Smithsonian Institution
Join Our Email Mailing List
Festival Radio
Support the Festival

Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Bangladeshi Recipes

Piaju (Fried Lentil Cakes)
Recipe by Karuna Baskaran

  • ½ lb masoor dal
  • ½ lb channa dal
  • 3 onions, sliced
  • 4 green chilies, chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ tsp each: ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, and chili
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • Oil for frying

Soak the masoor and channa dal for 2 hours. Grind the dals with very little water. Mix all the items in a bowl. Form small patties. Heat oil in a wok. When oil is hot put 1 tbsp mixture in the pan. Fry until the cakes become red in color.



Bhapa Pitha (Steamed Coconut and Rice Cakes)
Recipe by Karuna Baskaran

  • 6 cups rice flour
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 packets molasses (pitali gur)
  • 1 packet grated coconut

Add salt to the rice flour and dampen it slightly with sprinkled water. Sift the flour. Spread some rice flour lightly in a cup. Place 1 tbsp molasses at the center (do not spread molasses). Sprinkle 2 tsp coconut over the molasses. Cover the molasses and coconut by spreading some more rice flour in the cup. Spread a wet cloth on top of the cup. Gather the four corners of the cloth with the cup inside and turn the cup upside down. Hold the cloth with the cup tightly keeping the cup upside down. Place the cup with the cloth (keeping it upside down) in a strainer fitted on a saucepan over boiling water. Uncover the cup and remove it carefully from the pitha. Gather the corner of the cloth again and cover the pitha with it. Cover the saucepan and steam for 30–60 seconds. Holding the cloth, remove pitha from the strainer.



Mughali Paratha (Fried Beef Pastries)
Recipe by Karuna Baskaran

Dough:
  • 4½ cups whole wheat or all purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • Warm water
  • Salt to taste
Masala Kheema (spicy minced meat):
  • 2 tsp cooking oil
  • 2 medium-sized onions, chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 lb beef, minced (you can use any meat you prefer for this recipe)
  • ½ tsp of each of the following ground spices: coriander, cumin, turmeric, chili and garam masala
  • 3 eggs
  • Ghee/vegetable/canola/sunflower cooking oil for pan frying Parathas

To make the masala kheema, heat the oil in a wok or deep pan. Add the onions. Fry until pale gold. Add the ginger and garlic pastes and fry for 2 minutes. Add the minced meat and fry for 5 minutes. Add all the spices (coriander, cumin, turmeric, chili, garam masala) and salt to taste. Continue to brown the minced meat well. Whisk the eggs with salt to taste and set aside.

To make the dough, mix the flour and salt to taste in a large bowl. Add the milk a little at a time and knead. Once the milk is used up, add water. Knead well to make a medium-soft, smooth dough. Wet your hand and rub the surface of the dough. Cover with a damp cloth and keep aside for 15 minutes.

Divide the dough into equal-sized balls and then press flat. On an oily surface, roll a ball out into a 4-inch circle. Put a large spoonful of the masala kheema in the center of the circle and a bit of beaten egg and fold edges of circle up to completely cover and seal the masala kheema inside. Pinch the folds shut. Repeat. The unused dough can be refrigerated and used later for up to 3 days. As you finish putting together the parathas , keep them aside (ready to fry). Place them one over the other with a sheet of plastic wrap in between each so they don’t stick to each other. Heat a frying pan on a medium flame with shallow oil. Add one paratha. Cook until tiny bubbles appear on the upper surface, and flip. The paratha is ready when both sides are crispy and golden. Decorate the mughlai paratha with onion slices and accompany with any sauce desired.



Shammi Tuna Kabab
Recipe by Karuna Baskaran

  • 2 cans tuna fish in water
  • 2 cups (or as required) potato flakes
  • 2 onions, chopped fine
  • 2 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • ¼ tsp ground spices: coriander, cumin, turmeric, chili and garam masala
  • 3 green chilies cut into small pieces (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Drain canned fish to remove water. Mix all the ingredients well. Shape into long or round kababs. Serve with a dash of lime and garnish with fresh coriander leaves (optional) and onion rings.



Borhani (Yogurt Milk Drink)
Recipe by Karuna Baskaran

  • 2 lbs plain yogurt
  • ½ tsp mint leaf paste
  • ½ tsp coriander leaf paste
  • ½ tsp green chili paste
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • ¾ tsp white mustard seed powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper powder
  • ¾ tsp white pepper powder
  • 3 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp black salt
  • ½ tsp salt

In a blender combine ingredients with 1 cup water and some ice. Blend well.