Bengalis are considered as food-lovers (khadya-rashik).For them any sumptuous bengali meal is always incomplete without a sweet dish. Just like any french meal which would remain incomplete without a bottle of exquisite french wine.
I was not a big fan of sweet earlier but when you live with someone for a long period of time, you quickly start to adapt some of your partner’s habits be it deliberately or inadvertently. Maybe sometimes for the good or worst - so is my case. My sweet S unlike me, does love his sweets quite ardently. With us, desserts do not necessarily need to be complicated or fancy; they simply have to be labeled dessert. Sometimes, only a piece of quality bittersweet chocolate will do especially after main meal be it lunch or dinner.
Well known Bengali sweets are generally made of milk products and sugar be it sweetened cottage cheese (chhena), khoa (reduced solidified milk). Sometimes even flours of different cereals and pulses are used to prepare and embellished with nuts, raisins or grated coconut.
From quite a long, I was craving for Narkal sondesh (grated coconut sweet). But somehow things were not in my favour and it didn’t get prepared. Much like other aspects of life, it takes a bit of perspiration and lots of inspiration. At last, I had to ask hesitatingly to my Sondesh guru and my inspirer (mil) to prepare for me which she accepted it considering my situation…peut-etre!
I learnt preparing this from her but today I will recite my joy of eating for the one she prepared on my request to tantalize my tongue.
Simple to prepare
- Mix sugar powder and grated coconut paste.
- Place the mixture over the heat and stir constantly to avoid lumps.
- When the sugar melts, add milk powder and remove the pan from the heat. Stir few more times.
- Add the cardamom powder and mix again.
- Now cool it a little and then smear the stone mold with oil; Press sugary-coconut on the mold to decorate their upper surface occasionally with help of water.
These sweets are commonly prepared for religious festival or marriage or offering to household deity. But as I said, today it was prepared for me.