Sunday, January 11, 2009

Tetul Shorbot (Tamarind juice/cocktail)

There is a place called "Adda" in Dhaka, a restaurant on the top floor of the store Prabortona. The unique aspect of this restaurant is its made for women! The servers and cooks are all women-which is a rarity for general Bangladeshi public. "Adda", loosely translated means Hangout and that's just women do here. The low tables with floor seating and the separate dining area with low tables and short chairs exude an air of relaxation that a female can embrace. Now, now...don't get riled up, men are allowed here but only with the accompaniment of a woman, which is such a pleasant change from so many "hangouts" that require a male escort for "good middle class girls"!

Besides the atmosphere, the menu is also worth mentioning. It serves up the traditional Bangali fare of khichuri, rice, daal, chicken curry, beef, fish and bhartas (mashed and spiced veggies) along with light snacks of chotpoti, fuchkas and delicious teas and juices. I always end up getting a tall cool glass of tamarind juice - a drink this place is noted for-its spicy, sweet, sour and full of robust taste explosions. Yes, its a strange way to describe it but you will see why when you see what types of things go into it. One thing that always happened when I had this drink was within an hour-I had to be close by to a toilet! At first I thought it was just my weak stomach unable to handle the flavor combination but later as I talked female friends-I realized why this drink is popular at a women's hangout. It works like a bowel cleanser! Now, I can understand why it would be a sought after drink to empty out a women's stomach after a meal.

After some research online I found that Tamarind is used in Ayurvedic Medicine for gastric and/or digestion problems. Now it all makes sense!

Is it worth drinking knowing the experience afterward? No, not for me but still---it is one of those tastes you just have a hankering for and just have to have tall cool glass! But maybe one could choose the timing well....

Tamarind Cocktail

Tamarind Pulp
Rock salt
Cumin powder
Sugar or Jaggery

There is no perfect measurement for it, its a- taste as you go -type mix. Tamarind pulp can be bought at the super market or if you have dried tamarind fruits, break the skin and pull out the fruit. Place the pulp or fruit in boiling water to let the pulp melt away. Cool and strain and squeeze with your hands to get all the pulp out off the seeds. Add the other ingredients and alter to your taste, that's it! Just stay close to a toilet with an hour or so... ;-)