Events Awards Interview

Cadbury Gane Mishti, 2021

6:06 AM


During 80's, in our little university town of Santiniketan we had only one Sweet shop, Nabadweep er Mishtir Dokan. A small nondescript mud structure with plenty of wobbly benches to sit and gorge on some kochuri in the morning or to relish the evening tea with piping hot singara in the evening. Apart from Mouchak and Pantua, his mishtis did not have many fanbases. but as beggars are no choosers we always had to buy them every time we had guests at home. 
But this sweet shop literally won me over when 15 years later it experimented with cocoa powder in the sondesh. The slight bitterness paired so well with the sugar that we all wished they had done in earlier. Little did I know then that 10 years more down the line one of the most famous chocolate brand of the World will involve all mishti makers in Bengal to experiment and create such sweets.

Bengal is known as the sweetest part of India and the Cadbury Mishti Campaign, " Cadbury Mishti Sera Srishti' since 2011 is an endeavor to being a part of Bengal's thriving dessert scene and tap into Bengal's consumer culture. Over the years they have been able to bring in the best Mishti makers from the state and have enthralled us with innovative chocolate laden creations that we could not imagine before. 

This year they have taken this initiative one step further and have blended in another passion of Bengal, which is Music. 

The theme for 2021 is Cadbury dairy milk Gaane Mishti.  To take this idea forward they had selected 10 classic songs from different genres that Bengalis are very nostalgic about and have created a fresh rendition of the songs by 11 prominent singers of this time, While 10 famous mishti outlets of Bengal have brainstormed to create innovative cadbury mishtis based on themes around the gaane mishti songs. Gaan bhalobese khan is actually a dream come true for us where we can listen to our favourite songs and can transcend them beyond experiential boundary by having it too in the forms of Chocolate mishtis.

Roasted Cauliflower recipe by Chef Nancy Silverton, in association with FBAI and American pistachio growers.

3:02 AM


 

Recently I was invited by FBAI  to join an hour long discussion and recipe demonstration using American Pistachio. The event was organized by American Pistachio growers and the recipe demonstration was done by none other than the renowned chef, Baker, and author Nancy Silverton.

The event started on a very interesting note of a virtual pistachio harvest in the farms of California. It gave us a peek into the process and culture of collecting pistachios in that region and helped us to see it in a new light.

Till date pistachios were synonymous with desserts and mithais but this event threw new light on this humble nut. American pistachios are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals and contain essential nutrients vital to individual growth and development. This is also considered as a complete protein and only a serving of pistachio contains the same amount of protein found in one egg. In a country like ours with many vegetarian population, this is a piece of very important information and people could use it as a good source of protein in their diet.

Later the charming Nancy Silverton demonstrated two fascinating recipes. On a live session, this James beard foundation's outstanding chef award winner baked one amazing pistachio tart and roasted a whole head of cauliflower with pistachio crumble and green onion creme fraiche. The Cauliflower dish came out really perfect, Sightly charred at the top with clean flavors and a slight tang from the creme fraiche.  Not to mention how healthy it was. We all loved it at home and Since this is the season of tender cauliflowers I decided to share her recipe :

Roasted cauliflower with Pistachio crumble



Recipe:

Step 1: Roasting the cauliflower

Ingredients:
1 each cauliflower, leaves intact
Kosher salt for seasoning cooking water / as needed
3 tbsp / 20 g olive oil blend
2 tsp / 5 g kosher salt

Method:
Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position. Preheat the oven to 374°F (190°C).
Fill a large stockpot with water and bring to a boil. Add kosher salt until the water tastes like the ocean.
Place the whole cauliflower into the water. The cauliflower will float, and the leaves will stick out of the water.
Cook for about 7 minutes. Using tongs, flip the cauliflower so the leaves are submerged and cook for another 3 minutes.
Remove the cauliflower from the water and place onto a baking sheet.
Allow to cool to room temperature.
Pour off any excess water that had accumulated on the sheet pan and wipe dry.
Drizzle the cauliflower with the olive oil blend and sprinkle with 2 tsp (5 g) kosher salt.

Step 2:Green onion Creme Fraiche

Ingredients:
½ cup / 120 g crème fraiche
¼ cup / 30 g scallions, minced
¼ cup / 30 g shallots, minced
1 garlic, grated with Microplane
2 tsp / 6 g kosher salt
½ lemon, juiced

Method:
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients, combine and set aside.

Step 3: Pistachio crumble

Ingredients:
¼ cup / 55 g blended olive oil
¼ cup / 30 g whole pistachios
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 each, zest of lemon, peeled with peeler
2 tbsp / 3 g fresh oregano, finely chopped
1 tsp / 1 g fresh thyme, finely chopped
½ tsp / 3 g kosher salt

Method:
In a small sauce pot, combine oil, pistachios, garlic, and lemon zest and cook over medium heat until the
garlic is light golden brown, and the nuts are toasted. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. 
In a food processor, add the mixture, oregano, thyme and salt. Pulse the mixture until the lemon zest is broken down and the nuts are chopped. The mixture will be like a chunky paste.

Step 4: Assemble and serve

Plate the cauliflower on a serving dish and spread the crumble on top. Serve with the creme fraiche and an extra sprinkling of green onion on top.


Bengali

Taler Pithe (Bengali Steamed Palmyra palm cake)

11:31 PM


In Bengal the month Bhadro is infamous for two reasons. Bhadrer pawcha garom (The sticky highly humid weather) and Bhadrer Paka Taal (ripe palmyra or toddy palm) and for obvious reasons these two are interconnected.

Taal is a unique fruit and while maturing from raw to ripe passes through a very interesting cycle.

When raw it is famous as Taalgoda/ talsansh or ice apple all over India. There hardly would be anyone who hasn't quenched their thirst in peak summer with it's cooling transparent seeds that holds some refreshing liquid inside. Throughout the country, the vendors will set their carts on the roadsides and will skillfully cut open the fruit to reveal the three perfectly shaped pods of Talshans or ice apple. The shape sure is special and the water inside it makes it a fun thing to eat. So much so that in Bengal, on an order to create something special to befool the new son in law a special sweet was crafted following this. Jolbhora or Korapaker Taalsansh the famous Bengali milk fudge was created to celebrate this unique fruit. 

Then it takes a couple of months to mature and ripen perfectly at the beginning of Sharad Ritu. The deep orange pulp gets sweeter and develops a heady aroma to announce the arrival of many mouth-watering sweet treats for the festive days like Janmashtami and Nanda Utsab.  and when they start to fall off from the tree,  It is then that the Bengalis plan their festive treats around it and a special day called Tal Nabami is dedicated to such treats.
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Bengali

Kathal Bichir Daal (A Faux Dal recipe with jack fruit seeds)

5:40 PM


Bengal has always been described as the land of abundance. Each and every traveler whoever crossed this lush green land has always described it as the land of bounty and abundance. But the history and destiny of this land changed forever under the British rule especially in the 18th and 19th century when many famines devastated this land. Chiattorer monontor or the famine of 1770 wiped out almost one-third of the population so as the famine of 1943 which estimated to have killed around 3 million Bengalis.

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