I love desserts! Of late instead of ice cream, we’ve taken to having flavoured yogurts for dessert post dinner. Doing that I began to wonder if I could instead make Mishti Doi at home, a Bengali sweetened yogurt that can easily by set at home. I use the word ‘set‘ for culturing because in the Hindi language as well as other Indian languages the process of culturing yogurt is meant to denote the end product – a firm and beautiful set dish of curd
While looking for a recipe, I decided to dig into Pushpesh Pant’s compendium of 1000 recipes from India called the ‘India Cookbook’.
Sakshi gifted me the book on what turned out to be a mutual book exchange 🙂 Flipping through this stylized book, I couldn’t help but wonder if a 1000 recipes can capture an entire food culture? Let me rephrase that, can it bring forth the essence of multiple regions and their indigenous, local cuisines to a reader?It’s an onerous task. Pushpesh Pant is an Indian academic, food critic and historian who featured in the series “Raja Rasoi aur Anya Kahaniya‘ that is available on Netflix. The show traces the influence of royal kitchens, war, migration and trade on local cuisines, most of which survives in some form even today.
At page 693 is a short and sweet recipe for Mishti Doi.
To me the brevity of the recipe and directions were at odds with Pushpesh Pant’s gushing and effusive style. The joy of watching Pant on TV stems as much from his knowledge and tidbits of information as it does from the energy of his speech and theatrical mannerisms. His enthusiasm is infectious.
Back to the mishti doi. You can find his version in the book. Here I will share mine which has a few additions and adaptations for western kitchens and availability of ingredients.
Serves ~ 8 people
Total Preparation Time: overnight
Active cooking: 1 hour, Inactive: Time for setting (~10 hours in a warm place)
2 1/2 cups whole milk,
1 tbsp plain Greek yogurt,
1/2 cup sugar,
1-2 cardamom pods,
1/4 cup of crushed almonds and cashews (also pistachios),
4-6 Saffron strands.
Take a heavy bottomed pan and add milk to it along with cardamom pods. These are used to flavour the milk. I used whole pods and then remove them at the end. Instead you could also use cardamom powder.
Bring milk to a boil on medium high heat. Do not be in a hurry. If you cook too fast and the pan isn’t thick enough, milk will burn and form a layer at the bottom. Instead stir every few minutes. This also helps to break up the rising fat/cream that can form a layer on the surface.
Cook until the volume is reduced by almost 1/3 rd of the original volume. Next add sugar and mix well. Turn off the heat at this time and set aside to cool.
Use a mortar and pestle to crush almonds and cashews. Again a personal choice. See here for how I do it. You could instead use thin slivers of the same nuts and throw in some pistachios too.
Add nuts and saffron strands to the milk. Cool until milk is lukewarm. The best way to check is to dip a clean finger. If it is tolerably warm, it is ready for the culture. Take a tablespoon of plain Greek yogurt. Add it to the milk and stir well. At this point remove the cardamom pods.
Ready a few unglazed cups or ramekins and pour about 3/4ths of the way full.
Find a warm place in your kitchen – inside the oven or on the counter near a warm light. I placed mine inside the oven after heating it for a few minutes. Place the ramekins on a tray or large plate and cover with another plate.
Let them sit overnight. Ideally you will find a crime brûlée like consistency. But if in the morning the doi is still not set, then do the following.
Remove the ramekins. Then preheat the oven to about 300 F. Place ramekins inside the oven again as before. In about an hour or two you will find perfect cups of mishti doi.
Chill in the fridge before serving.
Scoop it up! ❤
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Mishti Doi ~ Sweet Yogurt is a delicacy that comes from Bengal. It is made with three simple ingredients- milk, sugar and yogurt. Much like a sourdough starter, in India yogurt or curd is set at home using as many spoonfuls as needed of the previous batch. And thus a starter also known as “jaag” can live on for many decades, sometimes even generations. During the summer months, mishti doi is a wonderful chilled dessert. Our recipe is a little more decadent with some nuts and saffron- particularly for the current Navratri fasting festival. Recipe is NOW! 😍 . . . . . . #kitchenpostcards #easyrecipes #foodporn #food #food52 #navratri #vrat #fasting #festival #mishti #yogurt #protein #indianfood #india #bengali #nuts #bostonfoodies #boston #eaterboston #dubaifood #dubai #foodblogeats #feedfeed #huffpostgram #huffposttaste #tasty #elegantfood #nytcooking #yummly