Mishti Doi: Sweet yoghurt


DSC_2142Don’t you just  love festivals? Back home , there are no dearth of festivals. This means food and frolic. ‘Shravan” is a very important month in Hindu calender. After the extreme heat comes the monsoons. It is welcomed by all. The poets and artists have all sung praises of monsoon. The  parched earth turns green again. The petrichor is nostalgic.

This is the time we celebrate a few festivals, one of which is a celebration of womanhood. The “Teej”. Similarities are drawn between mother earth and womanhood. Sweets are a must. Although the “Mishti Doi” is not a must have during Teej, but in keeping with my Bengali roots, I thought of having this dessert for Teej.

Unlike back home, where every street corner has a couple sweet shops, we in this little prairie town are not privy to that comfort.


This lack of availability though has got the creative juices going, and expatriates have come up  with a variety of ways of baking this delicacy at home.

This is how I do it. It works like a charm.

Give it a try, you will not be disappointed friends.

Recipe; Serves six.


Sweetened condensed milk.          1 tin

Buttermilk                                       twice the above amount.

Chopped pistachios                      To garnish


Preheat the oven to 175 degrees F.

In a oven proof bowl mix the condensed milk and buttermilk well. This is an important step, if not mixed well, the taste will not be evenly sweet.

Bake for one hour. Take the bowl out and let it cool. Garnish with chopped pistachios. Let it sit in the fridge overnight. Enjoy it next day, Thank me later.

Atte ke malpua: wholewheat flour pancakes, two ways.


There was a knock on the door. , Renu with her neatly tied plait of hair was standing with a plate in her hand. ‘Here are some sweets for Holi for you”, she smiled, showing her very white set of teeth. ‘Aww, Thank you, you didn’t have to you know.” We didn’t mean the last part though, in fact we used to wait in anticipation for this time.IMG_0981


As soon as we close the door behind her, we siblings attack the plate. Under the lace cover were the coveted ‘Malpuas”. Every year for holi our neighbour Sinha aunty made Malpuas., without fail. This was a speciality of rural Bihar, the place where we spent our childhood. Gifting sweets to friends and families on festive occasions was a tradition that was followed with great enthusiasm. The weather changing to warmer days and spring flowers already blooming, it was such a beautiful time.


Malpuas are Indian pancakes, comes in a variety of different forms, made of all purpose flour or a healthier version using whole wheat flour, sugar or jaggery, crispy or moist dunked in sugar syrup. The recipe I have here today is both, for the crispy version and soaked in syrup ones..


Fast forward a couple decades, snow showers in forecast with temperatures twenty below celsius. No, that is not going to dampen our spirit. The Malpuas are ready. We are going to throw colours on our friends and usher spring, be it just for fun.

Wish you all a very happy Holi.

Recipe; Made 10 small ones.


Whole wheat flour                                     1 cup

Sugar                                                        1/2 cup

Fennel seeds                                             1/2 tsp

Cardamom powder                                     1/4 tsp

Orange food colour                                       couple drops

Ghee                                                           1 Tbsp

Pistachio slivers                                            for garnish

For sugar syrup to soak;

Sugar                                                           1 cup

Water                                                            1 cup


Take the sugar in a bowl, pour hot water. wait for the sugar to dissolve and the mixture to cool.

Add the flour little by little, mix thoroughly to avoid any lumps. Add the ghee, cover and let it rest for about three hours.

Add the cardamom powder, fennel seeds, orange colour, add a couple more spoons of water if needed. The consistency should be that of any pancake batter.

Take a non stick pan with canola oil on medium heat. Take a tablespoon of batter and carefully pour on the oil. I had put a couple or even three at a time. Wait for a few minutes and flip them over. A light brown colour is what we are looking for

Drain the oil and collect on kitchen towel. Garnish with pistachio slivers.These are ready to be enjoyed as is.

Alternatively a thin sugar syrup can be made  by boiling a cup of water and sugar and the pancakes can be dipped in it for a few minutes.Take your pick.


Mawa Gujiya: Sweet Indian pastry for Holi


By Ratna


I  once  read   somewhere  that  the  passenger  inside  the  plane  looking   out of  the window  as  it  is  taking off,  keeps  thinking  about  the  place  she/he  is  leaving,  while  the  child  playing  below  looks  at  the  plane  taking  off  and  dreams about  the  far  off  land.


As  I  look  out  at  the  snow,  from  inside  my  Prairie  home,  I  dream  of  the  distant  land  that  I  left  behind.  March  corresponds  to  the  beautiful   Indian  month  of   Phalgun.  The  warmer  temperatures  bring  out  the  mango  blossoms,  the  air  heavy  with  their  faint  fragrance.  The   Palash,  ( Butea monosperma ),  or  The  Flame  of  the  forest,  in  full  bloom.  The  coral  flowers  on  the  naked  branches  stand  proudly  against  the  deep  blue  sky.  Nature  is  painted  red,  and  so  are  the  people.  Colours  are  exchanged  between  friends  and  strangers.  On  this  day  everybody  is  same.  No  discrimination,  no  refusal  either.   Holi  Hai,   It  is  Holi,  can  be  heard   on  the streets.


Just  as  cranberry  sauce  reminds  us  of  Thanksgiving,  Mawa  Gujiya  is  the  sweet  one  can’t  do  without  during  Holi.  Mawa  is  the  word  for  milk  solids.  Gujiya  is  a  pastry.  The  Mawa  filled  pastry  can  be  had  as  is  or  it  can  be  taken  a  step  further.  Dunked  in  sugar  syrup  with  a  final  sprinkle  of  Pistachio  nuts,  the  Gujiyas  are  now  ready.


The  deeper  significance  of  Holi  is  as  follows.  Devout  Prahlad  survived  every  time  his  atheist  father  tried  to  kill  him.  A  true  devotee’s  prayer  always  get  answered.

Recipe:  Makes  about  20-25.


For  the  Pastry,

All  purpose  flour  or  Maida                                          2  cups

Ghee                                                                              1/4  th  cup

Cold  water                                                                     As  needed

For  the  filling,

Mawa                                                                               100  gms

Sugar                                                                                Half  cup

Unsweetened  grated  coconut                                         Two  Tbsps

Coarsely  broken  almonds                                                Two  Tbsps

Raisins                                                                                One  Tbsps

Cardamom  powder                                                         Half tsp

Nutmeg  powder                                                             One  fourth  tsp

For  the  syrup,

Sugar                                                                                   One  cup

Water                                                                                    Half  cup

For  the  garnish,

Finely  chopped  Pistachios                                                   Two  Tbsps


Take  the  flour  and  ghee  in  a  bowl.  Take  a  bit  in  between  the  palms  of  your  hand  and  rub,  such  that  the  flour  is  coated  evenly  with  ghee.  Now  add  cold  water  a  bit  at  a  time,  and  make  a  tight  dough.  Cover  and  let  sit  for  half  hour.

Place  the  Mawa  slab in  a  pan  on  medium  heat.  Crumble  into  small  pieces  and    stir untill  it turns  a  light  brown  colour.  Switch  off  the  gas.  When  this  has  cooled  a  little,  add  the  other  ingredients  listed  under ”  fillings  “.  I  used  my  hand  to  bring  everything  together.

Uncover  the  dough  and  make  about  20-25  balls.  Roll  out  each  to  about  3  inches  diameter.  Place  about  one  to  one  and  half  tsp  filling  on  it  and  fold  in  half.  Use  a  bit  of  water  and  seal  the  margins.  Pinch  it  hard  for  an  excellent  seal.  So  now  it  is  a  semicircle.  You  can  leave  the  edges  as  they  are  or  flute  them  with  the  end  of  the  fork.  If  you  want  to  be  fancy,  twist  the  ends  to  make  it  look  as  I  have  done  here.

Take  oil  in  a  frying  pan  such  that  the  gujiyas  are  completely  immersed.  Keep  the gas  in  medium.  Pinch  a  tiny  piece  of  dough  and  release  it  in  the  pan.  The  oil  is  ready  if  the  tiny  piece  floats  up.  Carefully  fry  the  gujiyas  until  light  brown  in  colour.  Place  them  on  absorbent  paper  napkins.

Combine  the  sugar  and  water  to  make  the  syrup.  Let  it  come  to   boil  then  crank  the  heat  down  a  bit.  Take  a  drop  of  this  syrup  in  a  bowl.  When  slightly  cooled  dip  the  index  finger  in  it.  Touch  the  thumb  to  the   index  finger  and  separate  slowly.  The  syrup  is  of  the  right  consistency  if  a  thin  string  of  congealed  syrup  is  formed..  This  is  called  ‘one  string’  syrup.  If  you  are  using  a  candy  thermometer,  the  syrup  is  done  at  about  110  degrees  Celsius .   Dip  the  gujiyas  in  the  syrup  and  take  them  out  right away.  Let  them  sit  on  a  wire  rack  to  catch  the  drip.

When  they  are  still  moist  dust  them  with  the  ground  pistachios.  Gujiyas  are  now  ready  to  enjoy.

Inside  Scoop;

Recipe  was  adapted  from  Nishamadhulika.com  with  a  few  changes.

Do not  overfill  the  Gujiyas.

The  fancy  folding  of  the  sides  need  a  bit  of  practise.

Here  is  a  video  that  can  be  helpful.

Mawa  can  be  bought  from  Indian  grocery  store.