Vasant Panchami or Shree Panchami festival is celebrated all over India with great fervour with some regional variations which mark the end of winter and the arrival of the spring season. In many regions across India, this day is devoted to the worship of goddess Saraswati, who is considered as the embodiment of knowledge and skills in all its forms like language, art and music, in the Hindu mythology.
In the eastern states of India like West Bengal, Odisha, Assam, and Tripura, goddess Saraswati is offered an elaborate bhog (feast on offering) comprising of khichuri / khichri, labra (mixed vegetable curry), bhaaja ( vegetable fritters), tok (sweet-sour chutney) and mishti doi (sweetened curd ) or payesh (rice pudding).
Curd or dahi is considered as a good omen (shagun) in Hindu tradition and so has become an indispensable part of the rituals for any auspicious occasion. Saraswati Puja is one such occasion in Bengal where it finds its due importance since this sweetened curd is customary for the preparation of prasad (offering) by mixing it with gur (jaggery) , cheera (flattened rice) and khoi (popped rice).The sweet fermented version of the curd/yogurt or the mishti doi has originated from the Bengal region of the Indian subcontinent and is one of the most adorable and sought after dessert option for the Bengalis, that never slips off their mind especially when it comes to offering reverence to the god or during any celebrations.
The thought of making it just came to my mind while I was still savouring my aunt’s awesome mishti doi and someone stuffed a clove of orange in my mouth. I instantly felt the urge to combine these two and ended up making this orange flavoured mishti doi. Try it once & you will love to try it again and again.
For the recipe scroll below:
- Full cream milk : 500 ml
- Curd (inoculum or starter culture) : 2 teaspoonfull
- Sugar : 4 tbsp
- Mandarin Orange zest (scraped from orange peel) : 1 tsp
- Mandarin Orange pulp : 1 large
( Note: You may use artificial orange essence/flavour instead of orange zest and pulp ).
1. Heat the milk in a pan and thicken it by stirring in continuously so that no layer of cream forms and reduce the volume to about 300 ml from 500 ml.
2. Spread the required amount of sugar in a plate or tray and rub most of the orange zest with sugar. Rubbing of sugar with zest gives a good flavour.
3. Add this sugar rubbed with orange zest to the reduced milk and bring the milk to boil stirring it continuously in a low flame so that the sugar melts completely.
4. Turn off the flame and cool it down to lukewarm temperature ( about 40 degrees celsius ).
5. Add the remaining amount of orange zest and orange pulp to the milk and mix.
6. Add your curd inoculum and mix well. Do make sure that the milk is cool enough when the curd is added.
7. Pour in the mixture into a earthenware/ clay pot or any other utensils you like and cover. Keep it in a warm place to set or you may put them inside a closed casserole filled with little warm water if it is colder outside. In summer, you do not need to keep it inside a casserole. (Note : if you are using earthenware, grease the base of your pot inside with little amount of any neutral oil before pouring in the mixture).
8. Keep it overnight for about 10-12 hours after which you check whether it is set or not.
9. Once your curd is set, keep it inside refrigerator for a couple of hours or more.
10. Take it out and serve either chilled or after it comes to normal temperature.