Durga’s sweets | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 01, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 01, 2019

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Durga’s sweets


In Bengali culture, people often claim “payesh” to be the best dessert, especially if the occasion is a celebratory one, like birthdays, anniversaries, rice ceremonies or even baby showers. Of course, it is also then a must feature in the list of items served as “bhog” or offering to the Deity, and then for her followers. Payesh is also called poromanno in Bangla, a combination of “porom” and “onno,” or holy rice. Payesh is made with a special flavourful variety of rice. The recipe we have today is slightly different from the regular one.


1 tsp ghee

½ cup aromatic rice, soaked in water for 30 minutes and then strained

½ cup chopped nuts (cashew, pistachio, almond, walnut)

½ cup sugar

1½ litter full fat milk

1 pinch saffron (soaked in 1/3 cup warm milk)

2 green cardamom powder

Few drops rose water, optional


Melt the ghee in a pan, and add the strained rice and chopped nuts to it. Fry for a few minutes. Do not burn the rice. Remove the rice and chopped nuts and keep aside. In the same pan, add 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of water, and caramelise the sugar by stirring continuously on low heat. When the caramel forms, add the fried rice and nuts as well as the milk and let it come to a boil, while stirring.Now, add cardamom powder and saffron milk. Cook till the milk reduces and thickens. Add rest of the sugar and boil for 2-3 minutes. The colour of the payesh will be brownish, for the caramel. Turn off the heat, add rose water, stir, and let the payesh cool down completely. Garnish with chopped nuts on top.



4 cups mawa powder

1 cup evaporate milk

¼ tsp green cardamom powder

2 tbsp ghee

1 cup sugar


Mix all the ingredients with 2 cups of mawa powder. Heat all the ingredients and keep stirring for at least 15 minutes. When you see the mixture begin to reduce, remove from heat and add the remaining 2 cups of mawa powder. Stir to mix well. The mixture should come together to a consistency that can be moulded. Let the mixture cool off completely. Once cold, take 2 tablespoons in your palms and make a ball, then flatten it. Repeat to make as many as possible with the entire mixture. Enjoy. 



250g puffed rice

700g jaggery

2 cups water


Dry roast the puffed rice in a cast-iron skillet for about a minute. Remove from the skillet and keep aside. Place jaggery and water in a pan. Dissolve the jaggery over low heat. Once the jaggery dissolves, increases the heat and bring it to a boil, and cook over full flame till a two-thread consistency is reached. Mix the puffed rice into the syrup quickly. Take it off the heat and let it cool for a while. Make round balls, by moistening the hands, if the mixture is too sticky. Leave it to cool and serve.


This is a simple sweet dish made with khoi (popped rice) and jaggery. The dish is very popular in both Bangladesh and West Bengal. In West Bengal, it is called ‘upra’ and prepared during festivals.


250g khoi

250g grated jaggery

1 cup water

1 tbsp ginger juice


Pour 1 cup of water in a pan and add jaggery. Keep the pan on medium flame. Keep stirring until the jaggery dissolves and becomes sticky. Now switch off the gas and after three minutes, add khoi and ginger juice. Mix continuously with a spatula for the proper coating of jaggery. Allow it to cool down, and store in an air tight container.


Muralis are crunchy, white, sugar coated sticks that are great as snacks. These can be stored for long in air tight containers, and just like nimkis, taste great with tea.


2½ cup all-purpose flour

2½ tbsp milk powder

Water as required

Oil for deep frying

2 cups sugar

½ tsp baking powder

A pinch of salt


In a bowl, pour flour, milk, baking powder and salt. Mix well and add water to it. Knead well and make the dough. Make four parts from the dough. Roll each part out, with about ½ inch thickness, and cut the slab into finger long sticks. Now heat oil in a pan and deep fry the sticks on low heat until crunchy. Make sure these do not turn red.

For the sugar coating

In a saucepan, mix 1 cup of water with sugar. Stir on medium heat to make a thick syrup and add the fried sticks. Mix well. Allow the sticks to cool. Store and serve.



2 cups refined flour

1 cup sugar

A pinch of baking powder

2 tbsp ghee

2 green cardamom

1 tbsp lemon juice

Salt to taste

Oil for deep frying


Combine sugar, water and cardamom pods in a heavy-bottom pan and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. As the syrup thickens, reduce the heat and test the consistency. Once the sugar syrup has reached a two-string consistency, turn off the heat and add lemon juice (this prevents the syrup from crystallising). Remove from stove and keep warm.

Now, mix flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Add ghee and work it well into the mixture. Add water, little bit at a time, and knead till a stiff dough is formed. Divide the dough into equal portions and using a rolling pin, roll out into ovals. Make several slashes on the ovals with a knife or a fork. Heat sufficient ghee or oil in a pan and deep fry the gojas till light brown and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on an absorbent paper to remove excess oil or ghee. Dip the fried gojas in sugar syrup. Coat rapidly and remove quickly. Toss till dry and crisp.



2 cups shredded coconut

1 cup rice flour

½ cup gram flour

1 cup jaggery

A pinch of salt

Oil for deep frying


Take shredded coconut in a bowl, add rice flour, gram flour, salt and jaggery in it. Mix well. No need to add water because coconut itself releases water. Make small patties of the mixture and keep aside.

Heat oil in a wok. Fry the fritters on low to medium heat in batches, until golden brown, then transfer onto tissue to absorb excess oil. Serve hot.



1 cup flattened rice

1 tsp ghee

½ cup fresh coconut

½ cup ground nuts

1 tbsp mawa

2 tbsp condensed milk


Heat ghee in a pan. Roast the flattened rice on low flame for 2 minutes. Switch off the flame, and allow it to rest. Take a mixing jar, pour roasted ground nuts and fresh coconut and pulse it once, and transfer to a plate. In the same mixing jar, add the roasted flattened rice and blend until slightly coarse, transfer into the same plate. Add mawa and condensed milk. Mix well and shape the laddus in your palms.  



1 cup sesame seeds

¾ cup sugar

1 tbsp ghee


Take sugar and ghee in a pan, and let the sugar melt. Now add sesame seeds to it and mix well. Pour on the work platform and roll very quickly and to make thin papads. This needs to be done very quickly to avoid it getting cold. Before you put the mixture on the platform, apply some ghee on it. Cut into pieces and serve.


Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed

Food: Salina Parvin

Styling: RBR

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