Mishti Doi (sweet yoghurt) is one of the most famous Bengali sweets and is widely popular as a dessert. Simple to look but rich in taste, Mishti Doi is quite different from other sweets. Though easily available in packaged form these days, old-timers still like it in the traditional way — served in earthen pots that soak up all the loose water and leaves the rich and sweetness to devour. You usually get this only in shops specialising in Bengali sweets, but it is an extremely simple dish and can be easily made at home. Here goes the recipe.
Milk: 1 litre (full cream)
Sugar: 6 tablespoons
Curd/yoghurt: 2 tablespoons
Preparation: Boil the milk with 4 tablespoons of sugar and reduce it to half. Now heat a pan and caremalise 2 tablespoons of sugar. Add the boiling milk to the caremalised sugar and stir till the sugar completely dissolves. Let the milk cool down to room temperature. Now mix in the yoghurt and pour it into an earthen pot and leave it overnight. Once set, refrigerate it for a couple of hours and serve chilled.
LAST WORDS: Do not add yoghurt when the milk is hot, it will curdle. The amount of sugar can be increased or reduced to suit your taste. A little more sugar or less while caremalising it can bring the shade you want to bring to your Mishti Doi. instead of one big earthen pot, you can use or 4-6 small ones.
If you are in North India, winters are synonymous with gajar ka halva. I got to know this fact only after I came to stay in this part of the country 14 years ago. Not that I did not know of this sweet dish made of the healthy carrots but loaded with calories, but the cult status it enjoys in the region was kind of a surprise to me.
My mother used to put in great efforts to cook this dish. Grating the carrots was a must, because nobody at home liked the taste when it was cooked the easy way, by boiling and mashing the carrots. She would use all sorts of goodies to give it that heavenly taste.
A bowl of hot and tasty ghee-dripping gajar ka halva generously laden with dry fruits is all you need on a freezing cold day. The day I made the dish some days back was incidentally the season’s coldest day in Delhi.
Here goes my recipe of the winter beauty.
Food for thought: Gajar ka halva
Carrots: 1 kg
Sugar: 1/2 cups
Condensed milk: 1/2 tin
Milk: 1/2 litre
Khoya (Mawa): 200 grams
Cashew & raisins: 1/2 cup
Ghee (clarified butter): 4 tablespoons
Preparations: Grate the carrots and keep it aside. In a pan, heat ghee and fry the carrots till the ghee separates. The ghee will turn orange. Pour the milk and cook the carrots till done. Add sugar, condensed milk, khoya, cardamom and the dry fruits and cook till you get the desired consistency.
I never thought I liked fish. But after I left home for PG studies 14 years ago, I realised I had taken this staple food for granted. I sorely missed the ‘maachher jhaal’ (fish fried in mustard oil tempered with kala jeera, slit green chillies and red chilli powder) and ‘doi maach’ cooked by my mother. And to my utter surprise, I would even find myself longing for that pungent and tangy ‘shorshe ilish’ — the ultimate Hilsa delicacy from Bengal. This is a fish for which a Bengali can even kill or die. While most Bengalis find its smell divine, it was the smell that would put me off. The smell that would not go from your fingers no matter how much you washed. It would stay with the utensils for days together, and just in case you kept the leftover in the fridge and forgot to cover it, the oranges inside would also start giving you the taste of Hilsa. But the same stinking Hilsa is now a favourite with me too as I started to appreciate its taste after being deprived of it for long. Here is the recipe.
Hilsa fish: 500g
Black/red mustard seed: 1/2 cup
Green chillies: 7-8
Mustard oil: To fry
Turmeric powder: 1 teaspoon
Juice of one small lemon (optional) Preparation: Soak the mustard seeds for at least half an hour, preferably in hot/warm water. Grind it with 3-4 green chillies and set aside. Heat oil in a pan and put 3-4 slit green chillies. Add the fish and turmeric powder and fry till cooked. Now add the mustard paste with a little water and stir for a couple of minutes. Turn off the flame and add lemon juice (optional) before serving hot with plain rice. Last words: You need to be a little careful while using mustard paste, which tends to turn bitter. Use freshly ground paste, and don’t cook it for long. You get readymade mustard paste (see photo) these days, which comes in powder form. You can use it according to the directions given on the pack. They taste quite authentic.
Hello foodies, how have you been? I must say sorry for disappearing again. I missed writing and sharing the recipes I tried all the while. Yes, not writing does not mean I was not cooking either. Today, I am going to share a fish recipe my aunt cooked when she visited me last year. It’s easy, tasty and something you can cook both for a family dinner or to impress your guests.
De-boning is the only thing you need to take care when you are cooking this dish. A single bone in the plate will be a disaster. So, I don’t prefer river fish for this one and, instead, go for pomfret, seer or the like.
Here goes the recipe.
Fish of your choice: 500g
Onions: 2, big
Tomatoes: 2, medium
Green chillies: 3-4
Chopped coriander leaves: 2 tablespoons
Mustard seed: 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder: 1/2 teaspoon
Red chilli powder: 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin powder: 1/2 teaspoon
Dry coriander powder: 1/2 teaspoon
Amchur (dry mango) powder: 1 teaspoon
Garam masala powder: 1/2 teaspoon
Ginger-garlic paste: 1 tablespoon
Oil: 2 tablespoons
Salt: To taste
Preparation: Steam/boil the fish, de-bone and mash it (does not have to be very finely mashed) and keep aside. Finely chop the onions, tomatoes and chillies. Heat oil in a pan. Put the mustard seed and wait for it to splutter. Cook the onions till transparent. Add tomatoes, chillies and the ginger-garlic paste and cook till the tomatoes are soft. Now add the dry masalas and saute for 2 minutes, or till the oil separates, before adding the fish and salt. Cook for 2 more minutes, stirring nicely so that the fish and the onion-tomato paste is evenly mixed. Once done, sprinkle fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with chapatis/parathas or any bread of your choice.
Last words: You can add a little sugar to the oil, before putting the mustard seed, to give it a rich red colour, or later to balance out the taste.
LAST MONTH, when I bought my favourite river fish Rohu and wanted to have doi maach (fish cooked with curd), I did not have to call up my mother for the recipe. She was visiting me and I just told her to instruct the cook. Like always, I did not try to learn it myself. For, I knew my mother would be just a phone call away, if not physically there, whenever I needed her for guidance on this front.
Little did I know that in less than a month later I would be cooking doi maach and she won’t be there to tell me the recipe the hundredth time. I had to prepare the dish last week as part of niyom bhongo (a ritual for the family to resume eating normal routine food after the death of a member). Ma suffered a brain hemorrhage and left us in the last week of September after remaining in coma for 15 days – the reason why I was away for such a long time.
Now that I am back and have finally sat down to write, no recipe other than doi maach is coming to my mind.
Here it goes.
Food for Thought: Doi Maach
Fish: 1 kg
Curd: 250 grams
Onions: 4 (medium)
Green chillies: 3-4
Ginger: 1 inch
Turmeric powder: ½ tea spoon
Red chilli powder: ½ teaspoon
Whole garam masala: 2 tablespoons
Salt: To taste
Sugar: 1 teaspoon
Mustard oil: As per requirement
Marinate the fish with curd, salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and a little mustard oil and set aside for at least 30 minutes. Grind onions, ginger and green chillies into a smooth paste. Separately, 1½ tablespoons of whole garam masala with a little water. Heat oil in a pan and fry the marinated fish till golden brown and set aside. In the same pan, add more oil (or use the leftover) and caramelise the sugar before frying some cardamom, cinnamon and cloves. Add the ground onion and fry it with salt, turmeric and red chilli powder till the paste leaves the sides. Now add the fish, pour some water and let it cook for five-odd minutes, or till the fish softens a bit. Sprinkle the ground garam masala and your ‘doi maach’ is ready to be served with hot steamed rice.
Last words: Bengali food tastes best if cooked in mustard oil. But you can use any other oil that suits your taste. Another way to cook the dish is to fry the fish first just with some salt, turmeric and red chilli powder and use the curd with the onion paste. If the curd is too sour, a little sugar can be added to the gravy to balance it out.