Desserts and Sweets

Japanese Cherry Blossom Pannacotta

3:59 AM


Summer is at its peak and our appetite at it's lowest. Add to that the stress of Election and the big result tomorrow. All these is keeping us away from the kitchen and the kids are incessantly requesting for something cold something refreshing. My fridge is full with varieties of summer fruits and myriad sherbet mixtures for such any time thirst and food cravings. While they love Aam Panna and Tentuler sharbot I am often drinking big glassfuls of my favourite Vietnamese Iced coffee to keep ourselves cool.

This cherry blossom Pannacotta was made for a recent article for Ananda Bazar Patrika along with few other Japanese recipes. Few of the readers asked for this recipe on Instagram. So here you are. A very very soothing, refreshing dessert which looks as good as it tastes. MAke it this summer with any edible flower you can lay your hands on and win over your family and guests.

I have used some salt-cured cherry blossoms that I had in the fridge. For other options please see Notes.

Bengali

Bhetki Macher Paturi Recipe

1:39 AM


As the temperature and humidity is soaring almost on a daily basis, my ability and desire to enter the kitchen is decreasing. All I can think of is Panta bhat or something very very light and simple for our daily meals. Though Salads and broth type soups will make the most sense,  but since my father does not eat anything other than Bengali food I have to find a way to balance all the needs.

bengal

Panta Bhat and accompaniments recipe

8:08 PM


So here are the promised recipes for the panta and few of it's many accompaniments. Guess I have written enough on my previous post about this meager meal so now let me delve into the recipes right away.

Here I have given an idea of how much of what is to be used. Giving an exact quantity is quite difficult. Follow your taste preference and you would be fine.

All the recipes given here are for 4 servings

Panta Bhat

Q. What kind of rice to use? Sundried or Boiled (seddho or atop)?

A: I have seen normal non-hybrid variety, boiled rice (seddho chal) lends itself better to the process of making Panta. They soften and disintegrate naturally and bring in a slightly tangy flavour. You can even use sundried rice (atop) but it has a distinct flavour which I personally do not like in my Panta.
Similarly, short grain rice is better for this recipe.

Bengali

Panta Bhat, Bengli style fermented rice

4:46 AM

In the 80’s when we were growing up summer vacation was a long affair, at least in the university town of Santiniketan that I call home. Those days in that land of red laterite soil, with no ac and frequent power cuts summer, was dry and dreaded. The only respites we had were the drenched khaskhas curtains and big bowlfuls of Panta bhat.
Panta bhat or slightly fermented overnight soaked rice has been a way of life in Rural Bengal. I believe the association goes back to the time when we discovered this grain and started consuming it. As fermentation expert Sandor Ellix Katz puts it, “Fermented foods were not exactly human inventions; they are natural phenomena that people observed and then learned how to cultivate." Following that preparing, Panta bhat was a mere way of saving the leftover rice for another meal.
Which turned out to have amazing properties of cooling down the body in Summer and keeping one hydrated and nourished for long. Something that our forefathers understood long ago and consuming panta bhat was made a part of life through many folktales and customs.

Bengali

Mochar Pur Bhaja /Batter fried Banana blossom heart

10:10 PM


The most difficult part of writing Bengali recipes in English is translating the name. For instance, what I wanted to mean is a batter fried delicacy where banana blossom heart is stuffed with coconut and mustard paste and then batter fried. But writing that idea in a few words is really difficult more so for the uninitiated.  Thank God that I have a blog here to explain all that. 

This recipe is supposed to be from my Mother's repertoire but somehow I forgot all about it. The enthusiastic cook she was she had these huge files and diaries with cuttings and handwritten recipes from various magazines. This was a handwritten recipe, most probably from some friend or from her colleague. It sounded so good that, that day itself I cooked the same and loved it. It's almost like tasting another variation of mochar paturi (Banana leaf wrapped spicy Mocha)  only with a crispy outer coating. Blissful with a simple Dal bhat meal and perfect for entertaining guests on days when you need to cook a vegetarian fare.

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