How To Make Shingara - Recipe by Dina Begum

These delicious pyramid-shaped pastries are a popular street food all over Bangladesh.

Handmade nigella-seed-flecked pastry is filled with a spiced potato mixture containing green chillies, ginger and Bengali five-spice. The pastry is flaky but soft and balances out the filling, and each bite is carb-on-carb goodness.

I remember having these in my teens, when visiting Bangladesh. Someone from my family could always be relied upon to buy a few portions of piping hot shingara from the local bazaar, just in time for evening tea.

Serve with a tamarind chutney for a wonderful treat.


Made in Bangladesh by Dina Begum (Hardie Grant, £28), Photography by Haarala Hamilton and Habibul Haque

Ingredients for Shingara Serves: 16

  • Vegetable oil, for deep-frying

For the pastry

  • 225 g (8 oz/1 ¾ cups) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons nigella seeds
  • 70 ml (2 ½ fl oz/ ¼ cup) water

For the filling

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons panch phoron (Bengali five-spice)
  • ½ small onion, finely chopped
  • 2.5 cm (1 in) piece of fresh root ginger, coarsely grated
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 green chillies, chopped
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 baking potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes

How to make Shingara

  1. To make the pastry, combine the flour, salt and oil in a bowl and mix together with your fingers to evenly incorporate the oil into the flour.
  2. Add the nigella seeds then add the water a little at a time (you may need more or less depending on your flour) and mix between each addition until the dough is soft but firm.
  3. Knead for 3–4 minutes then cover with a cloth or cling film (plastic wrap) and rest for 20–30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, make the potato filling. Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan over a medium heat, then add the panch phoron.
  5. Once you hear the popping of the spices, add the onion and ginger, followed by the salt and green chillies, and saute for 1 minute.
  6. Add the remaining spices and cook for a further minute until the onion has softened a little. Now add the potato cubes and mix well to coat in the spices.
  7. Add a few tablespoons of water and bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and cook for 10–12 minutes, or until the potato pieces have softened.
  8. Take off the heat and mash the mixture so that the potato pieces are broken up.
  9. Taste for seasoning, then transfer to a plate or shallow bowl and spread out in an even layer to cool completely.
  10. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead well for at least 5 minutes to relax the dough.
  11. Divide it into 8 equal portions and use a rolling pin to roll out each piece into an oval shape about 15.5 cm (6 in) in length and 9 cm (3 ½ in) in diameter.
  12. Slice each oval widthways across the middle.
  13. Lightly dab water along the cut edge, then, holding the pastry in your hand, make a cone shape by bringing the cut edge together, sealing it with the water, with the rounded side looking like the upside-down peak of a baseball cap.
  14. Fill the cone with about 1 heaped teaspoon of the potato mixture, then dab the seam created by the joined cut edges with water, bring the pastry peak over the top and press into the moistened pastry so that you form a pyramid shape.
  15. Repeat to make the remaining shingaras.
  16. Pour oil into a wok or deep frying pan to a depth of 8 cm (or, just over 3 in) over a high heat.
  17. To check the oil is hot enough for frying, you can drop a piece of bread into it – the oil should bubble around the edges.
  18. Once the oil is hot, lower in a few shingaras and reduce the heat to low. The temperature should be between 175ºc-180ºc.
  19. Fry the shingaras for 6–7 minutes, turning gently for an even golden colour, then transfer to a plate lined with paper towels while you make the remaining batches. Serve.
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