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Monday, April 25, 2016

Bhapa Doi- the steamy love affair with Yogurt

A Sweet taste of Yogurt from Bengal- Bhapa Doi- Steamed Yogurt with Condensed Milk in 2 Flavor Dimensions- Orange Cardamom Clove infused N Sweet Lime Clove infused Bhapa Doi served with Chironji Praline n Salted Caramel Sauce with Lime



If I have to describe ‘Bhapa Doi’ in simple words, they will be Elegant, Deeply Satisfying N Easy, these three words sum up the existence of this amazing desert for me, well almost.


You know there are some recipes which are no fuss, easy to do and deeply satisfying n very impressive- this is one such recipe that you should have in your pocket, you can go complex with it or keep it just very simple like how it is done in Bengal, all you really need is good rich yogurt, condensed milk, milk at times and that’s all, sometimes you can add powdered cardamom to it.


I don’t know why I didn’t make this dish much before in my life, I only made it for the first time a year back n then I realized what a big beautiful thing was missing from my life, I don’t know why most people don’t talk about it, this is absolutely incredible desert, once you try it you are coming back to it again n again.


Sometimes I wonder how was the origin of this beautiful elegant desert, long ago whoever made it first, back then there was no condensed milk, so she/he must have used milk in the recipe, perhaps she/he had thicken it by slowly simmering over fire, added sugar/ michri or may be jaggery for the sweetness, if this recipe has been created before the cardamom, cinnamon, clove enter the kitchens across Bengal then it wasn’t used, perhaps they would have used mango to give it another flavor, and then pour the whole thing in a covered container and set it within boiling water to get steamed and 20 minutes after it was there in the world- a fantastic culinary surprise.


I have made Bhapa Doi with two kinds of milk; Buffalo milk n Cow milk and both give completely different textures, while the one made with buffalo milk gives more creamy smooth feel, the one made with cow milk is more granular, rough in texture, when you bite into a cow milk bhapa doi you feel like biting into a rasogolla.


There are many differences between buffalo milk n cow milk, buffalo milk has more milk protein, more richer in mineral like calcium, iron, phosphorus, more vitamin A and buffalo milk is much lower in cholesterol than cow milk. The fat content in buffalo milk is higher and the water content lower, the whey proteins in the buffalo milk are more resistant to heat denaturation compared to cow milk, may be this is the reason why steamed yogurt made from buffalo milk stays more creamier n smooth. You can try with both the milk and see the results and let me know if this matches mine.


Here in this post I have shared pictures of the 2 versions, the one with the orange on top is the one made from yogurt made from buffalo milk, and if you look closely you can see the texture feels smoother with very few bubbles while the cow milk bhapa doi looks more porous n uneven on the surface.


You must n I repeat you must try this recipe and with both milks if possible and you will only bite into an incredible desert, so now I’ll take you to the recipe.


For The Recipe: You will need

For the Orange Cardamom Clove version:
Yogurt made from Buffalo Milk -250gm or / 1 ½ cup
Condensed Milk- 150-200gm or / ¾ cup
Buffalo Milk-100gm or / ½ cup
Orange zest- from 1 orange, grated
Green cardamom- 1 slightly roasted n powdered
Clove- 1, slightly roasted n powdered
Salt – a pinch

Note: I don’t add a lot of condensed milk to the yogurt because I don’t want it too sweet, I like it while it still has a tang to it, if you like rich n sweet add more condensed milk.

For the Sweet Lime Version:
Yogurt made from Cow milk- same as above
Condensed milk- same
Cow milk full fat or double toned mixed with cream- same
Sweet Lime zest- from 1 sweet lime/Mousambi
Clove- 1, slightly roasted n powdered
Salt – a pinch

For the Praline:
Sugar- 3 tbsp
Water- 3 tbsp
Chironji Nuts- 3 tbsp slightly roasted in a pan for 2 minutes.

For the Caramel sauce:
Sugar- 2 tbsp
Butter-2 tbsp
Single cream- 4 tbsp
Lime juice- 4/6 drops


1. Whisk the yogurt with a wire whisk until it is just smooth, then add the condensed milk, add less first, mix well, see if the amount of sweetness satisfies you, then add the grated zest of orange and powdered cardamom n clove, then add the milk n mix till smooth, add a tiny pinch of salt, the texture will be not very runny but medium thick but still runny. In the case of sweet lime, add the grated zest n the powdered clove n mix till smooth.

2. In a ramekin or metal steel bowl pour the whole mixture, if you wish to get them out of the mould grease the mould with clarified butter/ghee, though it’s not necessary to get them out, you can make them in medium moulds and serve them in the moulds themselves, which is only smarter. Cover them tightly with plastic wrap.

3. Get a steamer and pour6 cups of water in it, let it come to fierce boil, when it reaches there place the container or small individual containers or ramekin in the steamer and give them about 20-30 minutes, if the container is small n the thickness of the mixture is about 1-1 ½ inch in thickness it will need about 20-25 minutes, f the thickness is about 2 inch it will take about 30 minutes, the more you steam them the more it will get firmer, so for the first time give it 25 minutes, as you make more you can play with the texture.
After 25 minutes if you shake them you can see they are still wobbling a bit, be careful with your hands, if they are still wobbling slightly take them out, make them come to room temperature, you can submerge them in cold water to quickly make them cool down, then transfer them in refrigerator for 2/4 hours to chill, they taste amazing when chilled.

4. For making the praline, place the sugar in heavy bottom saucepan with equal amount of water but pour the water gently over the sugar, make sure there are no sugar cubes outside the water, then put the heat on first slow for 3 minutes, then medium high n then make it go to dark caramel stage, when you see it is getting dark brown in color add the slightly roasted chironjis over the caramel, then pour the whole thing on a flat marble surface n let it cook for about 5 minutes, then you will be able to pick it up with a knife by light strokes.

5. For the caramel sauce make caramel like before n then add cream to it, it will start to bubble vigorously, whisk with a spoon , then add lumps of butter n whisk until smooth, finish with a pinch of sugar and a dash of lime juice, skip salt if the butter is already salted.

So now your patience is on the verge and the bhapa doi is chilled, so take off the plastic wrap and holding the spoon in your hand look at it closely, smell it and then slowly dip your spoon into it and the rest I won’t say much. Bon App├ętit.

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