Recipe: Bangladeshi Nakshi Pitha

Published on
April 23, 2021 at 2:10:00 PM PDT April 23, 2021 at 2:10:00 PM PDTrd, April 23, 2021 at 2:10:00 PM PDT

This popular traditional and ornamental Bangladeshi appetizer is a crowd pleaser. Often served at festivals or while entertaining guests in villages, these fried rice cakes make for the perfect savoury or sweet treat. With a delicate pattern pressed into the dough, Nashki Pitha are beautiful, crispy, and flakey. They're also fun to make with kids!


• 1 ½ cups of water
• ½ tsp salt
• 1 cup rice flour
• ½ tsp cardamom powder
• ½ tsp anise, finely crushed
• ½ litre cooking oil
• 1 large toothpick (or thorns of a palm tree) for crafting a design

Additional ingredients to make it a sweet treat!

• 1 cup sugar
• ½ cup water
• 1 tsp honey
• 3 cardamom pods


1. Bring salted water to a boil. Mix flour and spices. Slowly add dry mix to boiled water to make a dough, stirring constantly. Lower the heat and mix out the lumps using a wooden spoon. Knead well. When thickened into a smooth dough, remove from heat, cover, and let rest for 10 minutes.

2. Using damp hands, divide the dough into 6 even portions. Roll into balls. On a lightly floured or non-stick surface, press into ½ inch thick flattened cakes.

3. With your finger, lightly spread a few drops of oil around the top of the cake. Using a toothpick or other slender tool, draw a design into the dough cake. Traditional designs mimic flowers or leaves, repeating lines and curves in tight patterns. Contemporary designs use cookie-cutters. Cover with a tea towel and let the dough cakes rest to dry for 1-2 hours.

4. Heat cooking oil. If using a deep fryer, heat to 350F. If frying on the stove, heat oil until bubbles form around a dry wooden spoon when submerged in the hot oil. Fry cakes in the oil until golden brown. Remove and dry using paper towels.

5. Serve hot. Makes 10-12.

Make it sweet!

5b. Make a syrup by dissolving sugar into water, then add honey to avoid crystallization. Add cardamom pods for flavour and simmer on low for 2 minutes. Dip the fried nokshi pithas and coat evenly on both sides.