Mishti Doi: Sweet yoghurt

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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.

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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.

Ingredients;

Sweetened condensed milk.          1 tin

Buttermilk                                       twice the above amount.

Chopped pistachios                      To garnish

Method;

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.

Dudh peda aka Milk fudge with Lavender flavour

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I am not sure about you, but I feel I am always short of time. Trust me, I work hard and am quite comfortable at multitasking. Age changes , did I hear? Ahem, let us talk about something else, shall we?

Well the bottom line is I always look for recipes that cut corners in preparation without compromising the taste. This milk Peda is my favourite. If you only have three ingredients and 5 minutes time in hand, you can whip up these beauties. Have you heard the saying, ” neighbour’s envy, owners pride?”

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Try for yourself and thank me later.

Recipe  makes 26-28, depending on the size.

Ingredients;

Milk powder                                           2 cups

Unsalted butter                                       1 stick

Condensed milk ( sweetened )                 1 tin

Cardamom powder                                   1/4 tsp. ( optional )

Dried Lavender                                          1/4 tsp. ( optional )

Method,

Leave the butter on the counter , so that you have it at room temperature.

In a microwave safe bowl, mix the above ingredients very nicely.

Run it in the microwave for one minute. Take it out and give it a nice stir.

Repeat this four more times, so that the total time in microwave is five minutes.

Take it out. As soon as you can handle it , spoon out 1 Tbsp mixtures. Make it into balls. If you have some molds, you can imprint on it. I have used the dried lavender on the centre only, to decorate,

There you have it.

The easiest recipe ever. Enjoy.

 

Ricotta cheese shondesh golap jol diye: Rose flavoured ricotta cheese shondesh

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Did we ever think that we would be in the midst of these unsettling times? Honestly who would ever have thought that the world would come to this? Travel ban, social distancing, restaurants closed, emergency services only! Well to top it all up I lost four years worth of my  food blog posts, my creations, part of me is gone. Gone forever. I definitely take the blame for it, if trusting someone one hundred percent is wrong.

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S T R E S S E D. To say the least. Try reversing the  word “Stressed”. See what we got? Desserts. Isn’t that a sign? I am taking this seriously and drowning myself in dessert making. Indian sweets in particular, where my weakness lies.

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Here is another variation of the “Shondesh” or cheese fudge from my last post. Very similar except uses sugar instead of jaggery. I have added a delicate flavour too. Rose water. Delicate is the key word here. Adding more than needed ruins the flavour though.

Recipe; made 26 pcs using 1 Tbsp measure each

Ingredients;

Ricotta cheese                             2 cup

Ghee                                          4 Tbsps

Sugar                                         1 cup

Milk powder                                1 cup

Rose water                                  1/2 tsp

Rose petals                                  1 tbsp

Pistachio slivers                           1 tbsp

Method;

Take the ghee in a flat bottomed non stick pan on low medium flame. Wait for it to melt then add the cheese, give it a nice mix. Add the sugar, milk powder and keep stirring making sure it does not catch the bottom of the pan, until the water evaporates and the mixture comes together, leaving the side of the pan, about 45 minutes. Add the rose syrup. Put the gas off.

Collect the mixture on a plate. Wait for it to cool a bit, such that it can be handled. Divide into about 18 pieces, about a table spoon measure for a portion. Grease both the palms, press the portion into a flat shondesh or if you have wooden molds, press the portion into a greased mold that has been sprinkled with rose petals and pistachio slivers. Gently remove them from the mold.

Stay calm and eat Shondesh!

Ricotta Cheese Patali gur Shondesh : Ricotta cheese jaggery milk fudge

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Shondesh is a Bengali dessert. The relationship of shondesh to Bengali life is an emotional. one.

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Be it the welcoming a new baby in the family, celebrating a relationship, new job, success in school or just because, these beauties are indispensable.

Traditioanlly milk is curdled, the whey is separated, the milk solids are collected. A sweetner, flavoring agent, garnish and some handcarved wooden molds is all that is needed..

In today’s busy life we are always look for easier, faster, and hassle free way to come up with these favourite desserts.

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Ricotta cheese has been substituted for home made Cheese, bringing the preparation time down. the sweetening agent is a special jaggery available only during winter months.

Give the recipe a try and surprise your friends.

Recipe; made 9 pieces

Ingredients;

Ricotta cheese                                    1 cup

Ghee                                                  2 Tbsp

Patali gur                                             1/2 cup

Milk powder                                         1/2 cup

Method;

Take the ghee in a flat non stick pan on a medium flame. When the ghee melts, add the cheese, mix nicely. Add the gur ( jaggery ), let it melt, then add the milk powder. Make sure it mixes properly and there are no lumps. Keep stirring until the water evaporates and the mixture comes together, about 15 minutes.

Put the gas off. Let the mixture cool a bit. When it is alright to handle, divide it into 9 portion. Grease the mold, press each portion into the mold and carefully take it out.

There you have it!

 

Pomegranate molasses Shrikhand (Flavoured yoghurt)

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I did not grow up eating Shrikhand, neither did I have any idea of what Pomegranate molasses actually was.

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The world of Instagram has changed everything. With a little enthusiasm and persuasion any novice cook like me can delve in the realm of “World” food effortlessly.

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When the Food bloggers of Canada was looking for recipes with an ‘unusual’ ingredient, like Pomegranate molasses, I knew I wanted to use it slightly differently.

Shrikhand is a very popular dessert in the western part of India. It has been flavoured in a variety of way for example with mango, strawberries or even saffron. I took the liberty of trying a new flavour. Pomegranate molasses! It worked like a charm.

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With Valentine’s day round the corner, surprise your love with this unique and tasty treat.

 

Recipe: Serves 2 big portions or 4 small portions.

Ingredients;

Pomegranate molasses;.

Pomegrante juice .       1 bottle . ( 473 ml )

Sugar .                        3 tbsps

Lemon juice                1/2 tsp

Shrikhand;

Greek yoghurt                               3 Cups

Icing sugar                                    3 tbsp

Pomegrante molasses                    3 Tbsp plus some to garnish

Pistacihio slivers                             1 tbsp

Pomegrante arils                              1 tbsp

Cardamom powder                          1/2 tsp

Mint leaves                                       to garnish

Method;

Pomegranate molasses;

In a saucepan mix the pomegranate juice, sugar and lemon juice. Simmer this on a low medium flame for about 45 minutes, stirring time to time to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. The fluid thickens, a spoon dipped in it should have the  a layer sticking at the back of it.

Switch the gas off. Let it cool down. Store it in a clean glass jar.

Molasses flavoured Shrikhand;

Place the colander on a bowl. Lay the cheese cloth on the colander and place the yoghurt on it. Gather the cloth all around the yoghurt and let the water drain out for about couple of hours. Collect the thick yoghurt in a bowl.

Mix the sugar, cardamom powder and 3 tsp of pomegranate molasses to this yoghurt slab. Whisk evenly.

Divide this in serving bowls and chill in a refrigerator for a couple of hours. Garnish with a few slivers of pistachio, pomegranate arils, few spoonfuls of pomegranate molasses and a sprig of mint leaf.

Bon apetite.

 

Moong Pakon pitha: Yellow Moong bean and rice flour cake: A modern take: Gluten free.

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By Ratna

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Buy  her  a  gift  or  give  her  an  experience?  It  was  a  hard decision  for  mother’s  day  over  the  weekend.

“Mooch  Moochey  hoyecchhe”.  It’s  nice  and  crispy,  she  said  after a  bite  in  the  Pitha,  the  deep  creases  on  the  back  of  her  hands  almost  matching  the  design  on  the  Pithas.  She  looked  into  my  eyes  and  she  didn’t.  I  could  see  Ma  was  transported  to  a  different  time,  a  different  land.

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A  land  with  many  rivers.  As  a  little  girl  she  remembers  those  carefree  days.  Taking  off  with  her  siblings  to  explore  the  neighbourhood  while  the  elders  in  the  family  were  busy  in  the  kitchen.  “Nodir  dhare  ekta  mishti  gondho  beroto”,  There  used  to  be  a  sweet  smell  on  the  river  bank,  she  is  not  sure  if  that  was  from  an  unfamiliar  flower  or  the  paddy  fields  nearby.  It  used  to  be  East  Bengal  then,  it  is  Bangladesh  now.

I  have  heard  these  stories  many  times.  My  octogenarian  mother  sometimes  mistakenly  calls  me  by  my  sisters  name  and  cannot  remember  what  she  had  for  breakfast  that  day.  But  the  stories  always  remain  consistent.

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Osteoporosis  is  rapidly  claiming  her  four  feet  eleven  frame.  Arthritis  causing  her  knuckles  to  swell  and  fingers  to  twist,  as  if  daring  her  to  carry  on  the  daily  chores.  These  are  the  same  hands  that  tended  to  our  sore  knees  after  a  game,  embroidered  fine  designs  on  our  dresses  or  even  disciplined  us  when  needed.

Ki  korey  banali?   Khub  shundor  hoyeche.”    How  did  you  make  it?  They are  beautiful,  she  said,  overlooking  the  imperfections.

I  could  see  the  memories  that  were  coming  back  to  her.  Memories  of  the  land  that  she  will  not  be  visiting  again  but  live  only  through  these  experiences..

Gift  or  experience?   Glad  I  chose  to  bring  her  an  experience  for  Mother’s  day.

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Recipe:  Number  of  yield  depends  on  the  size  of  the  design  you  choose.  About  18-20  on  average.

Ingredients;

Yellow  Moong  beans                                       1/2  cup

Rice  powder                                                    1  cup

Cardamom  powder                                        1/2  tsp

Cinnamon  stick                                             1  inch  long  2  pcs

Sugar                                                              1  cup

Canola  oil                                                     1  Tbsp  plus  more  for  frying

Salt                                                                1/4  tsp

Method;

Dry  roast  the  yellow  moong   bean  in  a  sauce  pan  on  high  heat.  Keep  stirring  to make  sure  it  doesn’t  burn.  It  is  done  as  soon  as  it  gets  a  bit  of  colour.  Wash  with  running  water.

Take  this  roasted  moong  in  a  saucepan.  Add  about  four  glasses  of  water,  salt,  one  Tbsp of  oil,  cardamom  powder,  cinnamon  sticks  and  boil  until  mushy,  about  an  hour,  faster  if  using  a  pressure  cooker.  Discard  the  cinnamon  sticks.  Add  the  rice  powder  and  stir  with  a  whisk  to  mix  thoroughly.  Put  the  gas  off  and  cover  the  mixture  till  it  cools  a  bit.

Transfer  this  mixture  to  a  bowl.  Knead  with  oil  dipped  palm  to  form  a  smooth  dough.  Add  a  sprinkle  of  rice  powder  if  sticky.

Cut  out  small  balls,  the  size  of  a  lime.  Roll  it  such  it  stays  about  1/4th  inch  thick.  Refer  to  the  picture  above  and  this  video.  Draw  a  design  of  your  choice.  Use  a  tooth  pick  to  accentuate  the  edges  of  the  design.  Using  a  spatula  carefully  lift  these  and  collect  on  a  plate.  Keep  them  covered.

Take   canola  oil,  an  inch  deep  in  a  non  stick  frying  pan  on  medium  heat.  Carefully  fry  the  Pithas  till  golden  brown,  gently  turning  once.  Collect  them  on  a  kitchen  towel.

Syrup;

Take  the  sugar  with  with  3/4th  cup  water  on  high  heat.  Work  to  make  a  syrup  with  one  string  consistency.  Follow  this  instruction.  Dip  the  Pithas  carefully,  turn  once  and  remove.

Enjoy.

Inside  Scoop;

Cooking  the  Pithas  is  a  folk  tradition,  hence  all  the  design  is  done  by  hand.  This  takes  a  lot  of  practise  and  patience.

Being  a  novice  with  this  Pitha,  I  took  help  from  cookie  cutters,  giving  it  a  modern  take.

 

Sabudana kheer: Tapioca pearls and coconut milk pudding with Raspberry syrup. DF

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By  Ratna

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untitled-6We  had  snow  twice  already.  It  didn’t  stay  though.  The  garden  is  now  full  of  yellow  leaves  some  naked  branches,  an  errant  flower  in  a  corner  in  between  a  bunch  of  dead  stems.  The  raspberry  patch  is  a  different  story  altogether.  These  autumn  raspberries  are  flourishing  everyday  like  rebels. The  fruit  heavy  branches  bowed  downwards,   swaying  sideways  with  gentle  wind…

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Navaratri  or  nine  nights  is  celebrating  the  feminine  form  of  the  divine.  Devotees  partake  food  with  no  grains  for  each  of  these  nine  days.  Sabudana  which  is  granules  made  from  Tapioca  root  is  an  acceptable  form  of  nutrition.

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I  was  looking  for  ways  to  use  up  my  raspberries.  I  made  a  syrup  from  them  and  layered  this  with  the  Sabudana  pudding.  A  nice  garnish  on  top,  and  voilla,  we  had  fusion  dessert  here.

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Recipe:  

Serves  6.

Ingredients:

Sabudana ( Tapioca  pearls ),  washed  with  water                                    1/3 cup

Coconut  milk  ( Can  from  Aroy  D  )                                                           2  cups

Cardamom  powder                                                                                    1/2  tsp

Raspberries  washed                                                                                   2 1/4  cups

Sugar                                                                                                          1/3  &  2/3  cup

Cornstarch                                                                                                  2  Tbsps

Water                                                                                                          1/2  cup

Coconut  slivers                                                                                           few  to  garnish

Method;

Mix  the  cornstarch  and  water  into  a  lump  free  slurry.  Put  the  raspberries  in  a  blender  and  make  a  puree.  Take  this  puree,  cornstarch  mixture  and  1/3  rd  cup  sugar  in  a  pan  over  medium  heat.  Make  it  into  a  thick  sauce,  about  5  minutes.  Put  the  gas  off.

Boil  the  Sabudana  with  half  cup  water  on  a  medium  flame  till  soft,  about  7  minutes.  Add  the  coconut  milk,  Cardamom  powder  and  2/3  cup  sugar.  Simmer  on  low  medium  flame  for  about  20  minutes,  stirring  sometimes.  The  Sabudana  will  turn  translucent,  some  will  blend  in  the  milk,  thickening  it.  Turn  the  gas  off.

You  can  serve  it  hot.  I  assembled  it  in  layers.  Garnish  with  a  few  whole  Raspberries  and  Coconut  slivers.

Inside  Scoop;

Sabudana  can  be  purchased  from  Indian  grocery  store.

The  botanical  name  for  Tapioca  is  Manihot  Esculenta  Crantz  syn.  Utilissima.