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Desserts One Would Travel for

Shehrin Hossain

 

From the complex layers of flavor in kacchi biryani to the simply prepared yet delicious jhal muri, Bangladeshi cuisine can tempt the most sophisticated palates, but it’s our desserts, however, that really take the cake (pun intended). Made primarily from chhana (curdled milk), they are aptly titled mishti, the Bangla word for sweets. Let’s have a look at some of the desserts Bangladesh is most known for, and where to find them.

Rosh Malai

Comilla’s claim to fame are in these delicious oval balls of chhana that have become one of Bangladesh’s most famous desserts. They are laid in a concoction of thick cream called malai, added to pure milk, sometimes covered in kheer. They are usually topped with split pistachios. The heavy milk base permits each mishti to make every mouthful a moist, creamy delight.

Balish Mishti

True to its name, these large mishtis, found in Netrokona, not only resemble pillows in shape (and size!), but also in their luxuriously soft texture. Balish mishtis are typically sent to the house of the bride as part of rural wedding rituals.

Nakshi Pithha

Pithhas are a type of Bangladeshi rice cake that are found all over the country, and are typically made during the winter using rice flour and goor (date jaggery).  Nakshi literally means patterns, which are intricately drawn onto dough, which are then fried and dipped in sweet jaggery syrup. Barisal and Mymensingh are usually credited for these desserts, also widely recognized as a form of folk art.

Mishti Doi

No list for Bangladeshi desserts would be complete without this delicacy from Bogra. Mishti doi literally translates into sweet yogurt. A combination of milk, yogurt and brown sugar is left to ferment overnight, resulting in a thick, yet light mixture that melts in your mouth.

Raskadam

Found in Rajshahi, raskadam is a round, dry mishti, made by mixing curd with mawa – a type of soft, frothy cheese. Sometimes these round mishtis are topped with coconut or poppy seeds to enhance their flavor.

Shondesh

Undoubtedly one of the most popular desserts, not only in Bangladesh, but throughout the Indian subcontinent, these delectable squares of chhana are primarily found in the southwestern district of Shatkhira. Each bite of this soft, spongy goodness gives way to a subtly sweet flavor that will leave a lasting impression on your tongue.

Jilapi

As if we could leave out one of Dhaka city’s gems from this list! The makers first prepare a batter from flour and milk, which they then lower onto sizzling hot oil in rapidly twirling motions to fry.  These are then soaked in syrup. The result is a dessert with a crunchy outer layer, giving way to gooey syrup inside.

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