Durga's sweet bounty | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 16, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:36 AM, October 16, 2018

Durga's sweet bounty

It's that time of the year again, where cities dressup in their splendour and gearup to welcome the goddess to the mortal plane. It is that time of the year again where revelry is the ultimate motive, where fun, food, and frolic are the order of the day.

These nine days across the world are charged with spiritual fervour as it is a time for worship, festivities, fasting and spiritual enhancement. The nine days of fasting and prayers culminate in Bijaya Dashami or Dussehra, the tenth day, which marks the victory of good over evil.

Durga Puja of Bengal requires no introduction as it is a grand event that has gained international fame. People come from across the world to witness the grandeur with which Ma Durga is worshipped here. This day is usually celebrated with dance, music, religious songs, pujas, grandeur, community gatherings, and of course food.



According to tradition, this was a favourite of Sita. The Sita-Bhog of Bardhaman has been exciting many a taste-bud for more than 102 years now. But nowadays in West Bengal, especially in Kolkata, each and every sweets shop serves it for puja. Sometimes it's white in colour and sometimes it's yellow. The preparation is somewhat elaborate,but it makes a great dessert, which I am sure you shall all enjoy.


1 cup aromatic rice flour

4 tbsp ghee

½ cup grated cottage cheese

4 cups sugar

6 cups water

10 saffron strands

½ cup milk

3 green cardamom


½ cup milk powder

1 tbsp flour

2 pinch soda bicarbonate

3 tbsp ghee

1 pinch cardamom powder

Curd, as required

4 cups sugar syrup


In a mixing bowl, add rice powder, 2 tbsp ghee, grated cottage cheese and mix well to form a smooth dough. Cover with a lid and keep aside for half an hour. In another pan, add water, green cardamom and sugar, put it into the oven. Heat until it becomes a light syrup. Soak saffron in warm milk. Now with a perforated ladle, prepare the dough to be strained like vermicelli into the pan.

Keep in the refrigerator to set for 15 minutes. Fry for 2 minutes, and then put fried vermicelli into the syrup. Keep 10-15 minutes, and spread on the tray to let it cool. Sprinkle saffron milk over rice vermicelli to add more flavour and colour.


In a pan, take water and sugar and put it into the oven. Heat until it makes a light syrup. In a mixing bowl, add milk powder, flour, green cardamom powder, soda, ghee and curd as required to make a dough. Now heat ghee in a pan, make small 10-15 oval shaped gulabjamun and fry until golden brown in colour. Put into the hot sugar syrup. Now mix rice vermicelli and Nikuti together. Serve on any auspicious occasion.


Coconut and jaggery, laced with cardamom, is an all time favourite in Bengali cuisine, especially as an accompaniment for many pithas. This popular combination has different names like churma, pooran, pornam, and so on in different regions, and is popular all over South India and the western coastal regions where coconuts are used abundantly in cooking, and the people have an instinctive liking for it.

It can be used as a stuffing for modak, kadubu, puli and other dishes.


1 cup grated coconut

½ cup grated jaggery

½ tsp cardamom powder


Dry roast the coconut on medium heat for 5 minutes. Keep aside. Put the jaggery in a broad non-stick pan and cook on medium flame for 2 minutes, while stirring continuously. Switch off the flame, add the roasted coconut and cardamom powder and mix well. Cool and use as required.


Rabri is an authentic Indian sweet made by reducing milk on a slow flame for long hours. It tastes amazing with piping hot jilapi, malpua or gulabjamun. You can even make them quickly with the addition of thickening agents like corn flour or bread slices.


2 litre milk, full fat

3 tbsp sugar

½ tsp green cardamom powder

10 almonds sliced, 5-7 strands saffron

10 pistachio, sliced


Boil milk in a broad, heavy based pan over medium flame. When milk starts to boil, reduce flame to low. Stir at regular intervals of 3-4 minutes, but not continually. When a layer of cream appears on the surface, shift it towards the side of a pan. Repeat the same process for next cream layers, cooking until milk is reduced to 1/3 of original quantity. Add sugar and stir to dissolve it. Add cardamom powder, sliced almonds, saffron strands and sliced pistachio. Mix well. Scrape small cream chunks collected on the side of the pan into milk (this will make delicious small cream chunks in rabri). Cook for 2 minutes and turn off flame. Let it return to room temperature naturally. Refrigerate it for at least 2 hours before serving. Transfer prepared rabri in serving bowl and garnish with sliced almonds and pistachio. Serve chilled.



250g cheese, cut into ½ inch cube

1 cup sugar

1 tbsp milk

2-3 drops kewra essence

Icing sugar, as required


For the syrup, cook the sugar with one cup of water, stirring continuously, till the sugar dissolves. Add the milk. Collect the scum, which rises to the surface with a ladle, and discard. Cook the syrup till it attains a one-string consistency. Add the cottage cheese and cook till the syrup coats the cubes well. Remove from heat, add the kewra essence and mix well. Keep swirling the pan till the cubes are thickly coated with the syrup and separated from each other. Arrange in a serving plate and sprinkle liberally with icing sugar.


This is a wonderful, quick, and tasty delight which you can make in a jiffy without making syrup or any such complex requirements — you just need to roast and crush the peanut, mix it with powdered sugar, and spices and shape the laddu laced with the aroma of ghee.

A super tasty sweet treat, this lasts for 3-4 days when stored in an airtight container at room temperature.


1 cup raw peanuts

½ cup powdered sugar

¼ tsp cardamom powder

3 tbsp melted ghee


Roast the raw peanuts in a broad, non-stick pan for 6 minutes. Cool and de-skin them. Blend the peanuts in a mixer till coarsely ground. Transfer the coarsely crushed peanut powder in a deep bowl, add the powdered sugar and cardamom powder and mix well. Add the melted ghee and mix well. Divide the mixture into 14 equal portions and roll each portion into a ball. Serve or store in an air-tight container. Use as required.



1 cup crumbled mawa

½ cup chopped mixed nuts

½ cup chopped dried figs

2 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp ghee

¼ tsp cardamom powder



Combine the dried figs, sugar and half cup water in a broad non-stick pan, mix well and cook on a medium flame for 3-4 minutes or till the water evaporates, while stirring occasionally. Add the mawa, mix well and cook on a medium flame for 2 minutes. Add the ghee and the cardamom powder, mix well and cook for 3 minutes, or till the mixture turns light golden brown in colour. Add the mixed nuts, mix well and cook on a medium flame for 2 minutes, while stirring continuously. Transfer the mixture in a greased flat plate and flatten it evenly using the back ofa spoon. Keep aside at room temperature for 2 hours or till it sets. Cut into square pieces. Serve immediately or store refrigerated in an airtight container.




2 cups cottage cheese

1 tbsp semolina

3 cups sugar

½ tbsp saffron soaked in milk

4 tbsp mawa, ¼ cup cashews

¼ cup almonds

¼ cup pistachios

1 tsp cardamom powder

Few drops yellow food colour



Make a powder of all the dry fruits. Knead the cottage cheese and semolina into smooth dough. Mix the nuts powder, mawa, saffron milk and the cardamom powder as well. Make a smooth paste of it and add the cheese mixture as well, and then make small balls of this mixture. Now in a pan, mix sugar and water. Let it boil till you get a thin syrup. Add a yellow colour to this syrup. Put all the cheese balls in this syrup. Cook it on high flame for 10-15 minutes. Let it cool and serve chilled.


Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed

Food: Salina Parvin

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