Siddiqua Kabir, trailblazer in culinary delights, no more

Siddiqua Kabir, trailblazer in culinary delights, no more

She was the ultimate name as far as modernising the art of Bangladeshi cooking is concerned. “Ranna Khadyo Pushti”, by her, is considered a culinary bible by all Bangladeshis who can read.

Noted nutritionist and culinary expert Professor Siddiqua Kabir passed away at a city hospital yesterday. She was 80.

Kabir became a household name — indisputably related to scrumptious and nutritious Bangladeshi recipes. She had been involved with cooking shows on television since 1965.

“Cooking is an art,” Kabir once said. She had been experimenting with this art form ever since she was a young girl. Her cooking show, “Siddiqua Kabir’s Recipe”, aired on ntv, attained huge popularity.

She authored a number of recipe books to her credit and was honoured with different awards including Sheltech Award 2009.

With a master’s in Food and Nutrition and Food Administrations from Oklahoma State University, Kabir was the Principal of Home Economics College in Dhaka. She was, however, more popular for her famed books “Ranna Khadyo Pushti” and “Bangladesh Curry Cookbook”.

“I wrote ‘Ranna Khadyo Pushti’ with the regular housewife or amateur cook in mind,” she said in an interview with the Star Magazine.

“Ensuring nutrition is an integral part of cooking,” she said, adding that back in the day there were no good schools or institutions where one could learn about food and nutrition. However, the women in her family happened to be excellent cooks, she said.

“The reason why people know me today is because of ‘Siddiqua Kabir’s Recipe’. All credit goes to her. I had the opportunity to work with a true pioneer and a role model,” said Sharmin Lucky who assisted Kabir on the popular TV show.

“Siddiqua Kabir was an institution. Nine years of association with her has been the best time of my life. She really wanted the show to complete 300 episodes and that happened. Her other dream was that one day every Bangladeshi woman would be able to do something productive,” added Lucky.

Born in 1931, Professor Kabir had a bright academic life. She started her career in teaching by joining the Mathematics department of Eden Girls’ College in 1957.

She also worked as a consultant for Dano, Nestlé and Radhuni. Kabir’s 78th birthday was celebrated with the launch of a biographical book “Culinary Artist Siddiqua Kabir”. The book, edited by Sharmin Lucky, is a compilation of articles written by friends and admirers of the master chef.

“My maternal grandmother was known to be a wonderful cook in Kolkata,” Kabir once said. According to her, cooking was more of a homely activity back then. Today, however, people want to know how to cook for very different reasons. It is not only women, but also men who are interested in cooking.

Kabir used her own recipes on the show. “All of them can be found in my books of course,” she mentioned. “I’m an avid reader of international cookbooks, and try to experiment with new food ideas and recipes. However, I prefer to keep them the way they are.”

Kabir wanted to set up her own institution where cooking would be taught academically. “Staying healthy has always been my priority,” she said, adding, “There are a lot of young people who have an urge to learn healthy recipes that also taste good.”

Kabir will live on as a pioneering figure in popularising Bangladeshi cooking through her books and in the media.

Link Requested by Anim Rahman | Original source at

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