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6 dawat recipes to save the day

  • Published at 02:15 pm January 24th, 2018


Appetisers are quite an exciting part of the meal. It’s like the first time you meet someone, and how the impression they leave on you lingers on long after they’re gone. Here are a few options to help you out.

Fish cakes

These are little kebabs of oceanic goodness, often mastered by culinary masterminds such as mothers, which are yet to enter the buffet table. That blend of mashed potato with Rui fish, encrusted in a mix of eggs and breadcrumbs is something that is coveted by more than one would like to guess. The best thing about this appetiser is that there is so much room for creativity! You could use your preferred fish, be it saltwater or freshwater. What you need: ½ kg fish fillet, boneless 5 large potatoes, peeled 3 tbsp onions, chopped 2 eggs 1 tbsp water Salt and pepper What to do: Cut the potatoes and place them under cold water with the fish in a pot. Next, boil till the potatoes are soft and the fish is cooked, drain off the water, and mash them all together. Mix in the chopped onions, eggs, and water. After thoroughly mixed through, ball up the mixture into patties. Season the patties with salt and pepper, and fry in a well-oiled pan until golden brown on both sides.

Chicken shashlik

Another classic and easy appetiser is chicken shashlik. Again, there is just so much one can do within this window, and mould the taste to you and your guests’ preferences. Instead of the boring and overdone tomatoes and onions, you could add in slices of avocado, potatoes, and other ingredients that would change the perception of the dish entirely.

What you need:

2 tbsp natural unsweetened yoghurt 4 garlic cloves, crushed 1 tsp ginger, peeled and finely grated ½ tsp black pepper 1 tsp ground coriander ¼ tsp chilli powder 1 tsp ground cumin ¼ tsp salt 2 tsp tomato puree 4 boneless chicken breasts, chopped into equal cubes 1 onion, cut into chunks 2 tomatoes, cut into quarters 1 green pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks 2 tbsp mustard oil

What to do:

In a bowl, mix the yoghurt, garlic, ginger, black pepper, coriander, chilli powder, cumin, salt and tomato puree together. Add the chicken, mix well, coating all the pieces. Cover and refrigerate for three hours. Then pierce the chicken into skewers, alternating the meat with chunks of onion, tomato and green pepper. Brush with oil, grilling in a pan till rich, golden brown.


This part of the meal is like the chorus of a song; it either makes it or breaks it. This is also the part where one could stray from the done-a-million-times biryani and pulao, and really get creative.

Spicy rice

This is a very healthy and diverse alternative to plain fragrant rice. It involves incorporating spices and various common vegetables into your rice to make a flavour-explosion of a dish, which really could go with anything: What you need: 400g basmati rice ½ a red onion, chopped ½ red pepper, chopped and deseeded ½ green pepper, finely chopped 1.5 litres chicken or vegetable stock Chicken (or vegetable) cubed (quantity as preferred) 70g green peas ½ tsp cumin 1 tsp turmeric 1 tsp chilli powder What to do: Pour a light coating of oil on pan. Add the chopped onion, peppers (green and red), turmeric, cumin, and chilli powder and cook until slightly brown. Prepare the chicken (or vegetable) stock. Add rice to the onions and peppers and mix well. Pour in the chicken stock and the cubed chicken. Mix well and bring to a boil. Cover with lid and let cook for 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally. After 10 minutes, add your green peas and cover with lid again. Serve when all the water has been absorbed.

Lamb curry

This one is for the ones out there who do not shy away from experimentation, especially when they know it can’t go wrong. Of course, it’s understandable if one does want to stay in their comfort zone of beef-and-chicken, but know this: if cooked properly, not many meats can beat the taste of lamb. Here’s a basic and delicious recipe. What you need: 700g boneless and pieced lamb ¼ cup vegetable oil 2 bay leaves 1 black cardamom pod 1 cinnamon stick 10 peppercorns 4 cloves 2 large onions, finely chopped 1 tbsp ginger paste 2 tsp minced garlic Salt to taste ½ tsp turmeric Chopped coriander, to taste 1½ tsp chilli powder 1½ tsp garam masala 1 cup diced tomato ½ cup plain yoghurt What to do: Heat oil in a large pan, add in the bay leaves, cardamom, cinnamon, peppercorns, and cloves. When the bay leaves begin to sizzle, add in onions and stir frequently until light golden. Add in ginger paste, minced garlic, chilli powder, and lamb. sprinkle the salt over the lamb. Keep stirring and cooking for about 20 minutes more, add water if needed. Add turmeric and garam masala with two tablespoons of water and stir for five minutes. Add diced tomatoes and coriander and stir frequently for five minutes. Finally, add four cups of water and let cook until meat gets tender. Lower the heat and pour in whisked yoghurt slowly. Cook the meat until the sauce has thickened. Serve with basmati rice.


Now for the grand finale! This is perhaps the highlight of a meal for many of us. Being Bengali, we have an undeniable sweet-tooth and, most often, we indulge it.

Shahi tukra

This is a classic and simple dessert that any person living in Puran Dhaka would be aware of. However, this delicious bundle of bread that is fried and then soaked in sweetness is not common in the wedding scenes of Bangladesh. The best part about this stack of bread pudding is that it is delicious regardless of whether it is served warm or chilled. What you need: For the rabri: 1 litre whole full fat milk 2 tbsp sugar ¼ tsp cardamom powder 1 tsp rose or kewra water 1 pinch of saffron For the sugar syrup: ½ cup sugar ¼ cup water 4 cardamoms For pan-fried bread: 5 to 6 slices of bread (preferred kind) 2 tbsp of ghee (or as required) Garnish: 12 to 15 almonds (boiled, peeled and sliced) Saffron (optional) 10 to 12 pistachios (peeled and sliced) What to do: Bring the milk to boil in a large pan. Stir continuously. Turn off heat when the milk has thickened. Add sugar and stir well. Add saffron, kewra or rose water, and nuts. Let the milk thicken for about an hour on low flame. Slice off the crusts of the breads. Heat ghee on a flat pan. Toast the bread slices on low heat, one side at a time. Soak up the oil using tissue paper. Mix sugar and water in a pan. Maintain low heat. The milk should come to a boil, cook until you get a ‘one thread consistency’. Switch off heat and add cardamoms. Make sure to not let the syrup sit for too long, otherwise it may crystallise. Soak the bread slices in the sugar syrup, pour the rabri on top of the soaked bread slices, and garnish with saffron and nuts.  


Lastly, an option for those of us who love simplicity. Hopefully, no one is a stranger to this perfect blend of “noodles,” sabudana, milk, and gelatin. The most wonderful thing about faluda is how you can be creative with it through various ingredients. The fruits that are recommended, however, are apples and banana slices.

What you need:

2 tsp basil seeds (soaked and drained) 2 cups milk 2 tbsp sugar 2 tsp rose water 1 packet thin stick noodles Fresh fruits, peeled and diced.

What to do:

Heat up milk and sugar in a pan. After six to seven minutes, add in noodles (broken up) and let boil. Keep stirring constantly. Once it comes to a boil, lower the heat and let simmer until the noodles cook. Gradually add in basil seeds and rose water. Take off heat and let cool, before refrigerating for four to five hours. Serve with ice cream and garnish with fresh fruits. Content provided by SteamPug writers