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Yesterday was one of those days when I should have just put my feet up, read a book, chilled out, watched a movie, or done anything other than cook. What a disaster. I’ve made this dish many times before and it’s come out great, but yesterday, I decided to go big – on everything. So basically I put too much yoghurt, steamed it for too long and was left with a curdled mess leaking yellow water. This is what happens when you don’t follow the rules of proportion in baking (or steaming).
And why do you need to know this? Because it’s a lesson on what not to do, so that you get it right the first time. After trying two different methods of cooking the Doi – steaming it and baking it in the oven with a water bath – I finally got it right and the oven won hands down as the fool proof method. Great consistency and monitoring ability so that you don’t overcook it.
This batch came out perfect and if you follow my instructions to the T, you won’t go wrong.
I also realised that with a food blog, the cooking is really the easiest part of the whole shindig. The photos are what make or break you. Do you know what it takes to get the right picture? I’m apparently nowhere near, it seems, and have been told that no matter how cracking your recipes are, if your picture is no good, there’s simply no point in putting out anything.
So yesterday, after my wonderful friend and honest critic in a very kind manner told me that my pictures in my last two posts needed improvement – meaning they basically basically sucked, which I already knew – I thought I’d make a bit more of an effort trying to get them right for this post.
Oh God! The shenanigans that followed. Took the side table with `artfully arranged’ condiments to the balcony – bad light. Shifted it to a different corner – as bad. Rearranged all the condiments to try and make a passable composition – no good. Called neighbour friend and carted table over to her balcony across the hall where she gets sun – too sunny. Got her to stand holding a sheet over her head to diffuse the light – too dark. Both of us stuck together to block the sun – still no good. Aaaaaaarrrrrrgggggh. Die man Die!
Anyway, tried again with the finished product in the evening. Our school motto was `Never Give In’. It still is. I decided to live that motto and after an hour of more contortions, angle changes and death-staring the phone and the food, I finally got a decent shot in my estimation. Yay!
After all that, here are some stats:
Time taken to assemble the dessert (not including the toppings) = 1 minute
Time taken to bake = 30 minutes
Time taken to make the toppings = 10 minutes
Time taken to get a passable photo = 4 hours
I’m going to crack it. I really am. My trusty old Samsung phone camera is not going to cut it anymore so I fished out a fancy DSLR type that had been gifted to my father in law for his birthday two years ago which had been lying in cold storage and am now reading the manual. The photos should hopefully get better.
I was first introduced to Bhapa Doi, which literally means steamed yoghurt in Bengali, when I was at college in Mumbai. My aunt, who wanted to see what kind of characters her niece was hanging out with, invited all my friends to lunch and made it for dessert. All these years later, I remembered the yummy taste and asked her for the recipe. I’ve adapted it a bit here.
This is one of the easiest and fastest desserts to make ever. It’s now my go-to recipe whenever I want to make a quick tasty dessert at the last moment that everyone will enjoy. Hope you do too.
Ingredients (Serves 8)
600 gms thick yoghurt
1 tin condensed milk (400 gms)
6 green cardamom (elaichi) pods peeled and seeds crushed coarsely (add more or less according to preference)
180 gms coarsely grated coconut with skin removed
70 gms jaggery grated
3 green cardamom pods peeled and seeds crushed coarsely
70 gms walnuts
50 gms almonds
20 gms white sesame seeds (optional)
30 gms powdered jaggery (or can finely grate it)
- Turn on your oven and set the temperature at 180° C
- In a large clean bowl mix the yoghurt, condensed milk and cardamom seeds well.
- Pour into a baking dish or individual ramekins.
- Place the dish in a roasting pan and fill the roasting pan with boiling water halfway up the dish making sure none of it splashes into the mixture.
- Place the roasting pan in the centre rack of the oven and bake for 25 – 30 minutes and take out before the mixture starts rising. Do NOT keep it in for longer. Only the bottom grill of the oven should be heated.
- Remove from oven and take the Doi dish out of the roasting pan and set aside to cool. Once cooled, keep it in the refrigerator for at least two hours before serving.
- On the stove/hob, heat the grated jaggery in a saucepan on low heat till it melts.
- Add the grated coconut and crushed cardamom pods and mix well till all of the coconut is a uniform golden colour.
- Turn up the heat to medium low and stir for another minute till the mixture dries a bit.
- Remove from pan and let it cool.
- Sprinkle generously over the Doi before serving.
Mixed Nuts Topping
- Toast the walnuts in a warmed saucepan on medium low heat for up to minute. Do not let them get burnt.
- Remove from pan onto a plate and cool.
- Once cooled, place the walnuts, almonds and sesame seeds in a food processor and whiz till coarsely ground. Do not make it into a powder. If you don’t have a food processor put it in a strong plastic bag and whack with a rolling pin.
- Place over the Doi and sprinkle with the finely grated jaggery or jaggery powder.
- You can even add pistachios to the mix but make sure none of the nuts are salted.
Important Notes: Do not turn on the heating element on the top of the oven. Only the bottom. If you don’t have an option to turn off the top element, place a tray just under the rods or cover the dish with foil so that the heat doesn’t directly hit the mixture. Only cover if there’s a top heating element else don’t cover.
Baking time will differ from oven to oven. Keep an eye on your dish after 20 minutes. If you see the mixture beginning to rise take it out immediately.
Get thick yoghurt. I used Nestle a+ that comes in a 400-gram tub. Runny yoghurt will ruin your dish and will release water. If you have runny yoghurt, take 200 grams extra and hang in a muslin cloth for an hour or two to drain the water.
The ratio of yoghurt to condensed milk could also be 1:1 – 400 gms condensed milk and 400 gms yoghurt – which could give a smoother texture but I found that to be too sweet for my taste especially if you are adding the toppings.
Do not overcook the Doi mixture or add too much yoghurt. It will curdle and release water and look like this: