On this Krishna Janmashtami, I’m making mishti dahi or mishti doi, a traditional Bengali milk dessert, inspired from Veggie Belly. Best left to set overnight in earthen or terracotta pots, mishti dahi can be prepared in advance and kept chilled in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Its characteristic creamy texture, subtly underlined by caramel overtones, makes it popular in many parts of East India. Dahi or yogurt is regarded as auspicious by people of Hindu faith and is part of festive and religious occasions.

This is why I chose to make it on the birthday of Lord Krishna, the divine herdsman from Vrindavan, worshipped as the 8th avatar of Lord Vishnu. As a child, Krishna is well known for being mischievous, stealing home churned butter from his neighborhood, which earned him the nickname Makhan Chor/ butter thief. Maybe he never got to taste mishti dahi otherwise he would have turned into a dahi chor/yogurt thief.

MISHTI DAHI

Ingredients:

1 cup full cream milk

340g evaporated milk

200g condensed milk

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon water

1/3 cup plain yogurt

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 175 oF and switch it off. Pour the evaporated milk and full cream milk in a heavy based vessel.
  • Heat them until above body temperature. To this add the condensed milk. In the meantime, heat sugar in a pan.

  • Heat on low heat until the sugar is caramelized to nice golden brown. Turn off heat, add water and stir with a spoon.
  • Add this caramelized sugar to the milk mixture. When milk mixture is warm, add the yogurt and blend well together.

  • Pour them in individual serving containers. Close with lid or foil. Let the yogurt set overnight in the preheated oven.
  • Then refrigerate until yogurt is set for at least a few hours before serving. Makes 4 individual servings of mishti dahi.

Hare Krishna

Happy Raksha Bandhan folks! This year I made besan barfi - my very first attempt at making this barfi - which thankfully turned out quite well. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not that gifted with Indian sweets but the step by step tutorial from What’s Cooking Mom made everything really easy. There is no sugar syrup that you have to bring to one-thread consistency nor do you have to go through the pain of shaping each sweet into a ball or a roll. I did not even worry about getting a uniform shade and texture; the small sugar lumps got caramelized in the residual heat of the mixture and I do not find anyone who objected to these crunchy bits of caramel in my besan barfi.

BESAN BARFI

Ingredients:

1 cup besan/ gram flour

4 tablespoons ghee/ clarified butter

1 cup white sugar, finely ground

½ teaspoon cardamom powder

1 tablespoon raw almonds, chopped

1 tablespoon pistachio kernels, chopped

Method:

  • In a non stick pan, melt ghee over medium heat. Add besan and keep stirring. After 1 minute, turn flame to low.

  • Keep on stirring till besan changes color for about 30 minutes. Keep an eye on the color and smell of the besan.

  • Stir continuously so that it is uniform in color. Once besan gives an aromatic smell, add sugar and cardamom.

  • Remove from heat and mix thoroughly so as to incorporate sugar. Add a bit of ghee if mixture turns too dry.

  • Grease the tray in which you want to set barfi with a little ghee. Spread the mixture in tray while it is still hot.

  • Decorate with chopped almond and pistachios. Leave the tray to set. Once barfi is set, cut into desired shapes.

Happy Raksha Bandhan!

 

Warm Nutella crêpes with fresh strawberries and toasted almonds… if only I could wake up to this on every cold winter morning!

STRAWBERRY NUTELLA CREPES

Ingredients:

2 large eggs, room temperature

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1 1/4 cup full cream milk

1 cup all purpose flour

3 tablespoons sugar

Nutella hazelnut spread

200g fresh strawberries

50g almond flakes, toasted

Method:

  • In a medium sized bowl, combine eggs, melted butter, milk, water, flour and sugar. Whisk together until well combined.
  • Refrigerate the mixture for about 30 minutes to allow bubbles to settle. Preheat a medium frying pan over medium heat.

  • Transfer the mixture to a measuring cup. It should be almost 2 cups worth of batter. Grease the frying pan lightly with oil.
  • Once the pan is hot, pour 1/4 cup of batter into the pan. Immediately roll the pan in a circular motion to thin out the crêpe.

  • Crêpes should be very thin, not thick like a pancake. Cook the crêpe for about a minute to a minute and twenty seconds.
  • Then flip it over with a spatula. The crêpe should be a light golden brown before flipping, if not, give it a little more time.

  • Once flipped, cook for another minute and transfer to a serving plate. Repeat the process until you run out of crêpe batter.
  • Spray the pan each time before pouring batter for a new crêpe. Allow crêpes to cool slightly before spreading with Nutella.

  • Fold into quarters and spread a thin layer of Nutella over one quarter. Add a few thinly sliced strawberries over the Nutella.
  • Fold it up again, top with almond flakes and drizzle with some more Nutella. Repeat the process for each crêpe. Makes 15.

Strawberry Nutella Crêpes

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