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Know the Story Behind your Favourite Bengali Sweets!

People of West Bengal sure do have a sweet tooth, as they love nothing more than their traditional sweets and desserts. Here is a list of Bengali sweets that you must also try to get a taste of Bengal along with its history and more. 

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Divya Chauhan
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bengali sweets

Bengali sweets, also called mishti, have a never-ending list. Bengalis are known to have a sweet tooth which is why you will find a diverse range of traditional mishti here. The massive variety makes it hard for you to pick just one favourite, which is the case with most Bengalis. Fret not, here are some of the topmost Bengali sweets you must devour to get the real taste of the state. Also, enlighten yourself with the rich history of these sweets.

1. Rosogolla

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You saw it coming from miles away – didn’t you? The sweetness of Bengali desserts is incomplete without Rosogolla (read Ro-sho-gola). The mishti is spongy and is so delicious that you are left craving for more. The credit for the invention of this sweet delight goes to Nabin Chandra Das who invented it in the late 19th century. He created small balls with chena and then soaked them in sugar syrup. Thus came the iconic Rosogolla.

2. Mishti Doi

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Mishti doi or ‘sweet yogurt’ is a traditional dessert of Kolkata. The flavours of this sweet are simple yet rich. The history of this sweet dessert is believed to date back to the medieval period when the Bengali sweet-making traditions were influenced by the Portuguese. The Portuguese technique of caramelized sweetened condensed milk has its influence on the making of mishti doi.

3. Shondesh

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One of the most popular desserts of West Bengal is Shondesh, which is made from milk and sugar. While the exact origin story of Shondesh is not well-documented, the sweet originated during medieval times. The traditional process includes curdling the milk and reducing it to a solid consistency. After this, it is moulded in different sizes and shapes.

4. Kheer Kadam

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Kheer Kadam offers sweetness in layers. The sweetmeat is prepared with two layers, a creamy kheer layer on the outside and a dry rosogolla on the inside. Pop the sweet ball into your mouth and relish. The sweet is a result of experiments with diverse techniques and ingredients done by skilled confectioners (Mishtannakars) in the late 19th century. It is also said that this delicacy is the evolved form of ‘Ras Kadam Sandesh.’

5. Ledikeni

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Ledikeni is one of the most famous sweets of Bengal and a variation of Gulab Jamun. It is cylindrical, made from flour and chena, and soaked in sugar syrup. This incredible sweet is believed to have been invented by Bhim Chandra Naga in the 19th century. The origin story of Ledikeni is quite fascinating. People say that the sweet was made in honour of Lady Canning who was the wife of then Governor-General Charles Canning. The sweet was named ‘Lady Canning’, and as time passed by, it became ‘Ledikeni’. Interesting, huh?

6. Chom Chom

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Chom Chom is one of the popular sweets that is made with curdled milk and has a fluffy and spongy light texture. The sweet is then sprinkled with coconut, mawa flakes, and pistachios as garnish. It comes in different colours like light pink, brown, light yellow, and brown. Who invented this delicacy? It is believed to have been created in the 19th century in the royal court of Krishnanagar, Bengal by skilled confectioners. One popular narrative also says that the credit for this sweet delicacy goes to Nabin Chandra Das.

7. Roshomalai

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Roshomalai might be the next big thing in Bengali sweets after Rosogolla. The golden saffron-coloured dessert has a rich flavour and delicate texture. It is an evolved form of Rosogolla. We all are familiar with the name Nobin Chandra Das (an iconic Bengali confectioner). No, he didn’t make Roshomalai, but do you know who did? His son, Krishna Chandra Das, who was also a distinguished confectioner, invented Rosomalai half a century after the invention of Rosogolla.

8. Sitabhog

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Originated in Burdwan, Bengal, this traditional sweet of Bengal in which sweet white rice is accompanied by smaller-sized gulab jamun has an interesting story behind its name. According to the Legends, the dessert was Maa Sita’s (from Ramayana) favourite and that's why it's called Sita Bhog. However, stories also claim that this sweet delight was invented by the sweetmaker Bhairav Chandra Nag, who was also the maker of Mihidana.

9. Patishapta

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A crepe dish made of rice flour batter, Patishapta has a core of jaggery and coconut or khoya. It is all that you see in a Bengali home during ‘Poush Parbon’ (Sankranti). The origin story of Patishapta is not well-documented, but the dessert has strong roots in Bengali culinary traditions. The sweet originated centuries ago and the recipe is passed down from generation to generation.

Bengali sweetmeats steal your heart right away with incredible taste and unique names. They appeal to every sweet tooth in the world. So, if you are in West Bengal the next time, don’t just taste Rosogollas only. Explore an entirely new world of Bengali sweets.

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