Durga Puja 2013 Timtable and Kalakand in Microwave

Subho Shashthi

Durga puja has already started. As Bengal gets decked up with all the pandals and the puja shopping almost come to an end, I on the other hand, living thousands of miles away is waiting for this weekend to arrive. The Durga puja in the US is held during weekends just for the convenience of the attendees.

While I miss on my dose of the Kolkata Durga pooja fever, I’m getting ready to celebrate the US style Durga puja. I will definitely miss the phuchka, alu kabli, churmur, ghugni – oh I cant stop writing the list of road side food that I’ll be missing on this puja – but would have a new taste, a new experience of celebrating puja just over the weekend.

The street food on Kolkata adds an added charm to the whole flavor of Durga puja, but there is always the home cooked prasad. Though my family strictly becomes vegetarian during the four days of puja, mainly because of the fact we have our own durga idol at home, and she has been worshiped in the family for more than a century now. And, as Ma Durga is bid adieu, the next day, ekdashi is the day to eat fish and only fish. The entire family with brothers, sisters, cousins, their spouses, their kids – you know how the Indian family tree is – eats, sitting on the floor. Last year I was heading the frying department of the lunch, mostly because my mom felt her daughter is old enough to get married so she is old enough to cook for hundred people, or at least the dal and bhaja part. So, my task for last ekdashi was to make loitta macher vada for the entire family. It was intimidating, it was tiring, yet there was a satisfaction seeing everybody asking for more.

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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

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)


• 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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Guest Post: Rasogolla (Rasgulla)

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Once upon a time there lived a Bengali who loved sweets. Does it seem to be starting of some fairy tale from Thakurmar Jhuli? I’m not trying to tell you any stories here, but I’m sure if you want to share your thoughts for Bengali and our love for sweets, I can very well start like this.  Sweets in Bengali diet seem to be indispensible. Be it a piece of sandesh and a spoonful of misti doi at the end of the meal or the huge platter of sweets for any social ceremonies. Bengalis can not be complete without sweets.

When we thought of conducting a poll at Cook Like a Bong FaceBook page on which is the best Sweet shop in Kolkata, we actually couldn’t come to a conclusion. With so many comments (of course thanks to all the sweet loving enthusiasts for their valuable comments), but each had a name for a different shop. Starting from Nakur, Bhim Nag and Putiram to Ganguram, Sen Mahashay, Mithai and many more.

Even though these days’ people are calorie conscious and stay away from gorging on those extra calories, but still can you just think of letting go a chance to bite on some white and mushy rasgulla (rasogolla)?

Rasgullas are soft white balls made with farmer’s cheese (chana) dipped in sugar syrup.  Khirmohon, as it was earlier called in Orissa (the actual birth place of this sweet elixir), rasgulla first appeared in the sweets shops of Kolkata during the mid of 19th century. Even though controversies prevail, Nabin Das is said to be the “Rasogolla Columbus” of Bengal who introduced this sweet to the residents of Bengal. Rasgulla was in vogue in Orissa since centuries, but it gained popularity in Bengal and has now become one of the most sought after sweets. Be it presented in a clay pot (handi) or in cans – rasogolla remains in the heart of all Bengalis and I just can’t forget that song “Ami Kolkatar rasogolla….”. If you are not satisfied with only rasogolla, then you can have a taste of a derivative of this Bengali sweet, rasomalai also called rasogolla payes.

If you are just craving to have some of these then here’s the recipe for this coveted Bengali dessert from a special guest, Sohini Biswas. Sohini is a regular contributor to the Cook Like a Bong Facebook page and we thought of publishing this Bengali sweet recipe from her kitchen.


For the Gollas:

2 litre of Full Fat Cow’s Milk (will make about 24 Rosogollas)
Juice of 2 limes
1 teaspoon Semolina/Sooji
1 tablespoon Plain Flour/Maida
1 teaspoon Sugar
Muslin Cloth/Fine strainer

For the Sugar Syrup:

5 cups Water
3 – 4 cups Granulated Sugar (depending on whether u have a sweet tooth or not!)
½ teaspoon Crushed Green Cardamom
2 teaspoon Rose water
1 small pinch Saffron


For the Gollas:

  • Heat the milk in a deep bottomed sauce pan and bring to boil.
  • Add the lemon juice slowly to curdle the milk.
  • Once the milk is fully curdled and the green whey has been released. Place the muslin cloth on a strainer and slowly drain the whey out.
  • Keep the paneer under cool running water for a few seconds (this will remove any smell of lime).
  • Tie the ends of the cloth and hang for an hour. In a large bowl start kneading the paneer.
  • Add the semolina and flour and knead for about 5-10 mins till the dough is soft and smooth.
  • Divide into equal sized round smooth balls (keep an eye on the size of the balls as they will get bigger-about double the original size!!). Make sure the balls are crack free.

For the Syrup and the Rosogollas:

  • Heat water and sugar in a wide mouth stock pot.
  • Add the rose water and cardamom powder after the water starts boiling and the sugar is dissolved.
  • Lower the heat and add the balls one at a time.
  • Cover the pot and cook on lowest flame for about 40-45 mins.
  • Remove lid and add the saffron strands and cook for another 5 mins.
  • Take the pan off heat and let it sit for 5 mins. Garnish with roughly chopped pistachios and serve warm.
    Can be refridgerated upto 5 days in an airtight container.

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Sewaiyan Payesh (Sweet Vermicelli Pudding)

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Aah, at last I started writing a post after such a long time. Studies, exams, shifting, travelling had taken away most of my time I had in the past month. The little I had for myself, I was too lazy to dedicate that for blogging. But, after preparing vermicelli payes this evening I was bent on writing the recipe. The pudding was an instant hit at home, it got over even before the pudding turned cold.

Vermicelli is a common ingredient in Italian cuisine. It is thinner than spaghettis but is used almost like pasta. While Italians mainly use vermicelli as a savory, in South Asian cuisine it is mainly used to prepare kheer or pudding. Vermicelli is called in different names in different parts of the Indian continent – seviyan in Urdu and Hindi, semai in Bengali, sev in Gujrati, sevalu or semiyan in Telugu, semiya in Tamil and Kannada. It is mainly prepared from semolina, but the one I used it was wheat flour vermicelli.


  • Broken Vermicelli (Semai/ Sewaiyan): 150gms
  • Ful fat cream Milk (Dudh): 1 ½ litre
  • Sugar (Chini): ¾ cup
  • Clarified butter (Ghee): 2 tablespoons
  • Raisin (Kismis): ¼ cup
  • Cashew (Kaju badam): ¼ cup


  • Boil the milk in low flame so that it reaches almost three-fourth of the original volume
  • In a skillet or wok heat 1 ½ tablespoon of clarified butter, decrease the flame and fry the vermicelli till it turns golden brown
  • Pour the roasted vermicelli to the milk and bring to boil
  • Add the sugar and take out of flame after 5 to 7 minutes or till the vermicelli is soft
  • Serve hot or cold garnished with raisins and cashews

Hot Tips – Vermicelli tends to get burnt very quickly so continue stirring.

Further Readings – She’reya, Mughlai Vermicelli dessert

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Strawberry Sandesh

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“Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.”
-Ernestine Ulmer

Strawberry Sandesh

Strawberry Sandesh

Remember bite that you had craved for at the middle of the night at a place miles away from home? Well, for me its mom’s varied curries, phuchkas and padar dokaner mishti (পাড়ার দোকানের মিষ্টি – sweets from the local sweetshop). If you are from Kolkata, or have any other Bengali affiliation, probably you crave for the same.

If you live outside Bengal, you may find it tough to find any bengali sweet in your neighbourhood. Let alone different types of Sandesh. [You may find Phuchka though. Even if not, home made Phuchka is easy to prepare].

So, here are the simple steps to prepare an exotic variety – Strawberry Sandesh. If you can’t wait to know how to prepare Strawberry Sandesh, you may skip a couple of paragraphs ahead. Or else, read on for its History

History of Sandesh

Bengali cuisine was revolutionized in the 19th century. And the four sweet shops of Kolkata (কলকাতা ) , the then Calcutta) played a major role. These shops were named after their founders – Bhim Nag, K.C Das, Dwarika Ghosh and Ganguram and with these started the history of Sandesh (সন্দেশ).

Of these 4 pioneers, Bhim Nag patronized Sandesh (also referred as sandes, shandesh, sondes). Even after a century, Bhim Nag’s Sandesh is still a don’t-miss-when-you-are-in-Kolkata.

Most popular variety of Sandesh includes kara paker sandesh (কড়া পাকের সন্দেশ ), nalen gurer sandesh (নলেন  গুড়ের সন্দেশ), naram chanar sandesh (নরম ছানার সন্দেশ). Several companies even claim to do R&D in this field, but fresh chana (curd cheese) sandesh still remains a popular name.

The Request

In Cook Like a Bong Facebook page, Anshika requested for the flavored sandes recipe. I took the chance and bought some fresh strawberries from the market and prepared the strawberry sandes. It was an instant hit (it kicked ass!) among all who devoured the sweet.

Makes 10 sandesh

Preparation time: 30min + 1 hour

Cooking time: 20min




  • Full cream milk (Dudh – দুধ): 1 litre
  • Strawberry (স্ট্রবেরি): 150gm
  • Sugar (Chini – চিনি): 3 tablespoon
  • Lemon Juice (Pati lebur ras – পাতি লেবুর রস): 2 tablespoon
  • Water (Jal – জল): 4 tablespoon



  • Boil the milk, as it starts to increase in volume pour in the lemon juice and gently stir with a ladle
  • Chop the strawberries (don’t forget to put in some pieces in your mouth J) and put those in a pan with the sugar and water
  • Cook over low flame with stirring at times so that the puree doesn’t get stick to the bottom of the pan
  • Take out of pan when it turns sticky, keep aside to cool
  • Pour the chana (curd cheese, chhana, chhena) over a thin cloth so that the whey drains out, keep it hanged for 10-15min
  • Take the chana out of the cloth on a big plate, the texture will be a little spongy
  • Press the chana only with your palm and continue till your palm feel oil
Chhana Strawberry mix

Chhana mix

  • Fold in the strawberry puree with the chana
  • Transfer the strawberry mixed chana to the wet cloth and refrigerate for an hour
  • Take the chana out of the fridge and make shapes of your wish, garnish with sliced strawberries
Strawberry Sandesh

Strawberry Sandesh

Hot Tips – Alternately, you can also put the chopped strawberries in a blender and heat the puree with only sugar for 4-5 min or till it thickens. This Sandesh is made with fresh chana, so consume it within 24 hours of preparation.

You can also use calcium lactate to curdle the milk, but I don’t like the smell of it so I prefer using lemon juice.

Further Reading – Kara Paker SandeshCream FudgeCarrot Sandesh

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Rasogollar Payesh

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“Bengalis are too much fond of sweets, it’s their national weakness”

– Anonymous

Bangalir Khawadawa

After coming back to Kolkata, I bought this book on Bengali cuisine by Shankar; the book is in Bengali and titled “Bangalir Khawadawa” (aka, Food and Feasting of Bengalis). The book has a great deal of information of various dishes, sweets, chops, and restaurants in Kolkata. The book discusses culinary skills in Bengalis of yore in great detail. But the only thing that I missed in the book was a special section on rasgulla. Which is kind of disappointing since rasgulla (or rasogolla, rashogolla) is the most widely consumed sweet among Bengalis. Well, this post isn’t a book review (it would be a later post). Let’s talk about Rasogollar Payesh.

Rasogollar Payesh

Rasogolla in Bengal

Rasgulla was invented by the sweet makers (or moira in Bengali) of Puri, the famous temple town in Orissa. In the mid 19th century Oriya cooks were hired at the rich Bengali households and with them arrived the coveted recipe of rasogolla. In 1868, a Bong sweet maker, Nabin Chandra Das refined the sweet delicacy to have a better shelf life. That was the birth of sponge rasgulla.

All I am saying this is because I got very excited with the book, and also a couple of days back I prepared a derivate of this ecstatic rasogolla and named it rasgollar payesh or rasgulla pudding or you can even call it ras malai with a slight twist. This is such a simple recipe that you can even prepare when your guests are knocking at the door. I had bought a can of rasgulla and just thought of experimenting with those sweet cheesy balls. The preparation was an instant hit and those who had the dish couldn’t stop licking their fingers (well not literally. They used spoons you see. But you get the drift. (Bhavnaon ko Samjho).

Cooking time: 30mins

Makes 16 rasgulla


Rasgulla (Rasogolla): 1kg can contains 16 (How to make Rasogolla – video)

Whole cream milk (Dudh): 1 ½ ltr

Rasgulla syrup (Rash / Raus): 1 cup, pour in more if you want it very sweet

Custard powder: 2 tablespoon

Raisin (Kismis / Kishmish): 20-25


  • Keep aside half cup of milk and pour in the rest of milk in a thick bottom pan and simmer till the volume reduces to three-fourth
  • Take the custard powder in a small bowl and gradually add the milk that was kept aside to make a smooth batter
  • Pour the custard mix into the simmering milk with constant stirring to avoid lump formation
  • Add one cup of the syrup from the can, I used little less than that as we don’t like too much sweet in desserts
  • Simmer again for about 5 min with constant stirring
  • Now, drop in the rasgullas one after another and take out of flame
  • Garnish with raisins
  • You can keep it in the freezer for sometime or serve it just like that

Rasogollar Payesh

Hot Tips – You can leave out the custard powder. In that case it’s better to simmer the milk for sometime more so that the volume reduces to half the original, and add ½ teaspoon of cardamon powder or one teaspoon of vanilla essence.

Further Readings – Wiki link Rasgulla, How to make Rasogolla – video

Sending this recipe to FIL: Milk hosted by Sanghi of Sanghi’s Food Delights and also to Barbara for supporting a nobel cuase with her event “LiveSTRONG With A Taste Of Yellow 2009“.

FIL Milk small

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“There is only one difference between a long life and a good dinner: that, in the dinner, the sweets come last.”

– R.L. Stevenson

I discovered a jar of rice flour a couple of days back. I don’t remember since how long it had been there in  my kitchen, but the flour looked good, and the texture was also perfect. So, I thought of preparing some patishapta to have a sweet tooth feast. Patishapta reminds me of those Poush Sankranti days at my grandparents house. There would be a feast for three days and my Dida (my mom’s mom) would prepare those patishapta sitting near the brick stove (she preferred the brick stove over the gas oven) all day long. I have never seen such perfect patishapta after her. Those more so soft and moist and the colour was a perfect tinge of very very light brown. It was almost like a ritual for all the kids at home to steal some of those hot patishapta.


Before going to the recipe details, just a little note about patishapta. Patishapta is the most popular among all pitha (also, pithe) prepared during Sankranti (Sankranthi, in South India). In simple words, patishapta is actually a rice flour crepe with coconut and jaggery fillings. The softness of the crepe and the sweet filling inside makes it the best pitha and most commonly prepared pitha. Though cakes, pastries and various other sweets are in vogue in almost every household, but I would say those who have at least tasted patishapta ones will never say no to it.

Preparation time: 10min

Cooking time: 25mins

Makes 10 patishapta


For the filling-

  • Grated Coconut (Narkel Kora): 3cups
  • Jaggery (Gur): 1cup
  • Cardamom powder (Elaich): 1/4 teaspoon

For the crepes-

  • Wheat flour (Maida): 1cup
  • Seomlina (Suji): 1/2 cup
  • Rice flour (Chal guro): 1/2cup
  • Milk (Dudh): 1cup
  • Sunflower oil for frying


For the filling-

  • In a wok heat the jaggery, as it start melting add the coconut
  • Put in the cardamom powder and stir till the coconut mixes well with the jaggery
  • Cook till the coconut feels sticky
  • Take out of flame and keep aside

For the crepes-

  • Add all dry ingredients together and mix well
  • Pour the milk with constant stirring to avoid lump formation, the batter should be smooth and freely flowing (add excess milk if required)
  • Heat a frying pan (preferably non-stick) and pour in 1 tablespoon on oil, spread it with a kitchen paper
  • Take a small bowl of batter and spread it evenly on the pan to make a round shape, do it quick before the batter sets
  • Place the filling lengthwise at the center of the crepe
  • Fold the crepe from both sides and wait till it turns light brown


Hot tips – If you don’t have a non-stick pan, don’t worry. Cut the upper part of an egg plant, keeping the stalk intact and spread the oil over the pan using it instead of a  kitchen paper.

Further Reading – Poush Parboner PatishaptaPitheHarvest foodFood During Sankranti

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Sujir Halwa

Durga Puja is a big occasion for all Bengalis and for that matter anybody who has a Bengali friend or acquaintance. Everyone who is a Bengali by heart looks out for those few days of the year when the mother goddess comes down to earth and showers her blessing. Durga Puja is also a great occasion to me too, but especially I like the Sandhi Puja night. There is of course a reason behind this liking. It is the night when the goddess is offered Sujir halwa and luchi. It just tastes so good in that combination and my mom cooks it just the way I love; not to flaccid not too condensed, just the right consistency to have it.

Not only during Durga Puja, Sujir halwa always has a soft corner in all our hearts, so throughout the year, mom prepares it often. Mom is not there now with me here in my Bangalore flat, so when it comes to having something typically Bengali I have to enter the kitchen. The other day I prepared Sujir halwa, though I couldn’t get the feeling of my mom’s love in it, but yes it satisfied my taste buds.

Serves 4


Semolina (Suji / Rava): 4 heaped tablespoons

Clarified Butter (Ghee): ½ teaspoon

Milk (Dudh): 2cups (300ml)

Sugar (Chini): 2 tablespoons

Cardamon (Elaichi): Seeds of 2 or 3 crushed to form powder

Dry fruits for garnishing


  • In a wok heat the ghee in simmering flame
  • Add the semolina along with 2 bay leaves to it and toss for a minute or two
  • Pour in the milk along with sugar and let it boil, stir every two to three minutes to ensure that the semolina doesn’t get stick to the bottom of the wok
  • When half cooked add the cardamom powder to it and stir well so that it gets mixed to the halwa
  • As the semolina thickens take it out of flame and serve with dry fruit garnishing
sujir halwa

Sujir halwa

Sujir payes serves as a good accompaniment with luchi or even can be had hot or cold as a dessert. Depending on how you like it, you can also add more or less milk to make the consistency of your choice. I like it uncondensed and so I have added more milk to it.

NB: Be very careful when you are frying the semolina in ghee, because with heat just above the optimum heat, semolina tends to get burnt. It is better to fry it in low flame with constant stirring, and ensuring that the milk is within your reach.

Check for my fiftieth post here on this blog, till then Happy Cooking, Happy Eating


Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth: Round Up

Round ups of events are always fun, be that I am reading or creating them. Just for one single thing its great to learn how everybody makes a different recipe of his or her own. Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth was not an exception. Sweets in different styles and ingredients made this event a success.
You all know WordPress.com doesn’t support advertisements and so I cannot announce a prize for the best entry, but to make it a bit more fun, there is a poll at the end of this post, so feel free and vote for your favorite recipes doe this event.

Payesam or Payesa or Kheer



Fried sweets:


Baked sweets:






Please pen down a comment if I have missed out anybody from the round up or the poll.


Vanilla Rabdi

Birthdays are special to everybody. Where ever you are and whatever state you are in everybody wants to celebrate ones birthday in the possible way. I am absolutely no exception to this. Yesterday was my birthday and of course I enjoyed it. Enjoyment and cooking – I can not keep these two words separately, so had to cook something. The festival season and also for my blog event in mind it was an unanimous decision to prepare something sweet.

Serves 4


Milk (Dudh): 1 litre

Caster Sugar (Guro Chini): 50 gms

Eggs (Dim): 4, yolks taken out

Milk powder (Guro Dudh): 4 tablespoons

Vanilla essence: ½ teaspoon

Dry fruits of choice preferably almonds, cashew and raisins


  • Boil the milk in low flame till it becomes almost half the original volume.
  • Take the egg whites in a bowl and milk powder to it. Beat the egg vigorously so that the milk powder doesn’t form any lumps.
  • Once the egg is properly beaten add vanilla essence to it.
  • With a tablespoon add the beaten egg to the milk and as it forms a lump take it out. Do it repeatedly till the egg is exhausted.
  • If extra milk is left out then simmer and lessen the volume.
  • Add dry fruits to the rabid and pour in the left out milk over it.

Alternately, if you don’t want to work so much then just pour in the beaten egg in the milk and boil till the milk forms a lump.

Chill and serve garnished with dry fruits.

vanilla rabdi

Among all these festivities I share this recipe with Pallavi for her new blog event Yummy Festival Feast- Diwali

Happy Cooking and Happy Eating

Kala Paturi

I had been writing about different dishes, fish, chicken , vegetables and everything but nothing about desserts. So thought of writing about a sweet for those who have that extra sweet tooth and even if you don’t have , I’m sure you’ll definitely like this one. This is a special sweet, typically Bengali, which you will never find in any shop throughout India I bet.

The sweet gets its name from the banana bowls it is served on, and if you don’t find any banana leaf to serve then just call it “Chhenar Sandesh”.


Milk (Dudh) : 2 litres

Lemon (Lebu): 1

Caster sugar (Guro chini): 2 tablespoons

Raisins (kismis): 10 /15

Rose water (Golap jal): 2 taespoons

Banana leaves (Kala pata)


  • Heat the milk in a pan, as it starts boiling pour in lemon juice or calcium lactate.
  • The milk will form farmer’s cheese or chhena, drain out the water.
  • Take the chhena in a plate and mash it well, and continue doing so till the surface becomes oily. You can feel with your fingertips that there are no lumps in it.
  • Add the caster sugar and the rose water and mash again till it is well mixed.
  • Make small round balls and add a raisin over each ball.
  • Put the balls in small banana leaf bowls. You can also serve it without the bowls, those are only for decoration.

Serve at the dinner table and enjoy that great Bengali feeling, anywhere anytime. Happy cooking and happy eating.
Sending it for Monthly Mingle – Low Sugar Treats
Picture: Courtesy my Sis, PUPU

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