Kheer kodom is a popular Bengali sweet. Photo: Dreamstime
It's a truth universally acknowledged that a Bengali's love for sweets is unparalleled. The mishti enjoys cult status in every Bengali household to say the least. On a serious note, life without roshogolla and sondesh is dull for any Bengali.
But did you know that there's more to mishti than these two varieties? Here is a list of interesting and unique Bengali sweets popularly available in the state.
Joynogor-er moa: Situated south of Kolkata is a small town that invented the moa - a sweetmeat prepared with date palm jaggery and khoi or popped rice. Joynogor has ever since been popular for this specialty with folks carrying them for friends and family far and wide.
Mihidana: Mihidanais a unique sweet that traces its origin in the Bardhaman district of West Bengal. It is prepared by frying tiny boondis and soaking them in sugar syrup. You may call it the deconstructed motichoor laddu!
Khirer shingara: Shingara is nothing but samosa in Bengali. A khirer shingara is therefore a sweet samosa made with a sweet filling of khoya and raisins. The samosas are deep fried and then lightly coated with sugar syrup.
Goja: You don't often associate fried sweets with Bengalis as they are too fond of their milk-based sweets. But goja is different. A very unique sweet shaped as squares, goja is nothing but fried pastry dunked in sugar syrup.
Kheer kodom: A sweet that is now equally popular outside Bengal is the kheer kodom with two layers of sugary goodness. You will be surprised to find a semi-moist rasgulla coated with kheer the moment you take the first bite.
Choshir payesh: A dying recipe of sorts, choshi is a Bengali version of Italian pasta! First, a dough is made using rice flour and semolina. Then they are shaped as rice grains by using hands followed by cooking them like any kheer.
Lobongo lotika: Also known as Launglata in the northern states of UP and Bihar, lobongo lotika is a sweet prepared by wrapping grainy kheer with a pastry like a parcel and then soaking in sugar syrup. It is sealed with a lavang or clove, and that is how it derives its name.
Ladikeni: When the Governor-General of India, Lord Canning and his wife first visited the country, the sweet-makers of Kolkata prepared a unique mishti called ladikeni. The treat was made with chenna or chaana, which is nothing but curd cheese similar to paneer. The dough was given a longish shape, deep fried and then soaked in sugar syrup.
Nolen gurer sandesh: Date palm jaggery is probably one of the best things to have happened to Bengalis. No winter passes by without gorging on nolen gurer mishti. Since it is harvested during the cold months, it is typically unavailable throughout the year. Nolen gurer sondesh thus becomes unique in its own way.
Shor bhaaja: Shor bhaaja is yet another rare specialty of Bengal as it requires considerable skill and effort to make it. Once a heavy cream forms, it is separated from the milk and cut into squares and fried. These are then soaked in a scented, sugary syrup. The result is a delicious, melt-in-your-mouth sweet rarely found outside the state.