Shahi Tukda – Nawabi Bread Pudding

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Shahi tukra literally means “royal morsels”. The tale goes like this – one of the Nawabs of Awadh  – who was certainly not very famous for his generosity – used to distribute stale breads among his subjects on his rounds in and around the kingdom. Apparently, he had almost thousand chefs or khansamas in his kitchen. One of them came up with an idea. He dipped those stale breads; the nawab would distribute among his people, with sugar syrup and then pour thickened milk over it. And, the recipe for shahi tukra came up. This was one of the many stories anecdotes by Chitrita Banerjee in her book Amazon.

 There are many talks and discussions about the real origin of this rich and creamy bread pudding. Most believe it was the Moghuls who brought this recipe along with them. This dessert has become very popular in Southern parts of the Indian sub-continent; especially in Hyderabadi cuisine. You can find very few Hyderabadi restaurant or cook book which doesn’t have a recipe for shahi tukra.

Unlike most bread puddings which uses eggs this typical Mughlai dessert is eggless and is made with condensed milk, breads, saffron and dry fruits. The shahi tukda is also called double ka meetha as the bread swells to almost double its size after baking. The double ka meetha has become an indispensable dessert to serve after the rich meal on Bakrid or during Ramadan.

Serves 4
Preparation time: 10min
Cooking time: 30min

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices of milk bread
  • 1 liter full fat cream milk
  • 200ml fresh cream
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup condensed milk
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoon almond slices
  • 4 tablespoon of clarified butter/ghee
  • Few strands of saffron
  • Edible silver foil for garnishing (optional)

Preparation:

  • Boil the milk and cream in a thick bottom pan till it reduces to almost half its original volume
  • Take out of flame and pour about 4 tablespoon of milk on 6-7 strands of saffron
  • Mix the sugar and condensed milk with the milk in the pan and place it over flame again
  • Pour in the now colored saffron milk, bring to boil with constant stirring
  • Leave to get cooled
  • Cut the crust out of the bread and cut into halves along its diagonal
  • Heat about half tablespoon ghee in a pan for each bread slice and fry till golden brown
  • Place the fried bread pieces in a baking tray and pour in about one-third of the milk on the bread pieces
  • Bake it for about 5-7 minutes at 180°C. Take out from the oven and pour in some more milk over it and then bake for about 5-7 minutes more. Take out and pour the left out milk
  • Bring to normal temperature and serve garnished with raisins, almond slices, saffron strands and edible silver foil.

Eggless Indian bread pudding

Hot Tips – If you are keeping it in the fridge then always keep it covered. The shahi tukra tend to lose the moisture making the bread slices chewy. According to your love for sweets you can adjust the amount of sugar and condensed milk.

 

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Bengali Food Bloggers Interview – Kalyan Karmakar

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You have read about our Bengali Food Bloggers Interview. We did a set of 6 interviews with various stars of the Bengali Food arena. Its been almost eighteen months and so we just thought of adding some more new names to the club. So,  to  start with here’s Kalyan Karmakar from Finely Chopped.

About Kalyan

He is a Bengali who moved to Mumbai more than a decade back.

Grew up largely at Calcutta and was at UK and Iran before that. Just like most Bengali he loves food, loves to write, loves to chat, loves to pontificate and all of these came together in his blog. His blog is almost a personal diary where he writes about the places he eats at or travel to, the dishes he cook,s folks whom he eat with and people he meet as he eats.

The blog is now three and a half years old.

Do you taste-test everything you make? Who is your guinea pig?

Yes I do eat everything I cook.

Guinea pig? Well my wife. My friends whom I call over to our house.

Most of them, including my wife, have returned for seconds

Tell us about your most loved food discovery

Asian Food. I just love the food of the Orient. The colours, the freshness, the textures, the flavours.

Specifically the discovery of the food of Malaysia. I had written Malaysia off after my first trip there. I saw it with a tourist’s and business traveller’s eyes.

Having read this a Bengali couple settled there then, whom I didn’t know, invited me over to stay with them. I returned to Malaysia and as promised, Arindam and Sasha  opened my eyes to the culinary wonders of Malaysia.

Travelling to different places and seeing them through the world of food gives me the greatest highs.

That’s as Bengali as you can get eh?

With your prolific food activities, how do you balance work, blog and personal life?

I guess you always find out time to do things that you are passionate about. I write about things which are a part of my life. I look for food stories when I am out. Write about them the  moment I get some time. Often at night. It happens. I have not given it much thought.

Your favourite kitchen equipment/appliance

My mortar and pestle. I was looking for this for a while but couldn’t find the right one.

Then I went to Chiang Mai where I attended a cooking class. There were these most astounding mortar and pestles there. Asked the instructors on where I could get it. Went to the market they pointed me to. Haggled with a sweet chubby little Chinese girl and walked back to the hotel with my prized possession.

This mortar and pestle was made with stone from Kanchanaburi close to where the River Kwai (from the movie) is. I got it back to India after paying for excess baggage. Is the pride of the kitchen and I use it very frequently for making things as diverse as Thai curry pastes to fresh Italian basil pesto mixes

One ingredient that frightens you the most? Why?

Vegetables! My sense of confidence just deserts me when I am at Lallu’s, the local vegetable shop, and I often have to ask them to identify things for me

No red blooded Bengali man really digs vegetables so it is always a bit of a challenge for me to find out more about vegetables and play with them. In fact I have recently started a vegetarian recipe section on the blog.

My wife, a Parsi, is even worse than me when it comes to vegetables

10 must haves in your fridge

  1. Good cheese 2. Asian sauces – soy, fish, chilli, sriracha 3. Cold cuts 4. Fresh water fish 5. Milk 6. Desserts (not there as often as I’d like) 7. Juices

Look honestly I can’t think of ten because I live in the Mumbai suburb of Bandra where I get everything at my arm’s reach so I don’t bother to stock up

What would you eat for your last supper?

Bengali food I guess – Rice, rui machher mudo daal (daal with fish head), alu bhaaja – thick potato fries the way my mom makes them, doi posto ilish (Hilsa cooked in curd and poppy seeds), kosha mangsho (slow cooked mutton). Loads of mishti for desserts and a chocolate cake

Which celeb chef would you invite for dinner? Why?

Anthony Bourdain. He has hung up his chef’s gloves and is a writer and TV show host now but he is my biggest inspiration. Would love to just be in the same room as him forget cooking for him.

Hope this doesn’t get me a restraining order

List your 5 favourite posts from your blog. Which one of these you like the most, why?

This is the point in the interview which reminds me of seedy interviews on Doordarshan and film mags of Hollywood playback singers or actor. Of the “yeh sab hi mere bachche hain “types

Well honestly the ones I enjoy the most are around experiences I enjoy the most. Good food of course. Great discoveries. Some fantastic people that I met.

I’ll try to choose 5 which are top of mind:

  1. Baara Haandi – Mumbai
  2. The phuchkawallahs outside South City Mall, Calcutta
  3. The markets of Chiang Mai
  4. My first day at Penang and losing my Durian virginity
  5. With the Hendricks at Sydney, Sydney fish market

I am going to add a sixth because I just love this guy – Ustad the Jalebi- Wallah

Tell us about some of the people you’ve met while working on your blog

Well to start with I have made some of best friends in recent years through the blog.

I assume you are talking more about folks who are in the ‘business’ in which case you have Vikram Doctor, food writer from Mumbai, Rushina Munshaw Ghildayal , blogger and writer from Mumbai, Xanthe Clay and Maunika Gowardhan who are food journalists, bloggers and chefs from the UK and Anjan Chatterjee of the Speciality Restaurant Group whom I met at a book launch.

Then there are some very kind folks whom I have not ‘met’ but I have interacted with quite a bit  virtually – blogger turned author turned TV personality Simon Majumdar, blogger and journalist Robyn Eckhardt of Eating Asia, Marryam Reshii and blogger  food writer Pamella Timms, both from delhi.

Gosh that’s quite a bit of name dropping.

Other than Bengali Cuisine, what cuisine interests you the most?

Asian or Oriental

  1. Recommend 5 food blogs (some Bengali, if possible) to our readers

Well here are 4 Indian Bengali blogs I follow. Ironically none written out of Calcutta

  1. Bong Mom’s Cook Book
  2. Kichhu Khon
  3. Preeoccupies
  4. Cook like a Bong (no really!)

Which leaves number 5 and that  goes to Eating Asia. This is actually my favourite blog. Has everything I like – travel, food, the Orient, great pictures, the personal touch, going beyond the usual…

 And finally, 5 fav festive dishes

Ei re, am not a very ‘festive’ person nowadays. Mutton pulao daal of Parsi weddings, Luchi chholar daal of Bengali weddings, sorpatel from Goan and East Indian Christmas celebrations, biryani from my Muslim neighbours post Bakhri Eid, birthday cakes?… can’t think of any other.Possibly because I don’t really look for special occasions when I eat.

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Patol Mishti

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Bengalis are renowned for their sweets. Be it east west north or south – the Bengali sweet has its own niche. Not much sweet, yet not too dull – the sweet has the exact quantity of sweetness as it should be to please anybody, and mind it not just the sweet lovers. It is the birthplace of sandesh. Even though rasogolla or rasgulla was not born here in Bengal, but very few people know that.

From sweets dipped in sugar syrups like the rasogolla, pantua, rajbhog to the dry and fried balushai and from soft and mushy steamed sandesh to the milk soaked rasomalai – Bengali sweet has it all.

There cannot be a meal complete without a piece of sweet at the end. A spoonful of chatni, a papad (poppadam) and a sweet is all you need to make the sweet loving Bengali praise your dinner menu.

While milk and milk products constitute more than ninety percent of the main ingredient in sweets. There are exceptions to this rule too. The patol misti, a one of a kind seasonal sweet is prepared with an outer covering of pointed gourd stuffed with khoya and small bits of sugar cubes (michri/mishri/misri) to give a nutty feel to it.

Makes 8 patol misti
Preparation time: 30min
Cooking time: 20min

Ingredients:
8 Pointed gourds
200gms khoya
2 generous tablespoon of michri
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
5-6 green cardamom
Silver foil for garnishing (optional)

Preparation:

• Peel the pointed gourd/ patol with the back of a knife.
• Slit open the patol and take out the seeds from the inside, while doing so try not to puncture the outer coat
• Mix the water and sugar together and start boiling
• Let it boil till the sugar dissolves
• Gently place the pointed gourds inside the boiling syrup and boil till the coats get softened, but not absolutely gooey
• Take out, drain the excess syrup and let the coats get completed cooled
• Mix the khoya with the michri and stuff the coats gently with the khoya mixture
• If using the silver foil, wrap the sweets with the foil
• Keep the sweets on the upper rack of refrigerator till before serving

Hot Tips – While boiling the patol, don’t let it touch the base of the pan for long, it will change color then. Also if the syrup starts becoming too thick and caramelizing then pour in more water to make it thin. A syrup of one thred consistency is the best for boiling the pointed gourds. Thicker than that the sugar wont get inside the gourds.

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