This is a guest post for Sudeshna. Long before my blogging journey began, my association with Cook Like a Bong started just like any other Bengali who’s starting their lives outside the comfort zones of their parents’ home… either because of work or because of marriage. Most Bengali girls (most) grow up with not much knowledge of cooking and the Porashuno or studying becoming the sole objective. ‘Jao to porashuno koro giye, rannaghor-e aar shomoy noshto korte obe na/Go and study, don’t have to waste time in the kitchen’ being the constant reminders from quintessentially Bong parents. So what do these cooking-illiterate people do once they have to set up their own homes and make their own meals? They make sites like Sudeshna’s their sole reference point!
My Blog just turned one! Not a very long journey but it has definitely been a momentous one – from making some good bloggers friends down the way, getting featured in BBC Good Food Magazine, making my favourite Rasgulla for a Ramadan special episode in the local TV channel to having loads of love from a lot of foodies the world over – the blogging journey of this Bong blogger has been quite fulfilling. And throughout the journey there has been a lot of introspection – how can I transcend myself from being a regional blogger to being an international one? No idea. Everybody still knows me as the Bong Dubai Blogger and the biggest hit that my posts have had are when I have written about Phuchka or traditional Bangla Khabar or my post on Things to Do in Dubai – Like a Tourist in my own city!
Funnily, when I made the Rasgullas for the local TV channel, I was almost mugging up the recipe from where else? But, Cook Like a Bong! The least I can do for all the meals that I have cooked successfully following these recipes apart from saying A BIG THANK YOU is to give back one recipe to Sudeshna!
But what kind of recipe shall I contribute to? Drinks, Curries, Chutneys, Sweets – everything seems to be here anyway. Before the summer hit us, Sudeshna suggested that I could perhaps do a cool summer drink. But whatever I thought of seems to have been here. Summer turned into Monsoons and now the Autumns too seem to be turning into Winter. Bengalis are still greeting each other Subho Bijoya – probably the exchange of festive greetings can continue till Kali Pujo and Diwali. This is also the time to visit family & friends with a box of sweets. Hence my virtual treat of a fusion Bengali Sweet – the Shondesh Pudding to all those who aspire to Cook Like A Bong!
This is a fairly simple recipe. Sudeshna’s blog also has many more Bengali recipes – both traditional as well as variations. Do take care while turning the pudding gently onto the plate after it’s set. It’s soft, creamy and indulgent. And prone to breaking!
Sprinkles (also called jimmies) are very small pieces of sugar strands used as a decoration on cupcakes, cookies, doughnuts, ice cream, frozen yogurt, and puddings. Hundreds-and-thousands pep up a dessert in a very novel way – it adds lot of childish spunk! These sugar-loaded pieces could be a subject by itself as you can read here.
Shondesh is perhaps one of the most popular and unique of Bengali Sweets made with Channa/Paneer/Indian Cottage Cheese. Most Bengali sweet shops outside Bengal have managed to dole out a wide variety of Bengali Sweets, but Shondesh! What could be the probable reason, I’m not too sure. It’s probably the simplicity of the recipe of Shondesh – mixing pure sweetened Channa with other aromatic garnishing – that makes it difficult to replicate!
Again, Caramel Pudding though originally transported from the European shores has entered the Indian kitchens in many parts of India and has become popular amongst the Parsis, Mangaloreans and the Anglo-Indians. There are many regional variations of the Caramel Pudding in many parts of the world (read here).
Pudding for me has many memories associated with it. Every-time my brother and I, we wanted something fancy, our Mum would stir up a Caramel Pudding in a jiffy. And we would be so thrilled and happy with our special treat. Unfortunately, my girls don’t enjoy the simple Caramel Pudding so much as we did in our childhood. Neither do they like the dry taste of Shondesh. But when I conjure the two of them together in this so called Shondesh Pudding with hundreds-and-thousands sprinkled on top, I see the same thrill and excitement in their eyes as we had in ours – many decades back.
This is perhaps the very essence of cooking – everything comes in a full circle. Recipes are passed on from one generation to another and modified and modernised in the way, incorporating the trendy bits and skimming the non-trendy ones… so Pudding from one continent gets fused with Shondesh from another continent and becomes a Bengali fusion dessert – Shondesh Pudding for the new generation of Bongs!
Unblogging it all… Ishita
Disclaimer: I hope you enjoy reading the posts with lot of visuals. While you enjoy seeing them please don’t use them. You can see more pictures of my travel and food journey here.
My Dubai diary in this blog:
♦ Things To Do In Dubai – Like A Tourist In My Own City – Showcasing the city I love to call my home!
♦ My First Authentic Emirati Food Experience! – Al Fanar Restaurant, Dubai Festival City
♦ Al Maha Desert Resort & Twitterati Lunch – Al Maha Luxury Eco Resort
♦ An Evening of Wine Tasting at Asado Wine Club – Asado Wine Club, The Palace Hotel, Old Town*
♦ The Label Project – Wines Tasted Blindly! – Invite to a Global Wine initiative from Jacob’s Creek
♦ TRIBES Celebrating South African Heritage Day! – TRIBES, the South African Restaurant in MOE*
♦ Locavorism in UAE, Friday Market♦ The Change Initiative Inspiration! – Dubai’s first sustainable store, restaurant & café
♦ Zatar Lamb, Crushed Lemon Potato with Chef Ron Pietruszka – Treat 2012, Burjuman World Food Fest + a Recipe
♦ Back To Dubai, Back to Costa –A nostalgic recount of favourite coffee haunt
♦ Searching for Shiraz – Lucknow to Kolkata to Dubai – Nostalgic search for Kolkata’s famous Shiraz Restaurant ends with Siraz opening in Bur Dubai. Exploring some Awadhi/Lucknowy Khana!
♦ Down To Earth Organic Store In Dubai & Mutton Chick Peas Curry – An event + a Recipe*
♦ Mums Who Share @JBR – A charity initiative
♦ Deep Sea Fishing & Fish Barbeque – Persian Gulf off Dubai Coast
♦ The Million Street, in the middle of nowhere – Rub Al-Khali Desert, UAE
Bengali Food Banters you’ll find in my blog:
♦ Traditional Bengali Cuisine… In ‘Slight’ Details! – An etymological explanation to the Bengalis’ food festish
♦ Pickles… Mother (-in-law) Of All Pickles! – My Pickle Nostalgia
♦ Momos in Tiretti Bazar – The Last Chinese Remnants! – A chinese Bazar near Poddar Court
♦ Phuchkas in Vivekananda Park – An ode to Dilipda’s ‘world-famous’ Phuchka
♦ Bengali Sweets That Came By Parcel! – Gujia, Jibe Goja, Abaar Khabo & Jolbhora
♦ Rôshogolla (রসগোল্লা) – Bengali’s Own Sweet – An essay on the most famous Bengali Sweet
Bengali Food Recipes you’ll find in my blog: (Do click on Recipes, Reviews, Events for a complete list of all food banters)
♦ Frozen Aam Pana/Green Mango Pulp… The Change Initiative Inspiration! – Traditional Bengali/Indian
♦ Locavorism, Friday Market & Tok Palong/Sour Spinach Chutney – Traditional Bengali
♦ Semaiya Kheer/Vermicelli Pudding, Eid in Dubai… Eid Mubarak! – Indian
♦ Mutton Kassa With Red Wine And Red Grapes – Bengali Fusion
♦ Khichuri As Harbinger of Hope & Kolkata Soaked In Rains – Traditional Bengali/Indian
♦ Hot Garlic Pickle… The Pickled Diary – Episode 1 – Indian Pickle
♦ Firni or Ferni, Ramadan or Ramzan, Mallick Bazar or Karama? – Indian Dessert
♦ A Tale of 2 Cities & Naru/Coconut Jaggery Truffles – Traditional Bengali
♦ Phuchkas in Vivekananda Park – Indian Street-food/Snacks
♦ Kaancha Aamer Chutney/Green Mango Chutney – Traditional Bengali
♦ Notun Gurer Payesh/Rice Pudding & My Dida – Traditional Bengali
♦ Rasgulla Macapuno – When a Filipina Turns Bong! – Dessert; Bengali Fusion
♦ Mango Lentil Soup/ Aam Dal – The Summer Combat – Dal; Traditional Bengali
♦ Easter Egg Curry – Side-dish; Bengali Fusion/Traditional Bengali/Continental
♦ Mashed Potato Bengali Style/ Aloo Bhaaté – Side-dish; Bengali Fusion
♦ Yoghurt Aubergine with Pomegranate – Side-dish; Bengali Fusion
♦ Purple Haze Yoghurt with Purple M&Ms – Dessert; Bengali Fusion
♦ Icecream Rasgulla with Blueberry Sauce – Dessert; Bengali Fusion