NOOR - Food & Travel 🇧🇩 🇱🇰

📍NYC • Supper club host • Wanderer & daydreamer • Sharing food, culture and travel stories • Celebrating Bangladeshi & Sri Lankan cuisine 💡

555 posts 3,107 followers 696 following

Homemade #labneh on toasted pumpernickel, topped with za'taar, beet sprouts and flaky salt. Easy deliciousness!

If you've ever thought about making labneh or yogurt at home, I encourage you to do it! 👌



#Happy Friday!

Have a bright and colorful weekend. 😊#🍁


Sri Lankan style sauteed chickpeas with coconut: "Kadala thel dala" (in #Sinhala, what's the #Tamil name?). This is a popular snack on the streets of Sri Lanka, but my mom-in-law also makes it at home for breakfast sometimes when we visit Colombo.

For me, this is an ideal, healthy yet satisfying, snack on a cold day in New York. With a steaming cup of chai. Bliss!

Here's my basic #recipe if you want to try it at home:

Heat a bit of oil in a pan and temper a pinch of mustard seeds, cumin seeds (optional), few dry red chillies & a sprig or two of curry leaves. Add in some finely chopped onions and saute a couple of mins. Add in a drained can of chickpeas, up to a teaspoon of curry powder (start with half a tsp and work your way up) and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Mix well and saute for a few more minutes. At the end add in chopped or grated coconut, lime juice and salt to your liking and mix everything well before removing from heat. You can also roast chickpeas in the oven first and toss with tempered whole spices and coconut later if you like -- I've also used that method for a more dry version.

I'm going to try fusing this with more Bengali flavors next time by using mustard oil for an extra kick! It reminds me a bit of Bangladeshi বুট ভাজা, with different flavors. 😋




How many acorns can you spot? 🤓🍁 #fallfoliage


Cardamom, saffron & pistachio tres leches -- a bit of indulgence to cope with the coldest day so far this season!


Need a quick weeknight dinner recipe?

The photo may not look like much but this one-pot farro with tomatoes, basil and parmesan is nothing short of a weeknight miracle, as @debperelman promised -- and her recipes always deliver!

Head over to the @smittenkitchen website for the recipe if you're searching for a simple but delicious weeknight meal that pretty much cooks itself in 30 minutes. It's a bit like a risotto, minus all the constant stirring.

I make this dish often and cooked it for friends last week when we were away at a cabin upstate. Everyone loved it so much I had to make it again the next day! On the second second day we ran out of tomatoes so I made it with tomato paste instead (because, suburbia... no corner bodegas) and it was still solid.

Do give this recipe a try if you're looking for something unfussy, relatively quick and super delicious!👌 #thursday #thursdaynight #tbt



Some friends told me recently that I should go back to posting photos of myself here every now and then, and it made me realize that I haven't posted one in almost a year.

Before you forget that there's a real person hiding behind the food and travel face of this account ...Hiiiiiiii! 😃👋 I'm Noor!

People also call me Noorie. Some friends do call me "boorie" -- Bengali for "old lady" -- a nickname I earned in middle school which is more befitting now.

I create all the content on this page. Which means that I cook (usually), style (sometimes) and photograph (always) all the food and other images that appear here. The long ramblings are all mine, usually authored and edited on too much or too little caffeine.

I started documenting my everyday food stories and adventures here two years ago for fun and since then it's morphed into more of a conversation and visual library celebrating all the things I love -- food, travel, #nature, Bangladesh and my Bengali heritage, Sri Lanka (now my third home, by marriage) and everyday fun in New York, where I live.

I hope you enjoy following along -- thanks to all of you who send messages and feedback on my posts! The emojis are appreciated too!

Don't worry, you won't see my face here very often. And OK, yes my next OOTD will be better and my hair won't resemble the #fallfoliage again, hopefully. 😜 But don't go expecting any glamor shots now.

Btw, I didn't take this picture (duh). Photo credit goes to my fledgling Instagram husband (whoa, I feel so cool knowing that term) for this one.


It's drizzling in New York and I just got back from a trip where we had lots of great food but nothing spicy for the last five days -- my #southasian genes couldn't take it anymore so of course, this happened.

But do I really need an excuse to whip up some rice and curry? 😜 #spicyfood = #delicious #food



❤️ A #pretty teacup, a good cup of tea and a pop of color make any day all the better.

#teatime #metime
#teacuptuesday #tealover

I brought back some maple flavored autumn tea from Sri Lanka this time - totally loving it right now!

Does anyone have good specialty tea recommendations that I can look into next time in Colombo?

I usually stock up on different ones from Odel, the tea shops at Race Course and assorted Basilur, Dilmah & Mlsena from various places but I want to explore what else is out there. I drink mostly black tea and love ones with nuanced flavors and with nutty or floral notes.

Appreciate any suggestions!



Currently in #lazysunday mode on the couch listening to the gentle rustling of leaves outside my window.

And day dreaming in shades of yellow, burnt orange, maple red and burgundy.

Who's with me?

#Photo is from an upstate New York trip we made last year during late October to explore the Finger Lakes region. The fall colors were gorgeous there!


Back home! How I've missed my lovely #Astoria neighborhood and New York.

And Bengali food!

Seriously it's been over three weeks that I left Bangladesh, and while I've had plenty of good Indian & Sri Lankan food in that time, it's just not the same. You know?

Lucky for me, my friends at @jhalnyc will be at the Socrates Sculpture Park in Astoria tomorrow (Sat, 10/14 from 11am-3pm) for Queens Food Day, whipping up some popular eats from Bangladeshi streets -- like this "jhal muri", a spicy puffed rice snack tossed with cilantro, onions, mustard oil and chillies.

I'll be there munching away to support this amazing organization that's not only highlighting #Bangladeshi cuisine to the world but is also helping many immigrants from Bangladesh transition to a new life in the US.

Follow @jhalnyc to learn more about their story and please share this with friends & family in NYC who might be missing their Bengali street food!

P.S. the #jhalmuri in this photo is not by #JhalNYC -- but you get the idea. 😜

Update: They will also be at the @queensnightmarket afterwards tomorrow & next weekend.


Hoppers for days!

Have you ever had a hopper/appam before? (Scroll to the bottom for some recommendations if not) You're missing out if you haven't tried them!

Hoppers/appam are thin, bowl-shaped crepes made from a fermented batter of rice flour and coconut milk (#veganglutenfree ✅). Crispy on the edges and soft at the center, they can be made plain or cooked with an egg on top. Other variations include sweet hoppers finished with coconut cream or made with treacle/jaggery. All delicious!

In Sri Lanka people typically eat the plain and egg appams with curries and/or sambols (different types of relish), popularly one made with spicy-sweet caramelized onions and a ground chili relish. Hoppers/appam are also traditionally eaten in Tamil Nadu and Kerala in India, with Keralan hoppers being slightly larger, flatter, and a bit softer.

I love these and had a bunch of them over the last few weeks in both Kerala and Sri Lanka -- but still feel like I haven't had enough. Craving one again. 😬

If you find yourself in Sri Lanka,
@upaliscolombo is a good place for hoppers and other local dishes. Or try Cafe on the 5th or Nugagama at the @cinnamongrandcolombo, which also serve great appam and other traditional food. #foodtravel

#NYCfoodies, head over to @sigiri_nyc, @kottuhouse or restaurants on Staten Island if you want to try these without leaving New York.

#Bangladeshi friends, #tasteoflanka in Banani had excellent hoppers last time I went!

If you're in #Toronto try the New Hopper Hut for hoppers and delicious home-style curries. No frills dining that really hits the spot -- wish we had something like this in NYC!

Finally, if you're in #SanFrancisco and want to try a Sri Lankan inspired dining experience do check out @1601sf -- everything on the menu is contemporary Sri Lankan inspired fusion (all very creative and delicious) but the hoppers are kept simple and traditional. Also wish we had something like this in NYC!

What did you learn from this post?

Yup, I will travel for hoppers! 😁



Beach days = happy days!

Even happier when you stumble upon a gorgeous sandy beach with calm waters and stunning views of the lush, green surrounding jungles. And just the right number of people. 😬



Fact: I go nuts for #coconuts 😍

People who know me well, know this fact well!

#heaven #musthavecoconuts
#tropical #paradise #islandvibes


#Vade -- doughy, savory fried goodness -- from the streets of #India!

We saw (and ate!) several South Indian "vade" in #Cochin & #Alappuza during last week's #Kerala trip... "Uzhunnu vada", "parippu vada", "ulli vada", to name just a few.

The ones pictured here are "ullundu" or "medu vade" -- fritters made with a lentil batter that's often spiced with curry leaves, chillies and fenugreek -- think savory, gluten free doughnuts with a slightly crunchy exterior!

These are popular all over South India (and #SriLanka too), and are typically eaten for breakfast or as a snack, usually accompanied by a coconut chutney. 😋 .




Houseboats enjoying an afternoon nap in the #backwaters of #Kerala



An elegant South Asian afternoon tea at the Taj Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad -- what a lovely experience!

Their Nizami tea offers an assortment of petite delights -- mini "vades", bite-sized "pakoras", savory puff pastries with fillings like spiced lamb, and dainty Indian-inspired finger sandwiches made with ingredients as unique as betel leaves and "gulkand" (rose petal jam). We were also presented with Hyderabadi Osmani biscuits in lieu of scones and a variety of tiny Indian desserts, all along with endless cups of tea, of course. I devoured it all!

We also tried their English afternoon tea, which had more traditional canapes, finger sandwiches, scones and petit fours -- all very good. Be warned, two orders can be too filling for two people, even if you skipped lunch and even if you have an appetite like mine!

It took us three trips to Hyderabad before finally visiting the Taj Falaknuma, but I'm so glad we did. The majestic palace grounds add a lot to make for a lavish experience, and the guided tours of the palace included with every reservation provide a lot of interesting context on the history of Hyderabad and Nizam rule.

It's quite a trek to get there, reservations need to be made in advance and none of the dining options are cheap -- but if you find yourself in Hyderabad, I do recommend checking out the Taj Falaknuma Palace if you can for a memorable afternoon or evening treat.

P.S. this is NOT a sponsored post, in case you were wondering! I love tea and beautiful old palaces (who doesn't?) and this experience combined both so I felt compelled to share this mini essay. 😁 I'm also trying to get in the habit of writing up on more food and travel experiences -- if you have any feedback/comments, please feel free to share!

#tajfalaknumapalace #falaknumapalace #tajhotels #fancy #traveleats #ongooglemaps #noorieboorietravels



#Twilight at the Taj Falaknuma Palace -- Hyderabad, India

#taj #falaknumapalace #tajfalaknumapalace #tajfalaknuma


Fried Hilsa fish -- ইলিশ মাছ ভাজা

Another Bengali favorite & one more #latergram from Dhaka.

Perks of #foodphotography sessions at home in Bangladesh: access to things like fresh-cut banana leaves from trees behind our house and curry leaves from my mom's plant! Wish I could get these as easily in #newyork.

And the biggest perk: I never have to cook anything I photograph when visiting family. 😁

#hilsa #ilish #noorieboorie


Bangladeshi sweets that I can (and do, unfortunately) eat my weight in:

Bengali sweet yogurt, "chom chom" from #Tangail & my mom's homemade kala jamun.

বগুরার দই, টাংগাইলের চমচম ও আম্মুর হাতে বানানো কালোজাম ❤️ #latergram #kalajamun #gulabjamun #mishtidoi

I'll need another post to describe these, but if you're Bengali you understand my joy I'm sure!



Goodbye #🇧🇩 -- আবার দেখা হবে


Saffron, cardamom & pistachio bread pudding bites -- aka "shahi tukda". Creamy and decadent, with notes of saffron and ghee (clarified, brown butter) in each bite, it's no wonder that this regional South Asian dessert has its roots in the royal kitchens of Mughal emperors.

I experimented with many recipes for these over the summer in New York and came up with one that I like -- will share soon!

⚠️ #HYDERABAD peeps ⚠️-- any recommendations for restaurants that have a good Hyd style #doublekameetha or #shahitukda?



👋🇱🇰 FRIENDS IN/FROM SRI LANKA 👋🇱🇰 -- Any thoughts where I could take a cooking class (in Colombo) to learn some specific home-style cooking?

I'm particularly interested in Sinhalese and Tamil cuisine and some #Burgher specialties. (Basically stuff that my in-laws don't cook at home). And not the experiences designed for tourists, I'm looking for something more customized and for someone already familiar with Sri Lankan cooking.

If you have any ideas please shoot me a note! Maybe someone's mom/grandma/aunt comes to mind? 😁

#photo #throwback from a while back:

Sri Lankan kiribath (coconut milk rice) with lunu miris (red chilli sambol), dhal curry (lentils) and spicy grilled chicken.

Excited for the next food adventure in #srilanka!
#foodgasm #foodporn #foodpics #foodphotography


Tuberoses & marigold - রজনীগন্ধা ও গাদা ফুল

#dhaka #dhakagram
#travelpic #travelgram
#southasia #travel


What I look forward to most during trips back to Dhaka, even more than roadside #fuchka, is the daily "cha nashta" (tea & snacks) hour!

Here's a photo of some homemade "shingara", savory doughy pastries that are a popular snack at teatime. These particular ones are vegetarian, filled with spiced potatoes, carrots, peas and peanuts for a wonderful crunch. The dough is flecked with nigella seeds, which I love.

These are perfect with milky black tea during "bikaler nashta" (evening snack time), which let's say is equivalent to #Bangladeshi happy hour! 👌😬😂 .
#best #teatime #goodies


Classic eats from Dhaka streets! #Chotpoti or #fuchka -- which would you take?

#Bangladeshi #streetfood #noorieboorietravels


Whipped feta & tomato #crostini for impromptu rooftop gatherings with coworkers ❤️ #nycsummer #fun

Btw did anyone else see something that looked like a green shooting star last night!?!?! .

P.S. Quick "recipe"
Toss halved cherry tomatoes with balsamic vinegar, coarse salt, pepper, scallion and whatever seasoning + fresh herbs (I used basil) you want. Let stand for a few mins.
Separately, whip together (in food processor for ease) your favorite feta or goat cheese with some cream cheese, olive oil, pepper and seasonings (I also tossed in some roasted garlic too). Blitz till it's a nice spreadable consistency.
Cut bread slices out of a baguette, place in a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil. Broil for just a couple of mins. Slather cheese spread onto bread and top with tomatoes.

#recipes #ideas #astoria #queens #nyc #newyork