu in clay pot, and Pho (the national dish of Vietnam, which is a noodle soup meal).

Diners can end their meal on a sweet note with desserts such as Mungbean Cake and Crystal Steamed Banana Cake that is served with cream coconut.

Benjarong is on Ulsoor Road.

Enjoy #flavours of the Far East in #Mumbai

The chefs at China Bistro, the restaurant known for its new age Chinese cuisine, are bringing flavours of the Far East to Mumbai with the Clay Pot festival.

Enjoy-flavours-of-the-Far-East-in-MumbaiThe dishes are prepared keeping authenticity as well as the Indian palate in mind. The festival menu predominantly revolves around hearty meals of rice noodles with delicate and carefully prepared sauces to present a complete meal in a clay pot. To go with it, the chefs have put together a limited but mouthwatering set of starters to tempt your palate. The Clay Pot Festival is currently running at the restaurant’s Worli, Dadar and Thane outlets.

Keeping in mind the needs of the office going consumer, the restaurant has also launched the Prix Fixe four course lunch menu at all its outlets. Priced at `299 (+ taxes), it features a full menu of soups, appetisers, mains and dessert and is available from Monday to Friday .

China Bistro also offers Happy Hours where you get a drink free for every drink you buy between 12:30 pm and 8:30 pm.

Where: Near Poonam Chambers, KAG Khan Road, Worli.

#Traditions that #speak #volumes

Khelat Chandra Ghosh’s mansion has been reverberating with dhak beats and conch strains during Durga Puja for 186 years now, and the celebrations are about to begin!

Traditions-that-speak-volumes-jpgThe Ghosh family
Khelat Bhavan in Pathuriaghata is all decked up in a fresh coat of paint to welcome the goddess. And for its current residents — Pradip Kumar Ghosh, his wife Karabi and eight-year-old son Pradipta Ghosh — Durga Puja is not just a festival; it’s a family tradition that has been around for 186 years now.

The Puja, started by classical music and dance exponent Babu Khelat Chandra Ghosh, is still celebrated in all its traditional grandeur in the mansion that was built by Ghosh in 1844. Pradip Ghosh is his seventh-generation descendant. The family got a place in the pages of history after Ramkrishna Paramhansha visited the house. Rabindranath Tagore, too, had chosen the house as the performing base for the All Bengal Music Conference in 1934. Cricket Association of Bengal president Jagmohan Dalmia is also a son-in-law of the house and visits it every Puja.

Ritually yours
A math chauri background, Narasingha as Ma Durga’s bahon and goddess Lakshmi and Saraswati being worshipped as Kamal-Kamini, marked the uniqueness of the Ghosh barir idol, which has been crafted by Madhusudan Pal and his ancestors since its inception. “The idol is inspired by Gangaur Devi of Rajasthan,” said Indrajit Gupta, the family’s spokesperson. Unlike other bonedi baris, Kumari Pujo is done every day. And since animal sacrifice is a strict no-no, sugar substances are sacrificed. Earlier, a Nilkantha bird was released on Dashami but not any more.

Bhog and more
Over 600 people have bhog on the premises every day during Puja. The family, however, doesn’t offer anna bhog. “Ma Durga is treated to a bhog of 51 items on Ashtami that has food cooked at home as well as delicacies from the best sweetshops in town. Betel leaf is offered as well,” Indrajit added. While Saptami has items like chingri malaikari, illish bhapa and illish paturi on the menu, Nabami has mutton biryani for all. A manpower crisis has, however, forced the family to tone down the celebrations.

Biday customs
A seven-gun salute is followed by a royal procession with towering umbrellas and fans, as part of the family’s immersion rituals. “We make sure we leave home by four in the evening. Ma rides on our shoulders to reach the ghat and twin boats are
used for the immersion. Over 40 dhakis are present for the procession. The women of the family need to have fish and paan before bidding maa adieu,” Indrajit said.

Importance of #storytelling for #children

We have grown up on stories narrated to us by our grandparents, parents and other elders in the family.

200318073-001They were the good old days when we would lie beside our aajis and azoba, daadis or naanis, as they took us on fantasy journeys with their tales — the wit of Birbal, the righteousness of the Pandavas, the stories of Vikram and Betaal et al. Those were the stories that helped us learn some important lessons of our lives. They taught us about the good and bad and also had a hand in making us the people we are as grown ups. However, now, with technology invading our lives like never before, nuclear families and working parents overpowering the social set up, the art of story-telling has become rare. Here are some of the advantages of storytelling…

Introduces new vocabulary to children: A big advantage of storytelling is that listening to stories enhances a child’s vocabulary, feel some parents. Namrata Popat, mother of a six-year-old, says, “My son is very fond of listening to stories and so, whenever I have time, I read out stories to him. The fact that he is curious about some words and wants to know the meanings of the ones he cannot understand, makes me feel good. I know he is learning new words and always find it easy to explain their meanings if it is in the context of a story being narrated.” Since the child relates to the words better, they are retained in his memory for long.

Enhances listening skills of children: Studies have proved that infancy is the period when children absorb most of the words that they later use in their lives. So, telling stories even to infants should be an important part of a parent’s schedule. When they grow up, storytelling encourages and enhances the listening skills of children. Usually, children like to talk more rather than listen and this behaviour is evident especially in classrooms — they are not usually good listeners. But when a habit of listening to stories is inculcated in them, they learn to become better listeners. It provides them the necessary training to listen and understand more, instead of talking.

Stories on laptop vs stories narrated by elders: The art of story telling has suffered a hit after the visual effect provided by technology has found takers. It has, to a certain extent, become a bane for the art of story-telling. Deepa K, an education consultant, says, “Storytelling is an interactive activity but on digital mediums it becomes a one-way thing where someone is telling you what to think and showing you an image that they think is appropriate. Thanks to this, your brain becomes a dumping ground because you stop using your imagination and your thinking powers by relying only on what is being spoon-fed to you.” She states that digital story telling is less humane. Talking about how the art of story telling has changed over the years, Deepa explains, “Many parents feel that showing stories on the Internet is as good as narrating them, but storytelling is about interacting with another human being and using one’s imagination to visualise.”

It is about being in touch with cultural roots: For Nalini Patil, a full-time mother of two kids, storytelling is about being in touch with one’s cultural roots. “My children go to English-medium schools but thanks to my regular storytelling, they know traditional Marathi tales as well. I feel this not only makes them aware of their rich cultural heritage, but also develops in them a love for learning our history. They have also become well-versed in their mother-tongue. Of course, for kids to be interested in listening to tales, the stories also need to evolve with time. “Stories shouldn’t be just about morals; they need to be thought provoking,” she adds.

Storytelling is a great activity of learning: Storytelling is very interactive. As a story progresses and develops, children ask questions. This is a great learning activity. Storytellers should use ways to make a child curious and encourage them to ask questions because this makes the child think. They learn to associate images in the book with the story and this develops their visualisation capacity and imagination. “A child’s memory capacity is enhanced when he/ she is asked to remember something from a story. I ask my five-year-old questions from stories I have told earlier. It is like a game to her, rather than a test,” states Niranjan Jha, a human resource personnel from Vasant Vihar. Experts who work with children say that parents should encourage children to sometimes create a small story with the characters they have been told about. This encourages imagination and makes the child more interested in the stories being told.

Storytelling can encourage development of emotions and feelings in a child: The media-soaked environment of today is what greets children as soon as they come into the world. Numerous TV channels, internet, mobile phones — all vie for their attention and the kids often get hooked. These fast-paced visual media block their mental development. Sunanda Shinde, mother to a school-going child says, “I have seen that telling stories makes children more involved than watching TV. Emotions are real when a child is listening to stories because his thinking capacity is enhanced. The interactive session encourages his imagination.”