As a true blooded Bengali, how can I NOT have mishti doi in a food collection, specially when I am talking about desserts? That sweet (mishti) creamy yogurt (doi) is the stuff that dreams (and legends) are made of. And while I like it, I am a bit of a food snob. I will have it only from a certain couple of shops or not at all. Too sweet, I say.
But, I am NOT talking about mishti doi here. In fact I am talking about the unsweetened white yogurt you get in every sweet meat shop on every corner. And I am talking about bonde. (Pronounced bow-day. There's a nasal twang after the 'o', the n is silent.) Or 'boondi', if you will, only it has been dipped in sugar syrup!
When we were young every weekend saw us jazzing off to our garden house in North Calcutta. It was an old property with huge grounds and a pond and much of my childhood memories are centered here. It was built by my ancestors when Maniktala was outside the city. By the time we got to it, it was our own little slice of heaven in the middle of North Calcutta! On our way to the place, or even the next day for breakfast, my dad would pick up kachoris and daal and samosas. And he would get bonde.
What is bonde, you ask? Well little balls of gram flour are fried in hot oil and steeped in sugar syrup. By little balls I mean tiny, about the size of small peas. They usually use food colouring so the end result is a red and yellow bowl of tiny sweet balls. Like this:
I know, that does not sound very interesting and seems too sweet. At least it does to me.
But have it the way my father and my uncles have it. With sour yogurt.
The sourness of the yogurt off-sets the sweetness of the bonde beautifully. and suddenly, you find you want some more!!!