Thursday, April 27, 2017

10 Types of Traditional Sweets for Bengali New Year

Bengalis are almost synonymous with sweets. Want to impress a Bengali? It is simple; just tell them you love mishti and maachh, i.e. sweets and fish. Bengalis swoon over these two things. Though it is rasogolla and sandesh which represents West Bengal or Bengalis outside their state, but Bengali traditional sweets are much more than that. Here is a list of best ten. You need to eat them to believe me. Meanwhile read on for a virtual gastronomic fiesta.
  1. Mishti Doi- Sweetened yoghurt as the translation goes, is one of the finest sweet dish ever produced and almost all Bengalis will vouch for it. It is a must for all celebrations in Bengali households. Sweet lovers can recreate the magic at home by setting yoghurt in earthenware with sweetened milk added in caramelized sugar. Bengalis settled abroad add condensed milk, evaporated milk and full fat yoghurt in equal proportion and bake it in oven to get their much loved dessert in faraway lands.
  2. Kalakand- This is yet another mishti very popular on holy occasions. It is made by curdling sweetened milk and then heated to make a sticky material which is further flattened on plate and cut in small squares. There are some fancy versions of this sweet available. Some are traditional while some of them are contemporary like strawberry and chocolate flavored ones. However, most popular one of them is kesar or saffron flavored kalakand.
  3. Sweets of Bengal
  4. Pranhara- Pranhara or kanchagolla is a hot favorite among calorie conscious people or for them who are not much fond of sweets and eat only because they have to. Poila boishakh or Bengali New Year is one such occasion when you cannot survive by refusing sweets. Lightly sweetened and melts in your mouth- pranhara is a good solution for both guests and the hosts. 
  5. Kheerkadam- You will rarely find a kid who does not like this sweet. This is a layered sweet where the outer cover is made of solidified milk or mashed cottage cheese and inside a small syrup soaked sandesh. Absolute delicacy!
  6. Jalbhara Sandesh- This is a favorite of hardcore sweet lover and frankly speaking it is not everyone’s cup of tea to finish a full size jalbhara sandesh. It is made of dry fruits, chhana or curdled milk, and sugar or jaggery. It has a filling inside which varies with season- in summer it is sugar syrup while in winter it is nolen gur, a variety of jaggery. It is almost a must have on Poila Boishakh.
  7. Chhana Paturi- This is quite an innovative take on Bengali traditional sweets. In this sweet, chhana or cottage cheese is finely mashed with sugar, wrapped in banana leaves and cooked. The end result is a soft, mildly smoky flavored sweet with a subtle taste.
  8. Ledikeni- There can be dispute regarding the spelling of this sweet but its popularity is surely undisputable. This is a cylindrical version of gulab jamun and made of chhana and flour and cooked in sugar syrup. Though there are several legends regarding its invention and all of them have one single point that it was a favorite one of Lady Canning when she was in India from 1851 to 1856. So it was named after her and colloquially it became Ledikeni.
  9. Chhanar jilipi- Who doesn’t like jalebis- the crisp, glossy and absolutely delectable. But this jilipi, appearance and texture wise, stands binary to the regular ones. These are soft, brown and thick but like the former one tastes heavenly.
  10. Payesh- This is a homemade dessert and probably the most popular one. Outside Bengal known as kheer, it is made with rice cooked in milk till it is reduced to half. Poila Boishkh is incomplete without kheer.
  11. Chhanar murki- Many Bengali will associate this mishti with their childhood because this has lost its old sheen and available only in some traditional sweet shops. As name suggests, it is made of cottage cheese and stands for authentic Bengali sweet. 

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