Now that Ganeshotsav is over, it is time to look forward to Navratri and Durga Puja. I have been thinking of a range of dishes to make to celebrate these festivals and I kick-off the series with the recipe for a traditional Bengali favourite called Chaler Payesh.
It is a delectable Bengali Rice Kheer and I find that there is nothing better than a cup of chilled kheer to round-off a festive meal. I found that this recipe is pretty much the same as the South Indian Pal Payasam or the Andhra Paramannam. It is the rice we use (traditionally Gobindobhog or basmati as a substitute) and the bay leaf that makes it a touch different.
I was not able to buy Gobindobhog rice is small quantities and so used basmati to make this Payesh.
Making the Chaler Payesh once again reminded me of how similar festive dishes and comfort foods are across the length and breadth of India.
Today I present Muger Mithai or a Bengali Moong Dal Laddu for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop theme of Festive Recipes.
I chose this recipe for a special reason; today is Raksha Bandhan and yesterday was Friendship Day. So, I wanted a sweet that was celebrate both my sibling and my friends. First, since this is a blog hop, I chose to make a sweet that learnt about from one of my blogger friends, Jayeeta Basu. We became friends through our blogs and she did one of the earliest guest posts on my blog; Radha Ballavi with Cholar Dal.
When she posted the recipe for Muger Mithai, I was fascinated because to me it was like Moong Dal Halwa as a laddu. I have been wanting to make it ever since I read about it. Raksha Bandhan seemed the best time to try it because one of brother’s favouritest desserts is Moong Dal Halwa, especially the one offered as Prasadam at ISKCON. So I knew he would love this Muger Mithai, which is a close cousin.
So without much ado, I present to you this wonderful recipe for a Bengali Moong Dal Laddu. It is rich, it is delicious, it is not too sweet, and just perfect for any festive occasion. Also, because it is shaped as a laddu it is easy to serve and eat in small portions.
Thank you, Jayeeta, for this wonderful recipe. Anand, I hope you do love it.
Ugadi 2017 falls on March 29, 2017. On this day food rules the roost starting with traditional Ugadi Pachadi, and traditional favourites like Chintapandu Pulihora and Bellam Paramannam. As I was contemplating a “different type of payasam” I could make this day, I thought of the Bengali Chennar Payesh | Paneer Kheer.
Made with freshly made cottage cheese (Channa/Chenna), this dessert is rich and just perfect for festive occasions. I also like it because it is something different to serve, especially in a South Indian home.
The Chennar Payesh is very easy to make. All it needs is some patience because we have to make the Chenna (fresh cottage cheese) and then reduce the milk while constantly stirring. The result is absolutely worth it. 🙂
I will update this post with step-by-step pictures. I was just rushed off my feet this weekend.
Bengali Chennar Payesh is a rich kheer made with freshly made cottage cheese (Chenna) and reduced milk.
1Large PinchSaffron Strands
4tbspSlivered Almonds and Pista
Boil 3/4 litre milk.
When the milk starts boiling, turn the heat to low.
Add 1 tbsp lemon juice.
Stir till milk curdles and the whey separates.
Turn off the heat.
Drain immediately into a fine soup strainer or a thin cotton/muslin cloth. Collect and save the whey; you can use it for soups or to knead roti atta.
When most of the whey has drained, wash the Chenna well under running water to remove traces of the lemon. If you do not do this, the Chenna Payesh may curdle.
Set aside so that the water drains out. Do not remove all the water, because then Chenna will become Paneer. 🙂 Just let it drain naturally and leave behind soft, pliable, Chenna.
Making Chennar Payesh
In a heavy bottomed vessel, over medium flame, boil 1 litre milk.
When the milk starts to boil, remove 2 tbsp into a small cup.
Add saffron strands to the 2 tbsp milk. Set aside.
Continue to boil the remaining milk while stirring continuously till it reduces by 1/3. I cannot emphasise the keep stirring enough. If you do not, the milk will start sticking to the bottom of the vessel and char.
When the milk has reduced, add the sugar and saffron milk.
Mix well till the sugar has dissolved.
Crumble the Chenna and to the hot milk.
Turn off the heat and keep covered for 15 minutes.
With Durga Puja festivities in the air, Bengali food is on my mind. Today I present Shukto, which is a whole load of vegetables cooked in a mustard and poppy seed paste and milk. The result is a very different tasting vegetable that tastes phenomenal with hot rice and ghee. My colleagues at work polished it off and asked for the recipe immediately. 🙂
What I loved about Shukto was that it used loads and loads of vegetables, just like Avial from Tamil Nadu or Pindi Miriyam from Andhra Pradesh. Also, it is very lightly spiced with just some ginger and Panch Phoran, yet rich because of the Mustard and Poppy Seed paste and milk that is used in cooking.
I love Navratri in general. It is a time when Mumbai is all aglow with colour, and there is song, and dance in the air. Towards the end of the Navratri period comes this festival of Durga Puja,that is very special to Bengalis and others in East India. This is a collection of Durga Puja Recipes to celebrate this holy festival.
Bengalis do everything with passion. This reflects in everything they do at Durga Puja; be it the Pujo and Anjali; the way they dress up; and in the food that is served. Food at Durga Puja is simply divine of course, because it is blessed and is Prasad. It also reflects the richness and the generosity of the Bengali spirit. Each dish is laden with goodness, whether it is the simple Khichuri or the delectable Rosogulla.
I have just a few recipes and hope to grow this collection of Durga Puja Recipes as time goes by.