Friday, April 6, 2012

Mishti Doi: The Cream Cheese of the East

In addition to the countless religious, historical and cultural attractions, another aspect that left me a very good memory of my trip to Kolkata was the gastronomic one. Bengali cuisine has adopted and continues to adopt, elements of various styles. It is a fusion of many foods traditionally eaten in the Eastern and Northern Indian cuisine. This is because they have very common foods from the North India region, especially certain types of fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and meat.

There are certain very traditional dishes that are prepared for some festivities. But today I'm not going to talk about the Mishti Doi, that you cannot stop tasting if you visit this place. It is a variety of very creamy cheese, similar to yogurt, made with goat milk or cow milk. Not only does eating at lunch it also occupies a prominent place at dinner.

It is a preparation that cannot be missing in the kitchens and tables of Bengal and the entire East. Although the taste of homemade Doi is much saltier and acidic than the commercial one when the palate becomes accustomed it is one of the best alternatives to mayonnaise and different types of creamy cheeses. It is similar to what we know as Philadelphia cheese or skyr in Finland, although slightly more acidic and potentially richer.

As you also have to go for a walk through its many street markets, in addition to the typical cheap goods, you can see wonderful stands of fruit or typical sweet of the whole East, made basically of curd with a thousand and one different flavors. The Bengali cuisine, as well as varied, is delicious. There are sweets such as rasgulla, Sandesh, or rasmalai, dipped in milk syrup. Also, you can try the Amsatta, a sweet pickle based on mango. Any sweet made of curd is delicious, both those of North Indian origin and the typical Bengali sweets, with strict rules of preparation.

All this, and the delicious sweets of Bengal, you can take them in the hundreds of sweet shops of all kinds that fill the city.

Bengal is, of course, much more than Kolkata, much more than what I tell you here. It is a land of contrasts. Of sacred places that suppose the true spiritual root of the most important cultures. It is the dreamed refuge of different races that cannot live in harmony. It is a master of the architecture of the twentieth century in each of the streets of the big city. It is a survival lesson. And it is a desire for the future.

1 comment:

~bani said...

Amaake mishti doi khoob bhalo bashi! =)

Kalyan Panja
Kalyan Panja is a photographer and a travel writer sharing stories and experiences through photographs and words