By Nandini Bhushan*
From Vat Savitri to Chhath Puja, and from humble litti chokha to the traditional dal pitha, Bihar is blessed with all the flavour and spirit of pomp and splendor. Eddie Kennyson rightly said, “when opportunity presents itself, don’t be afraid to go after it.” In these columns I shall not only be tell something about my native state Bihar through the window of its festival and food, but shall also offer the recipe so that one can try it oneself.
Bihari cuisine, I believe deserves its long overdue credit, as it is one of the most unexplored and under rated food today despite being full of flavours and among the most palatable cuisines. In today’s world of marketing and flamboyance, we seriously need a makeover of the sumptuous Bihari food to find its rightful niche in the gastronomical world. We need to present our recipe to the global audience, and being a food enthusiast myself, it is my humble attempt to present a traditional Bihari food with an interesting variation.
Parwal ki Mithai
Not all of us can do great things. But Biharis are blessed with the incredible ability of doing extraordinary things out of the most ordinary stuff. To make a dessert out of a regular vegetable like Parwal or pointed gourd may sound weird. But trust me once you try this delightful sweet called Parwal ki Mithai, it would definitely leave you spell-bound. It is a really popular summer dessert that is made mostly during marriages and festivals in bihar. Stuffed with khoya and dry fruits and boiled and soaked in sugar syrup, this dessert is easy to make yet tastes amazing. Try it yourself to enjoy the extraordinary twist to the savoury Parwal .
Parwal : 250 gms
For sugar syrup
Sugar : 1 cup
Water : 1 cup
Baking soda : a pinch
For the stuffing
Mawa : 300 gms
Pista : 1 tsp
Almond : 1 tsp
Chironji : 1 tsp
Powdered sugar : 2 tsp
Silver vark (optional)
Wash the Parwal and peel them
Boil water in a pan and add the baking soda. Boil the Parwal in the hot water for about five minutes.
Strain the Parwal and keep it aside. Once cool slit from the centre and deseed them.
In a separate pan boil the sugar and water stirring continuously until the sugar dissolves to make a sugar syrup of thin consistency.
Add the Parwal in the sugar syrup and cook it for about a couple of minutes and then turn off the flame. Let the Parwal rest in the syrup for at least fifteen minutes.
For the stuffing roast the khoya in a pan until it turns light brown. Cool it down and combine it with the chopped nuts and powdered sugar.
Take out the Parwal from the syrup and drip out the excess liquid.
Stuff the Parwal with the khoya mix and coat it with silver vark.
*Nandini Bhushan is a well-known food blogger