Sumptuous celebrations | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 23, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 23, 2019

Sumptuous celebrations

Til er Bora


250g white sesame seeds

1 tbsp rice powder

3-4 chopped green chillies

2 large onions, chopped

A pinch of turmeric powder

Salt to taste

Oil for deep frying


Wash the sesame seeds and blend to make a paste. Mix all the ingredients except the oil. Now make small balls from the mixture. Heat oil in a pan. Fry the bora on medium low heat till it turns light brown and crisp. Remove from oil and serve hot.

Achari Khichuri


2 cup rice

¼ cup red lentil

¼ cup yellow lentils

2 onions thinly sliced

2 clove garlic roughly chopped

4 green chillies

1 tsp paanch phoron

½ tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp red chilli powder

½ tsp garam masala powder

½ tsp cumin powder

3 tbsp mustard oil

2 tbsp mango pickles

Some green peas

Salt and sugar to taste

Warm water


Wash rice and lentils properly in a bowl. Add onion, garlic, and all the above mentioned spice powders in the bowl. Then add 2 tablespoons of mustard oil and a little salt. Mix everything very well and keep aside for 15 minutes. Heat oil in a pan. Add paanch phoron and dry red chilli. Sauté for few seconds. Add the rice and lentil mixture in the hot oil. Mix well and fry for 3-4 minutes. Then add water and salt. Add green chillies, green peas and a pinch of sugar. Cook on high heat, and let the water come to a boil, after which add mango pickle and turn down the heat. Cover the pan and cook for 15-20 minutes. Stir and cook on very low heat for another 4-5 minutes. Now turn off the heat and let it rest for a few minutes. Serve with a dollop of ghee on top.


Coconut and Semolina Barfi


1 cup semolina

2 cups coconut, desiccated

2 cups sugar

¼ cup ghee

½ cup full cream milk

½ tsp cardamom powder


Grease a square baking tray with ghee. Heat ghee in a heavy bottom pan and add semolina, and roast it until slightly golden and fragrant. Once the semolina is done, remove it, and in the same pan, add desiccated coconut. Dry roast for 3-4 minutes, and remove from pan and keep aside. Into the same pan, add sugar and milk and boil it for 5-7 minutes, or until it starts thickening. Add cardamom powder, semolina and coconut. Mix well and stir continuously, and cook for a few minutes until the mixture starts thickening and forms a solid mass. Transfer the mixture to the greased tray. Let it set and cool for about an hour, and cut into desired shaped pieces. Serve.

Cheese Stuffed Pita Pocket Bread

This is a Middle Eastern recipe with a generous portion of various cheeses filled inside the pita before baking. It is simple, and works as a treat for breakfast, snack, or even as a warm sandwich. The cheese stuffed pita also makes great tiffin for children.


For the dough

250ml warm water

2¼ tsp instant dry yeast

2 tbsp honey

4 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp salt

3 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup all-purpose flour, for kneading

For the filling

1 cup cheese

¼ cup sautéed onions

½ tsp garlic minced

½ cup parsley, finely chopped

¼ tsp pepper

½ tsp salt


For the dough, combine warm water, yeast, honey, salt, and oil. Stir well and leave to rest for 5 minutes, until foamy. Place 2 cups flour in a bowl, add the yeast mixture, use a wooden spoon or spatula and mix thoroughly for a minute; then add the remaining flour and combine.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead for 3-4 minutes until the dough is still soft, but elastic (when you press the dough with your fingers, the dough should spring back). Cover with cling-wrap and let rest in a warm place for about 1½ to 2 hours. The dough should at least double in size.

Prepare the filling while the dough is proving. In a bowl, combine cheese, sautéed onions, garlic, and herbs. Mix well and season with salt and pepper at the end.

Roll the pita, once the dough has doubled in size. First transfer to a lightly floured surface again, and divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Roll each ball into a 6-inch disc. Place on a parchment-lined the baking tray, lightly dusted with flour, to prevent sticking. Place about 2-3 tbsp of the cheese filling on one half of the pita. Lightly brush the edges with water and fold the other half over the filling. Press gently to hold the edges. Let rest on the tray for 30 minutes. Covered with a dry towel or cheesecloth.

To bake the pita, heat the oven to 220°C/ 440°F for at least 20 minutes. Brush the proofed pitas with an egg wash. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds. Place the baking tray on the centre rack. Bake for 8-10 minutes until puffed up and golden. Cool them on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then keep them wrapped in a kitchen cloth/towel to keep them soft.


Paneer er Kheer


1 cup grated paneer

3 cups milk

½ cup condensed milk

¼ tsp cardamom powder

¼ cup chopped nuts


Boil milk and grated paneer in a pan. Stir continuously. Now add the condensed milk to this mixture. Let it be on low flame for 5-6 minutes. Add the chopped nuts and cardamom powder. Stir well. Kheer is ready to be served. You may serve it hot or cold.


Bhapa Ilish


6 pc Ilish fish

1 tbsp mustard seeds paste

1 tsp red chilli powder

½ tsp turmeric powder

3 green chillies

Salt to taste

2 tbsp mustard

1 tbsp lemon juice


Mix all the ingredients except the green chillies. Leave the mix for half an hour. Now, grease an aluminium container with mustard oil, and put the fish on it. Pour a bit of mustard oil and green chillies on top. Now, heat water in a deep bottomed vessel. Put the aluminium container on the water and cover it. Put something heavy on the lid. Water should not get inside the container. Cook for 1 hour or until the fish is completely done. Remove from heat and serve.


Dry beef curry


1kg beef chuck steak, cut into small cubes

2 tbsp ground coriander

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp chilli powder

4 garlic cloves, crushed

2 inch ginger, crushed

3 tbsp lemon juice

4 tbsp oil

2 tbsp tomato purée

Salt to taste

Mint and fresh chilli for garnishing


Combine coriander, cumin, turmeric, pepper, chilli, ginger, garlic and lemon juice in a bowl to form a paste. Set aside. Heat oil in a large pan over high heat. Add the beef. Cook, while stirring, for 4-5 minutes, or until browned. Transfer meat pieces to a bowl and reduce heat to medium. Add the spices’ paste. Cook for a few minutes or until meat is coated with spices paste. Add tomato paste and a little water. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 1 hour. Remove lid. Cook uncovered, for a further 15 minutes. When oil floats over to the top, remove from heat. Serve topped with mint and fresh chilli.


Alur jhuri bhaja (Grated Bengali fried potato)


½ kg potato, grated or thinly sliced 

½ fried chilli powder

Salt to taste

Oil for deep fry


Peel the potatoes and wash them. Soak the grated potatoes for 30 minutes. Drain water well and spread the potatoes over a paper towel. Heat oil in a deep frying-pan. Fry the potatoes until light brown and crisp. Drain from oil and keep on a paper towel. Sprinkle salt and pepper according to your taste and serve.


Peanut halwa


2 cups peanuts

1 cup milk

4 tbsp ghee

1 cup sugar

¼ cup mixed nuts


Take 2 cups of peanuts in a pan and roast for 5-7 minutes. After roasting, let it cool down completely. Then in a blender, add roasted peanuts and grind it into coarse powder.

Now, heat ghee in a pan and add peanuts, stirring continuously on low flame, until golden brown in colour. Then add milk into the pan and stir continuously. Cover and simmer on low heat until peanuts soak all the milk. Open the lid and stir in between repeatedly. Once the milk gets soaked, add sugar into the halwa. Add mixed nuts. Mix well and stir. Stir halwa for a further 4-5 minutes to let the sugar dissolve completely. Remove from heat. Garnish with the mixed nuts, and serve.


Potato halwa


2 cups potato, boiled, peeled and mashed

1 cup full cream milk

1½ cup sugar or as per taste

¼ tsp cardamom powder

¼ cup ghee

¼ cup mixed nuts, chopped


Heat ghee in a non-stick pan. Add mashed potatoes and fry on low heat till it turns slightly golden in colour. Add milk, sugar, cardamom powder, and mix well. There should not be any lumps. Stir continuously until halwa turns dry. Add mixed nut and mix well. Cook for another 2 minutes. Garnish with nuts, and preserved rose petals, and serve.


Pumpkin halwa


2 cups pumpkin, grated and blanched

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup mawa

2 tbsp cashews or pistachio, chopped

1 pinch cardamom powder

½ cup milk


Heat ghee in a pan. Fry the nuts till golden and keep aside. To the same pan, add grated pumpkin. Fry for 4-5 minutes or till the raw smell is gone, then pour the milk and cardamom powder and cook until milk is absorbed. Add sugar and cook till the sugar melts, and the halwa thickens. Add mawa and half of the fried cashews. Mix well and stir continuously for 1 minute. Remove from heat, garnish with rest of the cashews and serve.


Doodh dulari

Doodh Dulari is a popular sweet dish of Pakistan. This dessert is often featured in weddings too. The base for this recipe is regular shahi vermicelli kheer. And this kheer is then peppered with colourful gems like varieties of jelly, roshogollas or golapjamun, some nuts, and finally, fresh homemade mawa.


2 litre milk

½ cup condensed milk

1 tbsp corn flour

½ cup roasted vermicelli

1 packet strawberry jelly

1 packet green jelly

250g rabri

200g cream

250g mini roshogolla

½ cup mawa, scrambled


In a large pan, boil milk for 20 minutes or till thick, add ½ cup vermicelli, and 1 tablespoon of corn flour dissolved in ¼ cup of milk. Add condensed milk and mix well and cook till thick. Remove from heat and allow it to cool completely. Dissolve each jelly packet with 1 cup of water and set till firm, cut into cubes, and add to the cooled milk gently. Now add cream, rubri and mawa. Pour the mixture into a serving bowl. Garnish with the mini roshogollas and mawa. Serve chilled.


Stuffed sweet pita


4 mini pitas, split open

¼ cup almond butter

¼ cup chocolate-hazelnut spread

1 banana, thinly sliced

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting


Spread one side of the inside each pita with 1 tablespoon almond butter and other side with 1 tablespoon of chocolate-hazelnut spread. Sandwich one quarter of the banana slices of each pita. Cook on a grill pan over medium heat until the chocolate spread has melted, 4-5 minutes per side. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately.


Photo: Collected

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