Category Archives: Desserts

Chitoi Pitha

2015-01-29

Chitoi pitha is a very popular , traditional Bangladeshi pitha . I must say the most consumed pitha . Typically pithas are mostly consumed in winter but chitoi is a pitha that doesn’t need any special season , we the Bengalis enjoy it all around the year . Some loves it to be a sweet treat with molassess and grated coconut , sometimes soaked in milk and date molassess . Whereas some enjoy it as a savory treat with beef or duck curry or various types of bhortas .

Traditionally , chitoi pitha is cooked on a clay wok . If you on’t find that cast iron griddle is must . I have that special cast iron mold to make this . Without these utensils , chitoi pitha can never be perfect . So try to buy any cast iron wok or the special mold to make them perfect .

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Ingredients:

1 cup rice flour of parboiled rice ( shidhdhdo chaaler guri) , I took parboiled Basmati
1/2 cup white rice flour ( Atop chaal er guri) or readymade, store bought rice flour
1 and 1/4 th cup luke warm water ( you may need more or less )
1 fistful of cooked rice
few pinches salt
1 tea spoon baking powder
1/2 tea spoon baking soda

* If you want to make rice flour at home, soak the rice for couple of hours , at least 4/5 hours . Then drain the water . Dry out the rice and grind in the grinder .

Procedure:

1. Blend the rice flour , cooked rice , salt , water , baking powder , baking soda together with water . The batter should not be thick . It should be thin but not too thin . The correct consistency of batter is very important to make perfect chitoi pitha . I made a few seconds video to show you the consistency . Please check the following video to see the consistency of the batter ;

2. Heat the mold or cast iron wok . It should be very hot . grease the wok or mold with little oil . For that you can use kitchen tissue or cheese cloth or any piece of cotton cloth . Now pour some batter and cover the wok or mold . Cook the pitha at low flame for 2- 3 minutes . The temperature is very important too . So always cook chitoi pitha on a very hot wok at low flame .

3. Cook just one side and loosen the edges around the pitha from mold or wok with a knife and take them out . Grease the wok , everytime you pour the batter .

Enjoy !!!

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Kola Pitha/ Kola Bora/Banana Fritters

2015-01-24

If you have over ripened bananas that are waiting to be thrwon out soon , this banana fritters will surely bring a smile on your face for not wasting and for making such a yummilicious goodness out of them which have long shelf life too .

Ingredients:

3 medium sized banana
3/4 th cup – 1 cup rice flour ( you may need more or less)*
1 egg
1/4 th cup- 1/3 rd cup sugar ( according to your taste)
1/2 tea spoon cinnamon powder
A pinch of nutmeg powder ( optional)
1 tea spoon baking powder
1/2 tea spoon baking soda
Oil for deep frying

* Many use riceflour and flour together . If you wish you can do so . For very soft fritters , use flour and rice flour half and half . But the original recipe only calls for riceflour and I love using only riceflour .

Procedure:

1. Blend the Bananas with the egg . Pour them in a bowl .

2. Add the riceflour , sugar , baking powder , baking soda , cinnamon, nutmeg powder. Mix very well . The batter should be very thick .

3. In the mean time heat the oil on medium -low flame and when ready ,drop little batter with your hand . Try to drop them close to the oil , that would help to shape them as much round as possible . Fry until dark brown and crispy .

Enjoy hot or cold . Either way it tastes too good .

Notes:

For nice presentation , dust some powdered sugar over them through a strainer . 🙂

Mula/ Daikon/Radish halwa

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When I first heard about “Radish/Daikon Halwa” , I was really sceptical about the taste and was wondering about the “famous” smell of daikon !! But when I tasted it for the first time , I was so amazed by it’s taste . No smell and tastes divine .
Believe me , those who don’t like radish , will love this halwa too . 🙂

Ingredients :

Ingredients:

1 cup finely grated radish/daikon
2 cup Milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup maowa/ khoya
2/3 green cardamoms , 1 small cinnamon stick
4 tbl spoon ghee

Procedure:

1. Grate the radidh finely and squeeze out all the water from it.

2. Boil it in boiling water for 5 minutes . Drain out all the water and squeeze out the water again .

3.Now cook radish with milk , cinnamon and cardamom until dry . When the milk dries out add the sugar and ghee . Stir continously until the water from sugar dries out . Mix the maowa/ khoya . You may sprinkle keora water ,if you wish .

4. Garnish with chopped nut and maowa/ khoya .

Ready!!

Note:

1. You can make maowa or khoya with powder milk too . Mix Powder milk with liquid milk and little ghee . And microwave for 30 seconds-1 minute or until dries out .

Shemai Zarda/ Vermicelli zarda

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I have got so many requests for the shemai zarda recipe . No wonder this special dessert is almost everyone’s favorite . I prepare it in three different ways . Today I’m sharing you one authentic way of making shemai zarda . But before I share the recipe , I would love to mention , please try to use khoya/ maowa in making shemai zarda , it really makes a great difference . I will share two different way of incorporating khoya in the shemai . I will also share . how to make khoya with powder milk . 🙂
So without much talking , let’s proceed to pur recipe .

Ingredients:

1 cup or half packet heaped brown vermicelli/ shemai ( the regular one ) , crushed by hands
3 tbl spoon ghee ( you can mix ghee and oil too)
1/3 rd cup- 1/2 cup sugar or according to taste ( I took 1/3 rd cup)
3/4 th cup – 1cup water ( depending on the quality of shemai, I took little less than 1 cup)
3/4 green cardamoms , 1 stick of cinnamon and 1 bayleaf
Maowa/ khoya
Chopped dried fruits
Keora water

Procedure:

1. In a wide vessel , heat ghee, add cardamom, cinnamon and bayleaf . Add the shemai and fry on low flame until brown .

2. Add the water . Stir only once and don’t stir any more . Cook on medium flame . When the water is almost drying out add the sugar and stir gently once . Now cover the shemai and cook it on low flame few more minutes or until the sugar and water dries out . You can stir gently occassionally , so that the bottom must not get burnt . But don’t stir vigorously .

3. Now you can add moawa/ khoya at this point , if the maowa is in dried form .

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Or you can add while serving , if the maowa is in malai form ; like this;

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4. Sprinkle with keora and fluff the shemai with a fork . Garnish with chopped dried fruits .

Maowa/ khoya in malai form:

Heat full fat milk on low flame stirring occassionally . You will see a deep layer of cream ( shor ) after sometime . Stir the milk with it . Do it everytime the “cream ” appears . Reduce the milk in this way until very creamy and thick . Add little sugar . Stir . Then pour it over zarda.

Microwave Maowa/ khoya :

Add 1/2 cup of heavy cream or liquid milk , 1/2 tbl spoon ghee with 1/2 cup of powder milk . Microwave for 30 seconds . Stir . If not dried out , then microwave for another 30 seconds . Please keep an eye while doing it , or else the milk canbe burnt . Don’t try to dry out too much . it will be little liquidy as it will solidify after cooling down . 🙂

Dudh Khejur Pitha

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“Dudh Khejur” is the traditional pitha of greater Barisal region of Bangladesh. No special occassion is complete with this pitha . 😀 But for me , no special occassion is needed to devour this piece of heaven .:)

The pitha is deep fried and soaked in milk , it has softness as gulabjamun and tastewise so delightful . But some special tricks need to be followed to make it a perfect one . I used to see my Mom and Aunts used to knead the dough so well that their hands used to ache and the dough used to look so glossy and soft . Kneading is very important as well as frying them properly . They need to be fried in low flame for a longer period of time until reddish . Then they should be immediately thrown into warm thin sugar syrup or milk . Many directly put them in milk . Some prefer to soak them in sugar syrup first and when they absorb good amount of sugar syrup , thick , creamy milk is put onto them . I did the second method . I soaked them in hot sugar syrup and when they absorbed good amount of syrup I poured thick creamy milk over the pithas .

For the design , traditional way , people use the special handmade fan made of Palm tree leaves ( taaler pakha) . A small amount of dough is spreaded on it and then rolled out inward . I didn’t have the fan , so I used the strainer . You can use the comb or grater too . I’m giving you a link from youtube , that would help you to know how to make the design .

Now let’s proceed to the recipe;

Ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup Milk
1 beaten egg
2 table spoon of breadcrumbs
Pinch of salt
1½ tablespoon Ghee/ oil
Oil for frying

For Sugar Syrup:
1 and 1/2 cup sugar
3 and 1/2 cup water
1 piece cinnamon, about 2”
3 green cardamoms

Thick Milk:

1 cup milk
1/4 th cup of powder milk

I didn’t use any sugar as the sugar syrup has much sugar , but if the pithas soaked almost all the syrup then cook the milk with a piece of cinnamon stick , 2 cardamoms and sugar to taste , then pour over .

Procedure:

1.Make thin sugar syrup with sugar, water, cinnamon and cardamom. Set aside.

2.Boil milk. Add a pinch of salt, and flour and mix. Form dough like dough for roti or chapatti.
Transfer the dough to a bowl. Knead well.

3.Add the ghee or oil.When the dough cools a bit add the beaten egg and breadcrumbs. Knead well. You may find it difficult to incorporate everything smoothly but keep kneading. You may need to add some extra breadcrumb to work comfortably with the dough.
The kneading part is very important. The smoother and glossy dough you can make by kneading, the softer pitha you will get after soaking in the syrup.

4.Now make round balls and shape them .

5.Heat enough oil in a pot so pithas can be deep-fried. Now, the frying part is very important. If not fried well, the pithas will remain hard, especially in the center, even in the sugar syrup. The oil must be heated on medium low flame and it must not be too hot. Too hot oil will make the pithas get the outer color fast but leaving the center raw. The oil must not be cold either. Carefully, heat oil on medium low heat and fry the pithas well until dark golden brown.
Transfer the pithas into lukewarm sugar syrup and soak them for at least 4/5 hours. If soaked well, the pithas will be soft like gulabjamun or laalmohon . If fried well the pithas will soak almost all the syrup in not more than half and hour and will be very soft . But it’s better to soak them for a longer time .
Now aftr the pithas soaked and absorbed good amount of sugar syrup add very thick milk over the pithas on to the sugar syrup . If you think there are a large quantity of sygar syrup remained , then take out some of the sugar syrup then add the slightly warm milk .

6. You can garnish with malai/ cream / dudher shor .

Enjoy!!!!!!!

Notes :

Kneading and frying is very important to soak perfectly in the sugar syrup. Knead very well until glossy.
While frying, the temperature of the oil must be perfect. It should neither be too hot or mild hot. If it is too hot the pithas will go dark brown without being cooked in the center. And if oil is little hot the pithas will absorb a lot of oil and will taste bad. Therefore, oil should be heated on the same temperature from beginning to end. It should be on low medium heat and bubble should occur when you add the pithas. Remember oil should not be so hot that smoke can be seen. Also, remember to fry them with patience, with more time, so that they are perfectly fried inside out.
Always put the pithas in luke warm syrup. If you put them on piping hot syrup, the texture of the pitha will be ruined.

Here is the picture of traditinal Dudh khejur pitha . it is prepared by my Aunt . They used “taal er Pakha” to get that design . 😀

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Bhapa Pitha

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For us , the Bangali , winter is the season for “pitha-Puli ” . We have at least hundreds of different varities of pitha. Most of the pithas are either seasonal or occasional. Some are associated with harvest festival (nobanno) in winter while some others are prepared for any special occasion like wedding, eid or puja. Some are crunchy, some are steamed and some are so delightfully soaked in sugar syrup, molasses syrup , milk or date palm sap . Most of them are sweet, though there are some savory pithas too.

Bhapa pitha is one of the most popular pitha in Bangladesh , made of rice flour , coconut and jaggery stuffed inside !! Surely the piece of happiness !!

Ingredients ;

1 cup parboiled rice ( I took parboiled basmoti)
2 tbl spoon store bought rice flour
Pinch of salt
Liquid milk+ water mixed (around 1/3 rd cup)

For the filling :

Grated fresh coconut
Jaggery ( I prefer khejur gur , molasses from silver date palm)

You can use any savory filling too , instead of coconut and jaggery , like meat , fish , or even veggies)

Procedure :

1. Soak the rice overnight or at least 5/6 hours .

2. Drain the water and let the rice drained out well .

3. Now grind it in a grinder or coffee grinder . add the store bought rice flour with it .

4. Mix some water and milk . Don’t take too much . Around 1/3 rd cup . Add salt and sprinkle water+milk in a way that the flour must seem wet , not dry at all .Neither it should look like batter. Don’t add the liquid at a time . You may not need that much liquid . If the flour binds together if you hld some of them in your palm , the flour is ready . It must not be dry that it doesn’t hold together . If the flour is dry, the pitha will break apart .

5. Now sieve the flour through the stariner . Take two pieces of clean cotton cloth and two small bowls .

6 . In the bowl spread some flour , then add the coconut and jaggery . Cover it with another layer of flour . Even it . Don’t press too much or else ,it will break down while placing it for steaming . Cover it with a piece of cloth and put in the steamer. Tap the bowl slightly , so that you can remove the bowl easily . Remove the bowl and cover the pitha with the remaining ends of the cloth .

7. Steam for 4/5 minutes . Prepare the same way using the the other bowl and cloth . You remove one pitha and place another . For steaming I don’t have that specific utensil for making bhapa pitha . Any steamer will do . I sometimes use
the Chinese bamboo steamer . You can do more than one at a time . Some times I just take a small saucepan with water and place a large metal strainer or large slotted spoon over it , so that it covers the face of the utensil . Boil the water and steam the bhapa pitha on it . But you must put the lid on while steaming .

These are the utensils , I used for steaming . You can use any of the method .

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Couscous Firni

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My husband sometimes get crazy while doing grocery !! He just keep going buying without thinking quantity and sometimes quality . That’s the reason I never let him do the grocery alone !!! Few weeks ago he bought 2 large 27 oz jar of instant couscous !! He saved $2 buying these 2 packs and with a big smile of victory (!!) he told me ” isn’t it a nice deal ??”.. :O Such a fat bargain made in a fluke !!

Few days back , I made firni with this couscous , turned out great . You can do it without any hassle and in no time . I’m calling it firni as the texture is as same as the firni . If you want to know the difference between firni , kheer and payash , please click the link below
https://khadizaskitchen.com/2014/02/21/shahi-firni/

Ingredients:

Part A :

3/4 th cup of instant couscous
3/4 th cup milk
1 tea spoon butter
A tiny pinch of salt

Part B:

3 and 1/2 cup milk
1/4 th cup powder milk
1/2 cup – 3/4 th cup sugar ( according to taste)
3/4 green cardamoms
1 little stick of cinnamon
1 bayleaf
Saffron , soaked in little milk
A tiny pinch of saffron/ zafrani food color ( optional)
Rose water
Chopped nuts ( almond , pistachio) and raisins

Procedure:

Part A:

1. Boil the 3/4 th cup of milk with tiny pinch of salt and butter . Turn off the stove .

2. Add the couscous , mix and cover the lid . After 10 minutes the couscous will absorb the milk . Now fluff it up with a fork . Set it aside.

Part B:

1. Mix powder milk to the regular full fat milk and boil it with the cardamoms , cinnamon and bay leaf . Reduce the milk a bit .

2. Add the couscous and stir until it is well incorporated in the milk without having any lump . Cook a little more , like 10 minutes in a medium low heat, stirring occassioanly .

3. Add the sugar , cook another 5-7 minutes , stirring continuously . At this stage you may add some chopped nuts and raisins . Sprinkle some rose water. Turn off the stove . Don’t thicken the firni too much as it tends to thicken after cooling down .

4. Pour in a serving bowl and garnish with chopped nuts and raisins .

Balushai

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Bangladeshi style balushai is one of the dry sweets I am crazy for !! The reason I’m saying Bangladeshi style , because though this sweet is common in every country of the subcontinent , Bangladeshi version is little different as nutmeg flovred maowa/ khoya is stuffed inside the sweet, making it more flavorful.

Ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour
4 tbl spoon melted ghee
3-4 tbl spoon yogurt ( start with 3 tbl spoon), cold
Pinch of baking powder
Pinch of salt

For the sugar syrup :

1 cup sugar
3/4 th cup water
1/2 tea spoon lemon juice ( prevents crystalization of sugar)
2 cardamoms , 1 little stick of cinnamon

For stuffing

khoya/ maowa
1/4 th tea spoon nutmeg

Other ingredients:

Oil for deep frying

Procedure:

1. Make a dough with the ingredients mentioned above . It will be a flaky , little tight dough . Don’t try to make it sost . Just everything should be come together . Not dry but not soft either . If you think the ingredients are not coming together , you may add little yogurt . But control youself adding too much yogurt to make it a soft dough . The dough need to be little hard .
Don’t knead the dough like bread .

2. Cover the dough and let it rest for 30 minutes .

3. In the mean time heat the oil for deep frying in medium low flame , prepare sugar syrup and the khoya. If you dont have khoya , make it with powder milk .
For that take half a cup of powder milk , add 2 tbl spoon ghee and 1/3 rd cup liquid milk/ heavy cream . Now microwave it for first 30 seconds and stir , microave again for 30 seconds . Check and stir like so , so that the khoya must not get burnt . The liquid will dry out a little , don’t try to dry out completely as it may make the khoya burnt . just when little wet , is perfect . It will solidify when cools down . You can do the full process in the stove too , until everything comes together and make a doughy texture .
Cool down the khoya and crumble it , mix with nutmeg powder .

4. For the sugar syrup , make a medium thick syrup , must not be too thick ( the syrup won’t get inside the sweets) nor too thin ( the sweets will become soggy) . It should be liquidy but thick .

5. Now take the flour dough . Make small balls from the dough . You don’t have to knead it . Just make balls and stuff maowa inside . Seal the opening and make small flat ball . The balls will get bigger while frying , so don’t make them big in size .

6. Lower the stove and fry the balushais in hot oil at low flame for 15-20 minutes until red . The balushais need to be well fried , that helps to soak the syrup nicely. Immediately transfer to the warm syrup and let it soak the syrup for 2-3 minutes .

7. Take them out from the syrup and dredge over dry maowa . For dry mowa , take powder milk and ghee and make bread crumb like texture . Strain through a strainer .

Ready .

Chaana’r payesh

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This is my Aunt’s ( my choto khala, we call her Munnila ) recipe . I just improvised a little .

Ingredients:

Chaana/ chenna / cheese from 1 and 1/2 ltr milk ( around 3/4 th cup chaana)
1 and 1/4 th cup Evoparated Milk
1 cup regular milk + 1tbl spoon powder milk
2 or 3 green cardamom
Sugar to taste ( around 1/2 cup)
Rose water ( optional)
Nuts and raisins for garnishing

Procedure :

1. Make chaana from 1 and 1/2 ltr full cream milk . For that boil the milk . When the milk is boiling hot add 2 tbl spoon vinegar mixed in 2 tbl spoon water and stir until the water separates from the milk . For chaanar payesh , we need little hard chaana unlike chaana for deshi sweets . So I’m using vinegar as it is very strong and curdles the milk more .

2. Drain the chana and wash with cold water . Now squeeze out the water and put the chaan in the fridger for an hour . It would help to set the chaana .

3. Boil evaporated and regular milk with cardamoms . Add the sugar . Now cool down the milk a little . Add the chaana to the milk , when it is not too hot . Sprinkle some rose water .

4. Garnish with nuts and raisins .

Notes:

1. If you don’t find evaporated milk just add powder milk with the regular milk to thicken it .

2. You can use condensed milk in the milk mixture too . In that case just reduce the sugar as condensed milk has sugar in it too .

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

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Baking a pineapple upside down cake is always fun !!! The cake itself is so gorgeous that you don’t need any thing else to make the cake look pretty . So when I heard my cousin is coming over to see me , and that was in a very short notice , the first thing came to my mind for dessert is this pretty pretty cake !!

Ingredients :
1 can of pineapple in syrup
2 tbl spoon melted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar ( enough to dry out and cover the melted butter)
Candied or maraschino cherries
2 eggs ( room temperature) , egg yolk and white separated
1 cup of all purpose flour ( I took 2/3 rd cup of all purpose flour + 1/3 rd cup cake flour)
3/4 th cup sugar , powdered
1/3 rd cup oil + 2 tbl spoon melted butter
1/3 rd cup syrup from the pineapple can
1 tea spoon baking powder
1 tea spoon vanilla essence

Procedure :

1. Pre heat the oven to 350 FH .

2. Grease a 8′ x 8″ square pan . Now put the melted butter into the pan . Coat the pan evenly with the butter . Add the brown sugar to cover and dry out the melted butter . Arrange the pineapple rings over the brown sugar . Put one cherry in the middle of each pineapple ring .

3. Beat the egg whites until stiff . Set aside . In another separate bowl,beat the oil , butter , sugar until light , add the egg yolks one at a time . Add the syrup and vanilla essence.

4. Sieve the flour , baking powder . Now fold in the flour with egg mixture . Now fold the meringue into the batter in three batches . It should be a velvety smooth batter .

5. Pour the batter over the prepared pan . Tap for few times . Now immediately bake for 35-40 minutes or until if toothpick inserted comes out clean .

6. Cool down the cake before you turn it over from the pan . If it is not cooled , the pineapple may come out from the cake . Give it some time to set on the cake , then turn it over . 🙂

Serve it plain or with whipped cream or icecream !!!