Saturday, 12 October 2013

Sahi Tukda (Royal Toast) on Mahastami


First of all wish you a very prosperous Maha Ashtami. Just two days ago the much awaited Durga Puja started now already it's halfway over.  Today being a weekend will start our pandal hopping and eating out, rather pigging out even if I say so myself. And if we talk about food sweet is an inseparable part of any festival in India.

Who doesn’t love sweet? And Bengalis are famous for their sweet tooth. In earlier times a meal had to end with a sweet dish. My Grandpa loved  sweets. I remember whenever we visited Kolkata during the vacations there was not a single day when we had breakfast and at least two variety of sweets was not present in the side.  Dadu (grandpa) used to go to the market every morning and buy the best sweet available that day at the moyerar dokan (sweet shop).  The freshly made spongy hot Roshogollas dipped in thick sugar syrup which the moyera would pack in big earthen pots were my favorite.

Dida(Grandma) would make Chaler Payesh (Rice pudding) with a generous seasoning of Raisins. She would add Nolen Gur instead of regular sugar which enriched the taste. Chaler payesh was always more flavorful than the Sevaiyan payesh (Roasted Vermicelli pudding) because of the Gobindobhog Chal (a type of flavored rice like the Basmati).  Once we visited North Bengal during the Durga Puja and my mother got hold of some “Choshi” from the local market. Till then I had never seen or known about Choshi - little dull white colored rice flour cylinders with bulging centre and tapered ends. Ma made Choshir payesh with them and it turned out to be one of the most delectable Payesh I have ever tasted. Add Nolen Gur to it and you will be in paradise. Choshir Payesh is a very old traditional fare, which is hardly made now-a-days and I bet there are a handful of people in our generation who has had the good luck to taste it.

During the summer vacation it was Dadu’s regular practice to have Aam-Dudh-Bhaat(Mango+Milk+Rice). A portion of the rice was kept aside, at the end of the meal he used to mix sugary ripe orange mangoes and warm milk with the rice and a pinch of sugar/sondesh. The aroma of the king of fruit was too tempting but the looks of it deterred me from trying it. The elders of the house however relished it with much joy. Now when I look back it seems I should have had tried it. Since Dadu passed away we don’t have such big family get-togethers anymore where all the family members would sit together and have their meals, interspersed with the usual adda and sharing of interesting stories.

As a kid I was a real Sweet freak. I loved anything sweet and hated anything salty or spicy. Mom also liked to have sweets. The love for sweet was in the blood. Whenever Dad used to go to the market I would tag along with him to go to the Sweet shop – Bimala Sweets (I still remember the name!). To admire the array of mouthwatering sweets arranged on the glass shelves was a very exciting thing for me. I would look out if any new type of sweet was on display and ask my dad to buy it. When I was very small dad used to leave me at the shop while he fished his bajar. I would happily stay in the shop and mingle with the shop owner and his workers. Sometimes he would offer me a sweet or two just like that. I would sit on the counter and witness the mundane activities inside the sweet shop. As I grew up a bit I became a bit shy of the surroundings and would not stay back in the shop, just buy the sweets and come back. Bimala sweets was a part of my growing up years- my metamorphosis from absolutely loving sweets to just about liking them. It was the only Sweet shop within the IIT campus during those days. During Durga Puja my entire friends group would flock there and have Matka Kulfi or Chocobars while catching up.


My Ma is a very good cook, got her culinary skills from Dida. Her culinary skills enhanced meeting my ever increasing demands of making new dishes and sweets. Now when I look back I wonder how she managed to cook 3 times a day plus interesting snacks during evening, I get worn out if I have to make 3 meals in a day. So all my evenings were filled with interesting snacks or sweets. I absolutely loved the bread Malpua she used to make more than the traditional malpua, because the former was much softer and succulent in texture and taste. Though the dish was a bit sweeter, the loving traces of malai on it was absolutely  irresistible. I am drooling even now thinking about it.

At times when there was no sweet I would resort back to Bourbon biscuit. They were always there in our home as I loved them. When I was not yet inducted to tea I would most of the times wait for ma to settle down with her evening tea so I could dip it and eat. This irked ma to no extent because my constant stirring with the biscuit would make the tea cold or sometimes even too much stirring would result in breaking the biscuit which would sink into the tea. But I never gave up and finally Ma gave up. So cleverly she permitted me to have tea so that I have my own tea to stir the biscuit in. If it was not tea time and I wanted to have Bourbon biscuit, I would separate the two biscuits, lick off the chocolate cream inside and then eat the biscuit separately. There was this friend of mine who would lick off the chocolate inside and throw away the biscuit! I was of course a better behaved kid :D.

As I grew up my love for sweet dishes decreased exponentially. I began loving salty and spicy things better. As of date I only have sweets in form of cold desserts, gajar ka halwa or if it’s a very tempting looking dessert. My husband is a chocolate addict and buys Cadburys everyday on way back home. There are very rare occasions when I demand share from the chocolate bars. The other day I was flipping some recipes on the net and came across the recipe of Sahi Tukda. It’s a bread pudding soaked in hot milk and spices, a north Indian specialty which has its roots in Pakistani cuisine. It is particularly prepared during the festive month of Ramadan and on Eid Some people say it’s similar to Double ka Meetha which is a specialty from Hyderabad.

It’s easy to make but is too much calorie packed and involves quite an amount of work in the preparation. Assembling is the easiest part. For this festive season it’s the perfect reason to indulge. This one reminds me very much of the Bread Malpua that my mom used to prepare.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes 

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Serves:2


Cuisine: Indian

Ingredients:

  • Bread (White / Brown) - 4 slices
  • Full Fat Milk - 1/2 litre
  • Dry Fruits ( Pistachios, Almonds, Cashew) - 1/4 cup
  • Sugar - 1/3 cup
  • Cornflour - 1 tsp
  • Ghee - 3/4 cup
  • Rose essence - 2 drops
  • Saffron - 4-5 strands

Method:


1. Remove the edges of the bread and slice them diagonally into two triangles. You will get 8 triangles from 4 slices.

2. Chop the nuts. Heat a non-stick pan and add 3 tsp of ghee over it. Add dried fruits and toast for a couple of minutes and keep aside. 

3. In the remaining ghee fry the bread triangles till they turn uniformly golden on both sides.


4. Take milk in a thick bottomed pan and bring to a boil. Cook on medium flame and allow the milk to reduce to half its original quantity and get a Rabri like texture. Add sugar as per taste. The mixture will be sweet enough. Add saffron strands and stir. Mix cornflour with 2-3 tbsp milk and add it to the reduced milk and mix. Add the rose essence and roasted chopped nuts.  Cut off heat and let it cool down to room temperature. Chill it in the fridge till serving time.


5. In another pan take some water and sugar. Boil it till the sugar dissolves and the mixture becomes a bit thick. Turn of heat and let it cool to room temperature.

6. Soak the bread pieces in the sugar syrup as you fry for a couple of minutes only and take them out and place on a serving dish.



7. While serving, pour the chilled rose flavored thickened milk over the bread slices, garnish with some more toasted nuts, bits of silver foil, rose petals, drizzle some rose syrup and serve.


The desert tastes better when chilled.



Sending this recipe to Pari & Jiya's "Only Traditional Recipe", Priya's and Spicy Treat's "Diwali Delicacy" event, Recipe Junction's "Spotlight : Festive Treats",Guru's "Vegan Special'13", Merry Tummy's "Cook with White", Motion and Emotions' "Theme Party" event, Gayathri and Asiya's WTML event, Simply Tadka's and Swetha's foodabulous fest .
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