Bakarkhani: A Timeless Tale Of The Ramadan Bread
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Transport your taste buds to Old Dhaka with bakarkhani, a flaky flatbread that has delighted generations. This irresistible snack will have you craving more with each tender, multilayered bite. Crafted with care, bakarkhani brings the rich aroma of butter and hints of sweetness dancing on your tongue. Its origins trace back to the royal Mughal courts, but today, you'll find locals enjoying this bread morning, noon, and night. With a cup of chai or on its own, bakarkhani is the perfect companion.    

She also added, "with flavours this warm and nostalgic, it's easy to see why Bakarkhani has been cherished for generations. This sweet treat evokes the very soul of the city."  

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Origin/History of Bakarkhani  

The tasty flatbread bakarkhani is deeply woven into the fabric of Dhaka, but it didn't actually originate there. This aromatic bread traces its roots to Afghanistan and Persia, brought to Bengal long ago by Mughal conquerors and Afghan refugees fleeing turmoil.   

It's the 1600s, and rebellious Afghans have escaped to Sylhet to dodge Mughal rule after being defeated in battle. As newcomers in the region, they're forced to bake a traditional bread from home—bakarkhani—for their new rulers. Over time, the moreish flatbread makes its way from the royal Mughal kitchens into the lively bazaars and streets of Old Dhaka. Locals take the bread into their hearts and homes, reinventing it with local ingredients like semolina and milk.  

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Bakarkhani even stars in age-old Dhaka wedding traditions. Elaborately decorated pieces called bhigaroti or bhijaroti are sent from the bride's family to the groom's as part of the marital exchange. Today, bakarkhani remains a beloved snack across Dhaka, though mass production has altered some traditional preparation styles. But in every bite of this cross-cultural bread, you can still taste the layers of history that shaped it, and that's the real magic. This enduring food has brought people together for centuries, and it continues to do so today.  

Why Is Bakarkhani Famous in Bhopal During Ramadan?  

The Nawabs who ruled Bhopal loved elaborate foods, and Bakarkhani was one of their favourite dishes. It was flavoured with aromatic spices like cardamom and fennel. Over time, the bread became popular all over Bhopal. Now you can find it being sold by street vendors and served in restaurants across the city during the holy month of Ramadan. It's often eaten with tea, curries, or on its own. Bakarkhani is more than just a tasty snack; it also represents the hospitality and food traditions of Bhopal.   

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  1. All-purpose flour (maida) (500 g)  
  2. ¼ cup fine semolina (sooji)  
  3. ¼ cup melted ghee (plus more for rolling and slathering over ready roti)  
  4. ½ cup granulated white sugar  
  5. ½ teaspoon salt  
  6. 1 teaspoon of cardamom powder  
  7. 1 large egg  
  8. 1 tablespoon white poppy seeds (skip if not available)  
  9. 2 teaspoons of active dry yeast  
  10. Milk to knead the dough (approximately 1 cup)

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Make The Dough  

  1. Mix together flour, semolina, ghee, sugar, salt, cardamom powder, egg, poppy seeds, and yeast in a large mixing bowl (or parat).    
  2. Gradually add about 1 cup of milk and knead to form a soft, chapati-like dough.   
  3. Knead the dough for 4-5 minutes.  
  4. Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and let it rest for an hour.  

Roll The Dough    

  1. After the dough has rested, knead it for 1 minute, then divide it into 8 equal balls (approximately 4.2 oz, 120 g each).  
  2. Take one ball and roll it out with a rolling pin into a 4-inch circle.   
  3. Brush 1⁄2 teaspoon ghee on top of the circle and fold into a semicircle.    
  4. Spread 1⁄4 teaspoon ghee on top of the semicircle and fold into a triangle.   
  5. Fold the triangle into a smooth, round shape again.   
  6. Roll into a 6-inch circle about 1⁄4-inch thick and prick all over with a fork. Use a little dry flour if the dough sticks.  
  7. Arrange the rounds on a baking sheet in a single layer.   

Also read: Bakarkhani: This Kashmiri Breakfast Is Symbolic Of A Tragic Love Story 

Bake The Roti  

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).   
  2. Place the tray on the middle rack and bake for 10–12 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. 
  3. Remove from the oven and brush generously with ghee.   
  4. Serve hot with your choice of curry.  
  5. Bake the remaining rotis in the same way.