Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Aataa diye Phool Sondesh/Custard Apple flavoured Flower Sandesh


Impulse!
A wish or urge, particularly a sudden one. Doing things in the spur of the moment.
A few days ago, on a very popular facebook foodie page, Chef at Large, a young girl, living in Mumbai, inquired if there was anyone from Kolkata who could make and deliver sweets to her parents, as a family tradition, on the auspicious occasion of Bijoya Dashami, which is the very last day of the popular festival in West Bengal, Durga Puja.
After I looked at her post, surprisingly, no one was able to help her out. 
I felt amused that in such a big metropolitan city, no one was able to offer help by making and delivering sweets to her parents which would really bring happiness and joy to both of them. 
On checking back the facebook page I saw the resignation on this young lady as she drew a sad smiley :( on her post. 
That was the moment when 'Impulse' got the better of me and I jumped, like a Daniel come to Judgement, to offer myself in the mission to make something and have it delivered to her parents.
I offered a range of cakes and cupcakes that I had baked many times over but she suggested preference to some Bengali traditional sweets over the bakes' series. The traditional Bengali sweets do not come under my domain and comfort zone and I wondered if I had bitten more than what I could chew by accepting her requisition. 
I made two samples out of which she chose the one with the rasagulla wrapped in rose petal shaped sandesh and flavoured in custard apple.     
It took me the whole day handcrafting these delicate sweets and help from literally everyone from my family. My mother very sweetly helped me in all the steps and most importantly kept my doting daughter, Vaanya, away from all this as she thought that the chenna was her play doh and wanted to play with it! It was 8:30 pm when I finally finished shaping all the petals. The basket was arranged by my mother and Masi and these delicate beauties were laid in Banana wrappers and into the basket. My husband drove me through a rainy and jam packed Puja night to deliver the baskets to the girls parents at 10:30 pm. 
The sheer surprise and the joy I saw on the faces of her parents made each second of my hard work worthwhile. There was a little lovely note from their daughter and I am sure they felt really proud of their doting daughter's gesture of keeping up the family tradition of offering sweets in Dashami.
It was a crazy day for me but the most memorable one as the incident not only brought joy to everyone around but also, through this divine intervention, kick started a long awaited desire to start a tiny business from home that has been on the cards, but procrastinated, for quite a while. 
This is my passion that now, through this incident, has ushered me into a new chapter and certainly this is what I would love to do for a living day in and day out.  


Ingredients : I made 50 pieces for the order. But here I am giving the proportion for 10 such pieces.
  • 1 litre milk
  • 1/4 tsp citric acid/1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 Custard apple/Aata(Bengali)/Shareefa(Hindi)
  • Food colours-yellow and raspberry red
  • Chopped Pistachio for garnishing

Procedure:

Rasagulla
Heat milk in a pan and let it come to a boil. Add citric acid/lemon juice and stir well. Soon you will see the milk curdling and whey separating. Wait till the whey separates well. Remove from heat and using a muslin cloth drain the chenna(curdled milk) from whey. (Do not throw whey, reserve it for using to make soft chapati dough or make yummy dal/gravy.)
Hang the muslin cloth to drain excess water for half an hours. Remove and put on a plate. Cover with another plate and put a heavy object to drain any remaining liquid for about half an hour.
Take out the chenna and knead with the heel of your palm till smooth and reaches dough consistency. This requires patience and strong arm muscles and can take around 10 minutes.
Make 10 round shaped balls out of the kneaded chenna. 
These were made for the order and hence are more in number
Take sugar and water in a pressure cooker and let it come to a rolling boil. Lower the chenna balls in it very carefully and close the lid with the whistle on. Wait for 2-3 whistles on medium heat and then switch off the gas. Let the heat dissipate naturally.
Open lid and take out the soft spongy chenna balls or rasagullas from the syrup and keep aside to cool.



Custard Apple flavoured chenna
Peel the custard apple and put the pulpy part surrounding the seeds through a strainer. With the help of a spoon, mash it well to get the custard apple pulp. This again requires patience and time. Keep aside.
In a non stick pan, add the custard apple pulp and mix in some sugar(optional).
Add the kneaded chenna to it and on low flame keep stirring continuously to avoid burning the chenna.
The chenna will gradually change colour and will become lumpy. This should take 10-15 mins of continuous stirring.
This is called 'Makha' or 'Ready to be moulded' stage.
Remove from heat and allow to cool enough to handle with hands.


Take the rasagullas and cover them with the custard apple flavoured makha/cooked chenna. 
 
 
With a toothpick dipped in the yellow food colour, mark on top of the chenna wrapped rasagullas.


Add little raspberry red food colour to the remaining custard flavoured cooked chenna to get a baby pink colour. 
Take small balls out of it and shape them as petals.


Attach to the sides of the chenna wrapped rasagullas.


Arrange 5 such petals on the sides giving it the shape of a flower.

  
Garnish with chopped pista.


I made 50 such pieces and arranged them in a basket for my maiden venture.



Wishing all readers a Shubho Bijoya and Happy Dusshera
Amrita

38 comments:

  1. its so cool, I love sitafal and using in sondesh its absolutely divine.

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    1. Linsy, I love Sitaphal myself and it was a yummy delight as a sandesh

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  2. wow ,wonderful ,they look beautiful on u r venture.

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  3. Gosh!!! Its like a wonderful master piece and art work. I am excited to see how the sweet looks and you sure have the skills for it.

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    1. Thank you for the wonderful words of encouragement Nava-K

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  4. Hi, I just "found" your Blog today and read about your delightful 'adventure' Sometimes all we need is a push at the right time and everything just magically falls into place! I am so glad you
    have found your "calling" and have decided to venture into the Sweet Life. I have a sweet tooth myself and love baking and making deserts, but I dont think I could make anything as delicate as the Sandesh above, also, how lovely to have your whole family chipping in so you could fulfil your promise! I wish you all the best, also wish I was in Kolkatta to taste your lovely sweets! God Bless,
    Mrs Singh, Malaysia

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for stopping by Mrs Singh and blessing us.

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  5. Damn cute sandesh, very impressive and am speechless..

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  6. Excellent....good one and good luck

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  7. wow, they are awesome, glad u found ur passion!

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    Replies
    1. It truly is awesome to do something that you love doing

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  8. Gorgeously done sweets dear.... And what u have done is a sweet gesture

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    1. Thank you Vimitha, glad it is being appreciated so much

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  9. Awesomeness Amritha! :) so proud of you for your accomplishment plus your zest for jumping on to opportunities when hey come by. Lovedyour creation and dedication. I can imagine the pleasure this must have brought to you. Keep going girl... this is just the begining!! :)

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    1. Hey Nandita, thanks a ton for such sweet words of appreciation and encouragement

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  10. Hello Amrita,
    I am so touched by this humanitarian gesture of yours where your main motive was to bring happiness to your client's parents! I wonder how many of us would go ahead and do it in such short span of time and deliver it. A lot of credit goes to your parents who are always by your side looking after Vaanya and lending you a helping hand. You have a very supportive and understanding friend in Vishaal.
    You are blessed to have wonderful family, Amrita. Go ahead....the world is yours!
    Your sweets are shaped with such finesse, they look so delicate and delectable. I wish to make them for my parents for Diwali :)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Namita, you have always supported us and extended your love. I am so lucky to have such an amazing family and friends around.

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  11. I loved every bit of the story:) Love love Sandesh and love how you flavoured it with sitaphal. Amazing hardwork.

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    1. Thank you Preeti, such encouraging words make every bit of my hardwork so worthwhile.

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  12. Amrita,I love you for the wonderful person you are.the Sandesh look great & I am sure,as Sagarika's mother said,"Too good to be done done with so soon".God bless you.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Amma, you are such an amazing source of inspiration and love.

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  13. This one is such an innovative dish dear...I am so proud of you....glad to be one of your friends and hope to learn many things from you....Happy for you...Congrats and love....:)

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    1. Thank you tons Kamalika, I am blessed to have such amazing friends like you around me

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  14. perfect looking sweets dear....love the shape

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  15. Wow !! It is so beautiful Amrita,,, from where did you get the idea of that design.. and they are so perfect.. the petals,, the yellow dots,, I just love it !!! Congrats dear !!!

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    1. Thank you for the words of appreciation Jayati. I had been wanting to try this design on sandesh for quite some time and found the opportunity this time.

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  16. so cute n lovely shapes..u made them perfectly..

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  17. Very cool post made with patience.Nice info on Custard Apple

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