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Anita Amreen’s authentic Bangladeshi dishes will leave you craving more

by Mahmood Hossain

Anita’s beautiful accidents are the secret ingredients.

By Mahmood Hossain

Like many other unforgettable discoveries, introducing Bangladeshi cuisine to virgin stomachs cannot be justifiably explained; it must be experienced. In Bangladeshi kitchens, skills are handed down by generations, with each household’s version of staple dishes different from their next-door neighbours’, yet equally enticing. Then, there are those who stand out above the rest, where word-of-mouth of their cooking becomes legend, and people come to revere their kitchen prowess.

Anita Amreen, a Bangladeshi expat working and living in Bangkok, happens to be such a figure – a master hostess who has been gifted by the culinary gods. Anita finds excuses to cook Bangladeshi meals that can easily make it onto a fine dining menu, leaving everyone salivating for more. What makes her creations unique is her ability to add ingredients and adjust measurements by accident (not by experiment) to elevate each dish. It’s unexplainable. Others have family kitchen secrets and recipes, but she has beautiful accidents as her secret weapon.

Bangladeshi cuisine consists of a wide variety of dishes, such as Bhuna khichuri (roasted/fried meat with rice and lentils); Panta iilish (soaked rice and ilish fish); Kacchi biryani (mutton biryani); Morog polao (Bangladeshi chicken pulao/pilaf); and an array of bhartas, with Baingan bharta (roasted mashed eggplants with spices) being one of the more popular ones. Not to mention the number one snack of choice: Fuchka (Puchka), a deep-fried crisp flatbread with spiced fillings. Many of you know it as pani puri.

Alongside the savoury selection, there is Bangladesh’s love for sweets, boasting the likes of Mishti doi (Bangladeshi yoghurt), Roshogulla (a traditional syrupy sweet), Shemai (Bangladeshi sweet vermicelli), and the list goes on. Be it spicy or sweet, Bangladeshis effortlessly pack an array of ingredients that deliver an explosion of flavours and redefine the meaning of mouth-watering.

Anita shared with Masala two heartwarming recipes from her vast repertoire. These two dishes are considered comfort food in Bangladesh, especially during rainy days, and are done differently in each household. This is Anita’s rendition of a go-to comfort meal that always hits the spot; rain or shine.



Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 35 minutes

Serving: 5

Ingredients for the chicken:

• 1kg chicken wings (or chicken thighs/legs)
• 4 whole chillies
• ¼ cup mustard oil
• 1 cup onion, chopped
• 1 tsp garlic paste
• 2 tbsp ginger paste
• 1 tbsp red chilli powder
• 1 tbsp cumin powder
• 1 tbsp coriander powder
• ½ tsp turmeric powder
• 1 tsp sugar
• ½ cup onions/shallots, fried
• ½ cup coriander leaves
• 1 tsp garam masala powder
• Salt to taste

Ingredients for marinade:

• 1 tsp chilli powder
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 chicken cube
• 1 tsp coriander powder
• 1 tsp cumin powder

Whole spices for tempering:

• 1 tsp panch phoron
• 2 bay leaves
• 4-5 pieces of cardamom
• 3-4 cinnamon sticks
• 4-5 whole black pepper
• 6 cloves
• 2 dry red chillies


1. Marinate chicken in all the marinade ingredients. Set aside for at least 20 minutes.
2. Heat oil in a wide pan for easy stirring. Add whole spices for tempering. Stir until fragrant, or for up to 1 minute.
3. Add chopped onion, a pinch of salt, and fry until golden brown.
4. Add ginger garlic paste and powders (red chili, cumin, turmeric, and coriander) with a splash of water. On medium heat, consistently stir for at least 10 minutes or until oil separates & floats to the top.
5. Add the marinated chicken, mixing it thoroughly. Consistently stir for at least 7 minutes. Add salt to taste.
6. Add 1 cup hot water and ½ cup fried onions, and stir every few minutes.
7. Add 1 tsp sugar and continue to cook with the lid on, stirring every few minutes.
8. Once the gravy has thickened, add 4 whole chillies and the garam masala powder.
9. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
10. Garnish with coriander leaves, and serve hot.



Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Serving: 6


• 2 cups rice (short-grained)
• ½ cup moog or moong daal
• ½ cup moshur or masur daal
• ¼ cup pure ghee or mustard oil
• 1 cup onions, chopped
• ½ tsp turmeric powder
• 1 tsp chili powder
• 1 tsp coriander powder
• ½ tsp garam masala powder
• 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
• 2 bay leaves
• 3-4 cloves
• 2 cinnamon sticks
• 3 cardamom pods
• 1.5 tsp ginger paste
• 1 tbsp garlic
• 6 green chillies, whole
• 1 chicken stock cube
• 4 cups hot water
• 3 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
• Salt to taste


1. Dry roast the moong daal on a pan for 3-4 minutes. Be careful not to char it.
2. Soak the moog and moshur daal in cold water for 20 minutes.
3. Wash the rice and soak it in water for 20 minutes. Drain water and set aside.
4. Add ghee or mustard oil, heat in a pan. Add in the bay leaves, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon sticks, and cumin seeds, and stir for a minute.
5. Add in onions, a pinch of salt, and fry until golden brown.
6. Add in a splash of water along with the powders (chilli, coriander, turmeric, cumin, garam masala powder), ginger garlic paste, and one chicken stock cube.
7. Keep stirring until it’s mixed well or when the oil separates & floats to the top.
8. Add in both daals. Stir for five minutes. Add in ½ cup of water, stir and put the lid on. Stir occasionally until the daal is cooked through, water has reduced to the bare minimum, and oil has floated to the top.
9. Add in the rice, stirring gently until rice grains are mixed in and lightly fried (not charred).
10. On medium-high heat, add 4 cups of boiling hot water. When the water has reduced and is level with the top layer of the rice, reduce the heat to its lowest setting. Add in 6 whole chillies.
11. Cover completely and cook on the lowest setting for 15-20 minutes.


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