The Bengali New Year, first of Baisakh, is a major event and cause for celebration among Bengalis around the world. Poila Baisakh, coincides with the new year celebrations of other communities across India, such as Ugadi, Vishu, Baisakhi, Bihu and many more; the beginning of the year as per the Hindu calendar that starts on the month, Baisakh). With the end of Chaitra, when many people fast or abstain from non-vegetarian food, the new year is cause enough to feast on delicious (usually traditional) food. For us Bengalis, the day before Poila Baisakh is ended by eating staple vegetarian dishes.
So on the day of the new year, most of us gorge on hardcore non-vegetarian food, usually homemade items such as ‘Mangsho Bhaat’ or ‘Pulao’ and a plethora of such authentic delicacies, completed with a sweet dish or two, or ten… 😛 I was, apart from making a dessert, also planning to execute a feast, sans red meat as I’m TRYING to stick to healthier alternatives, and after labouring over two days, I managed to pull it off. Unfortunately, calamity struck. My memory card crashed and the pics I had so lovingly, painstakingly taken, were all gone! BAM! Just like that! I sat and cried for an hour…the only pics I had were individual images of the dishes I’d made. I sat, I pondered, and finally, I made a collage with the pics. I don’t suppose it does justice to the food, but desperate times call for desperate measures!
The Menu (all homemade except the sweets) –
Mishti Pulao (Pilaf)
Korola bhaja (Bitter gourd fried with onion and garlic)
Kumro shaak diye mug dal (Split yellow lentils with pumpkin leaf)
Papad shyaNka (Roasted poppadums)
Pui chingri (Malabar Spinach with pumpking, eggplant, potatoes and prawns)
Aar maacher jhaal (Long-whiskered catfish curry, Indo-Burmese style)
Baked Aam Doi (not in pic)
As for dessert, I decided to try baking some mango-flavoured yogurt, rather than steaming it to make ‘Bhapa Doi’. Also, Dad had brought some beautiful and ripe ‘Gulab khas’ mangoes; these reddish-pink tinged mangoes are famous for their rosy aroma and sweet flavour.
These mangoes are perfect for making desserts, and have a soft, non-fibrous pulp that imparts a lovely flavour and texture. I used two of these to make my ‘Aam Doi’, and was extremely pleasure by the result!
Ideally, if you bake these and keep them inside the oven overnight, the results are even better. But with the heat, I decided not to do so for fear of spoilage. I did give them a couple of hours though, and made them early morning to allow them to rest 🙂
Baked Aam Doi
- Hung Curd/Yogurt (Ideally full fat) – 500 gms
- Mangoes – 2 ripe ones, pulp removed. About 1 cup pulp
- Condensed milk – 1/4 cup (adjust sweetness according to taste)
- Cardamom powder – 1/2 tsp
- Yellow food colour/Mango essence – 1/2 tsp, optional
- Blanched and chopped pistachios/almonds or both – for garnish
- Preheat oven to 180 C or 350 F.
- Tie the yogurt in a muslin cloth and squeeze out the water, leaving it suspended over a bowl for an hour or two.
- Meanwhile, collect the mango pulp in a bowl, by pureeing the mango pieces in a blender. Alternately, you can also use store-bought mango pulp/Aamras.
- In a large bowl, pour out the yogurt that you have kept tied, and add the mango pulp.
- Add the condensed milk, cardamom powder and mango essence if using.
- Use a whisk to beat it until smooth and no lumps remain.
- Pour into individual oven-safe ramekins or in a large ceramic/glass oven-friendly bowl.
- Fill a baking tray with water so it reached half-way up the ramekin sides.
- Bake them for 15 minutes, and then, cover with foil and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until top is completely set.
- Keep inside the oven for 4 hours or minimum 1 hour, and then refrigerate.
- Garnish with chopped pistachios/nuts and serve chilled
The best part was that I made these with homemade yogurt 😀 The texture was smooth and creamy, and I have to say, I loved these mangoes and will surely use them again for making desserts 😀