An Old Favorite: Bangladeshi Meat Patties

Hand pies made with ground meat—one of my favorite kinds of food. So many variations created by different cultures throughout the world, including two recipes I’ve already shared: Jamie Oliver’s Sher Ping Pancakes and empanadas. I love these recipes because you can make them in advance (i.e., during naptime). Plus, when we’re traveling, they’re a good alternative to a cold (but, equally delicious) Bündnerfleisch sandwich. It’s easy to throw a few meat pies in a small cooler bag that I can reheat later in a hotel microwave.

Today’s meat pie version—dairy, egg and nut-free—comes from Bangladesh. Years ago, I attended a dinner party in Western Massachusetts that featured a huge feast of home-cooked Bangladeshi foods. Afterwards, the generous hostess shared her recipe with me for meat patties, a very popular Bangladeshi snack eaten throughout the year. Typically served with hot sauce or ketchup, she told me you can use any kind of meat, including shrimp or vegetables, as filling.

I’ve been making these since before my boys were born, and now that I’ve found allergy-friendly puff pastry in Switzerland, they’re back in regular rotation.


At Coop, along with the pre-made pastry crust, I’ve also been using its ultra-convenient and allergy-friendly puff pastry—“Blätterteig” (in German) or “Pâte feuilletée” (in French). It contains gluten, but the allergy label doesn’t list milk, eggs or nuts, so it’s safe for my son.


Last week on the Great British Bake-Off—my latest TV obsession from the UK—the contestants made their own puff pastry. I didn’t even realize people actually made this stuff themselves? I love homemade baked goods, but after watching them roll out sheets and sheets of paper-thin dough, I just don’t think I’ll ever have the patience for making puff pastry.

Thankfully, Coop’s version works perfectly well for Bangladeshi meat patties, which we had yesterday at lunchtime with salad, roasted chickpeas and red grapes.


Meat Patties

Special thanks to our friend for sharing this recipe, which I’ve adapted slightly. Makes about 10-12 patties.


Sautéed onions:
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil

Beef mixture, Part 1:
1 lb. or 1/2 kilogram ground beef
1 cup of water
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon of vegetable or canola oil
2 teaspoons cardamom
1 tsp. ginger, freshly grated
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
A pinch of red chili powder

Beef mixture, Part 2:
1 handful of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1-2 tablespoons of flour
Salt and pepper, to taste

Puff pastry:
640 grams puff pastry

1. In a large pan, add 1 tablespoon of the oil and sauté the onion until soft and transparent.

2. Mix together the ingredients for Part 1 of the beef mixture in a large bowl, and then add to the large pan with the onions. Cook over medium-high heat until all the liquid has evaporated, about 5-10 minutes.

3. Add fresh cilantro, flour and salt and pepper to the beef mixture and stir until well-blended. Cool the mixture slightly.

4 .Unroll the puff pastry and cut into squares. Place the square onto an oiled baking sheet. Fill the center of the square with about 1-2 tablespoons of the slightly cooled beef mixture. Fold a corner to the opposite side, to create a triangle. Seal the edges by pressing on the dough with oiled fingers. Coat the tops of the patties with a little oil (or egg white, if you can).


5. Bake in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes at 190°C/375°F until golden brown. Serve with hot sauce.



I’m working on a British baked good, hopefully for Friday’s post… Have a great week, and thanks for visiting my blog!


Rainy Day Empanadas and Baked Apples

Today was a rainy Saturday, so we spent most of it indoors. I tried taking advantage of the weather by making allergy-friendly empanadas for lunch and baked apples for our afternoon, post-nap snack. With nearly all the grocery stores closed on Sunday, I try to get all our shopping and baking/cooking done on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we have more time to spend together as a family.

We’ve been reading through the Laura Ingalls Wilder books with our 5-year old, and living here almost feels like we’re back in that era when Sunday meant a day of rest. In Switzerland, we’re apparently not even supposed to do laundry on Sundays, even though we sneak in a load from time to time. For now, I’m attempting to fully embrace our new lifestyle, including my new role as a stay-at-home mom.

Butternut Squash and Mushroom Empanadas

I love empanadas, and since we’ve moved here, I’ve started making them at home. My favorite empanada filling is beef with raisins, olives and hard-boiled eggs, but we’ve had to skip the eggs for now because of my son’s allergy. For today’s lunch, I made butternut squash and chanterelle empanadas with a hint of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. At our farmers’ market, a vendor always has a table piled high with chanterelles, something I rarely cooked with in the United States. Now, they’re easy to find and so delicious.

I tried using some vegan empanada dough recipes, but today I used a new recipe with flax meal as an egg substitute (1 tablespoon flax meal plus 3 tablespoons water). The dough tasted great and was really easy to handle (i.e., not sticky). It called for white vinegar, but cider vinegar worked out just fine.

My oldest son wasn’t thrilled about the mushrooms, but I filled some with refried beans, and they were well-received. You can fill empanadas with anything, and they’re easy to make in advance—during naptime, for example. The leftovers will serve as our lunch tomorrow, which may occur during an excursion to a nearby castle.

Baked Apples

At our local bookstore, I picked up my first Swiss cookbook. Most of the recipes call for lots of dairy and eggs, but this one happened to avoid my son’s allergens: Baked apples stuffed with sweetened cornmeal. It was simple to make, and we used apples from the farmers’ market. My food-allergic son wouldn’t touch it (sometimes he can be quite finicky), but we’ll definitely try it again.

I’ve started a Facebook page for Dairy-Free Switzerland. Please click the link and “like” the page to receive updates about new blog posts and to share/gather information about living with food allergies in Switzerland and beyond. Thanks so much!

Chinese Pancakes and Maple Bundt Cake

My in-laws have been visiting us, and I’m sad to see them leave today. I miss having them so close by. We love Switzerland, but being far away from family and friends is the hardest part of living here.

With the extra pairs of eyes around to watch the kids, I’ve had more time to myself in the kitchen. Plus, there’s been a larger audience to test out my allergy-friendly cooking experiments. This week, I tried out two new recipes that I wanted to share.

Sher Ping Pancakes

My wonderful colleagues purchased a great cookbook for me as a going away present—Best of the Best Cookbook Recipes: The Best Recipes from the 25 Best Cookbooks of the Year (2011). I tried out a few recipes before we left, which were all delicious and easy. Yesterday, I tried another new recipe for our family lunch: Jamie Oliver’s Sher Ping Pancakes.

These Chinese pancakes took a little more time than I usually have, but they were still easy and tasted very good. I used a mixture of ground beef and pork, and substituted crushed red pepper in place of the Szechuan pepper. It’s a great make-ahead recipe; the pancakes would be perfect for a picnic lunch when it’s hard to find an allergy-friendly restaurant.

My generous brother-in-law purchased a huge jug of Vermont maple syrup for us, and my husband’s thoughtful parents hauled it in their suitcases to Switzerland. We haven’t seen maple syrup in the stores here, and certainly not a gallon of the grade B stuff we received. I took advantage of our syrup stockpile and made a bundt cake with nearly 2 cups of this very special ingredient. Here’s a modified version of a Vegetarian Times recipe:


Maple Syrup Bundt Cake


3 1/2 cups white or whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups and 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sucre vanillé (powdered vanilla sugar, since liquid vanilla seems hard to come by here)
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 1/3 cups water
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (or use the glaze recipe below)

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Use non-dairy butter and flour to coat a 10-cup Bundt pan.

2. Mix dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in bowl.

3. Mix wet ingredients: maple syrup, oil, vanilla sugar, cider vinegar, and 1 1/3 cups water in a separate bowl. Stir in flour mixture until just blended.

4. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake 50 to 60 minutes.


Maple Syrup Glaze

I adapted this recipe from the Naptime Chef’s version because I didn’t have enough powdered sugar on hand.

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons dairy-free margarine
½ cup sugar

Mix ingredients together and warm slowly over medium-high heat. Stir constantly until the sugar dissolve, it becomes smooth and thickens slightly. Cool glaze to room temperature. Then, use a spoon to drizzle it over the bundt cake.

Don’t forget! National Bundt Day is on November 15, 2012. I will be featuring three allergy-friendly bundt cakes—recipes to be determined…