Monday, 3 December 2012

Instant fixes

Instant Mishti Doi

A week after Diwali, it was time to clean the fridge. It was stuffed to the gills with boxes of various sizes, origins and shapes containing foodstuff in different stages of their shelf life. Then there were perfectly good leftovers that hadn’t been used as one doesn’t traditionally eat leftovers during festival time. This was a tradition inherited from a generation who cooked every meal fresh and shared it with everyone including staff and didn’t have to use the frigidaire.  But what do I do with a fridge that groans under its weight every time I open it, and is almost losing its cool!

Reaching out to the back of a shelf to see what was obstructing whatever I was stuffing into the fridge, I discovered this covered tub of malai which I had made for the ras malai for Bhaiyya Dooj (this is my nephews’ favourite).

Oh dear, hope it hasn’t gone bad, it’s been nearly a week… how much I had slogged to thicken it…you girls should have reminded me…how can you forget to finish this… if I tell you to put it away, it doesn’t mean we should forget all about it…  this means we are so spoilt that we don’t even remember to check the fridge for leftovers… you know the horrible effects of food poisoning, don’t you…and there are people in the world who don’t get to see even a fraction of what we eat…

My grumbling was routine, effortless, rehearsed (every mum inherits these dialogues in an encoded form in their mothering genome).  And surely my harangue was falling on deaf ears.

But the droning helped me to switch on to another channel in the brain to think of what I could make with this rather dubious milk malai.

Don’t get me wrong, it was beautifully thickened and fragrantly spiced with saffron, cardamom and nutmeg and still in good condition, but a suspicious mind believes more than it doubts. It believes in a formidable and ineradicable evil that lurks in every dubious dish or ingredient.

The caramel zigzags dissolve into the doi...

Darn! The milk malai is too delicious to throw way Mum!

Oh! So I was being heard…… hmmm, true. I remember the hour-long stand-up act of mine, carefully stirring the milk to evaporate it… surely my mistrust can be overcome.

Neither guilt nor gluttony and certainly not parsimony or pastiche, what transpired was sheer magic and mystic – Mishti Doi!

I added some thick yoghurt and caramel and turned it into an instant mishti doi!

And yes, before adding the caramel, I divided the mixture into two portions and added the caramel to one.

What did I do with the other portion? Keep guessing.

So what’s the recipe?

Mishti Doi with Caramel 

I would say, make ras malai, eat up all the gullas and store the masala milk in the fridge for a week.

Or take

2 cups thickened milk (leftover milk from rasmalai or basundi or even rabdi)
2 cups hung curd or greek yoghurt
Cardamom, nutmeg, saffron according to your taste
Sugar or sweetener to taste (if you aren’t using basundi or rabdi)
2 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon water

Mix the thickened milk and hung curd/yoghurt. If you aren’t using sweetened and spiced milk, add the cardamom powder, saffron and nutmeg and sugar or sweetener to taste. Mix well.

In a small thick-bottomed saucepan heat the sugar and water till it starts to caramelise. The trick here is not to stir the caramel until the sugar is completely dissolved and caramelised. Once it is done switch off the heat and immediately pour the gooey caramel into the yoghurt mixture, stirring continuously and not allowing the caramel to harden on contact with the cold yoghurt mix.

Alternately, you can make patterns by slowly pouring the caramel on the surface of the mishti doi and not stirring it. Let it chill undisturbed for some time and serve. The caramel patterns will dissolve after a while as the mishti doi gets spooned into eager mouths!


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