Recipes: Delicious Durga Puja snacks and desserts!
In the first of a two-part festive recipe series, we bring you traditional Bengali preparations to help celebrate Durga Puja.
The first day of Durga Puja is coming up next week, on October 20. If you want to brush up your culinary skills before then, here are some Bengali snack and dessert recipes that are easy to prepare!
Mangshor Ghugni (mutton and chickpeas in a spicy curry)
- Soak half a cup of chick peas all night and the next morning, boil in a pressure cooker till soft.
- Heat oil in a pan and add half a chopped onion, one chopped tomato, ginger-garlic paste and 250 gms of very small boneless mutton pieces.
- Add two cups of water and dashes of chopped chillies, coriander and cumin powder and let the meat cook.
- Mix the boiled chickpeas once the meat is done and then let it simmer on low heat for 5-10 minutes.
- Serve hot.
Vegetable Chops (vegetable cutlets)
- Chop a couple of carrots, beetroots and potatoes and boil till soft.
- Mash them well. It is alright if they remain a little coarse, as long as there are no big lumps.
- In a pan, heat some oil and add a teaspoon of ginger-garlic paste.
- When it begins to roast add the mashed vegetables, salt, sugar and a pinch of a special masala powder (see below).
- Saute the vegetables with a few grated peanuts.
- Once the mix cools down, add a few raisins and then knead small lumps to form flattened oval shapes.
- Dip into chickpea batter and then roll onto a plate filled with breadcrumbs.
- Deep-fry and serve hot.
Special masala powder: First lightly roast and then powder half a teaspoon of cumin, fennel and coriander seeds, a few cloves, green cardamoms and peppercorns, a small cinnamon stick, a couple of dried red chillies and a small bay leaf.
Note: In a similar way, fish chops can also be made by first steaming pieces of rohu (freshwater carp), removing the skin and bones and then mashing it with a fork.
Alu Kabli (spicy potato snack)
- Boil 10-12 medium-sized potatoes with the skin, till soft.
- Peel once cool and cut into small pieces.
- Add half a teaspoon of red chilly and cumin powder, a little salt, the mixed juice of half a lime and a little tamarind, and finely chopped coriander leaves.
- Mix well, taking care not to break the potato pieces.
Image: Vegetable Chops (vegetable cutlets)
Photographs: Biswarup Ganguly/Creative Commons
Dimer Devil (egg-coated minced meat chops)
- In a pan, heat oil and then add half a chopped onion, one chopped tomato, ginger-garlic paste, salt, turmeric powder and 250 gms of minced mutton.
- Add two cups of water and some chillies and cumin powder and let the meat cook.
- Boil two potatoes, mash them up well with a little coriander powder and salt. Set aside.
- Now boil three or four eggs till fully cooked. De-shell and cut into halves.
- Take the meat-potato mash and thickly coat it on the egg, forming an oval shape.
- Brush each of the pieces with a raw beaten egg and then dip it into a bowl filled with either crumbled arrowroot biscuit or bread crumbs.
- Deep-fry till brown and serve hot.
Beguni (fried brinjal)
- Pour chickpea (besan) into a bowl. Add water, a pinch of salt and chilly powder and a teaspoon of oil to it and form a smooth batter.
- Make sure that the batter is thick.
- Chop a brinjal into either circles or long strips.
- Dip each into the batter and deep-fry till deep brown.
Image: Dimer Devil (egg-coated minced meat chops)
Photographs: Ralph Daily/Creative Commons
Rabri (sweet thickened milk)
- Boil a litre of full fat milk in a non-stick pan and then add four-five teaspoons of sugar and a pinch of cardamom powder.
- Let it simmer on low heat till it becomes thick and reduced to at least a third of the original amount.
- Keep turning the milk once in a while, so that it does not stick to the bottom.
- Add a few strands of saffron if you wish, once the milk is thick and ready to be removed from the flame.
- Garnish with almond and pistachio slivers.
- Let it chill and serve cold.
Bonde (sweet boondi)
- Make sugar syrup by boiling water and sugar in a 1:1 ratio. Let it boil till it's of a sticky consistency.
- Mix 250 gms of besan, 50 gms of powdered rice and a pinch of soda bicarbonate with a cup of water.
- Use a deep pan to heat oil and through a jhanjri (perforated ladle) pour the besan mix into it.
- Fry till it turns deep golden and then pour into the sugar syrup.
- Once it's soaked in the syrup for awhile, take it out and spread it on a flat plate. Serve warm.
Image: Rabri (sweet thickened milk)
Photographs: Santosh Wadgule/Creative Commons
Malpoa (sugary Indian pancakes)
- Mix half a kilo of flour with milk, a teaspoon of baking powder and a little dollop of ghee till a smooth, semi-liquid batter is formed.
- Heat a little ghee in a deep frying pan.
- When it's very hot, pour a little of the batter in the oil so that it forms a small circle.
- Cook it in the oil till it's deep brown.
- Put it into the pre-prepared sugar syrup (see below).
- Repeat with the rest of the batter.
- Let the malpoas remain dipped in the syrup till they need to be served. Heat them a little before serving.
For the sugar syrup:
- Mix sugar and water in a pan in a 1:1 ratio.
- Bring the sugar water to a boil and then let it simmer till it becomes a little sticky.
- Mix half a teaspoon of cardamom powder and a few strands of saffron and let it stand.
Bhapa Doi (Bengali cheese cake)
- Strain all the water from 200 gms of yoghurt using a muslin cloth. This might take a couple of hours.
- Mix it with the same amount of condensed milk and blend in a blender till it's thick and frothy.
- Pour into an ovenproof dish and garnish with raisins, slivers of pistachio and cardamom powder and a few strands of saffron.
- Bake for around twenty minutes.
- Once done, let it cool down and then let it chill in the fridge. Serve cold the next day.
Image: Malpoa (sugary Indian pancakes)
Photographs: ampersandyslexia on Flickr/Wikimedia Commons