Monday, 14 August 2017

Raspberry Bhapa Doi Recipe / Raspberry Steamed Yogurt (Bengali Style)

Stories are a powerful tool to weave dreams, reality, imagination, sometimes unreal, fictitious things through a web of beautiful words and then enclose them inside illustrated pages of intrigue with the potentially of picking you up gently and placing you down on those wings which then fly you into a world created by the storyteller. I may have been a year and a half old, barely capable of lifting my little self and perching myself up on the bed surrounded by fluffy pillows on all sides to break my fall in case I happened to get a wee bit adventurous. Baba would place in front of me colorful story books whose three dimensional pages would stand up before my twinkling eyes, wide with anticipation. I am told that I would sit for hours looking at them, amidst adorable sounds of cooing, gurgling, babbling, just too happy to be amongst those imaginary characters popping out of my story books.

My first memory of a story book was that of "Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Anderson". This gentleman literally walked into my tiny world and painted it with rainbows of characters, tales of love, introduced me to my first known emotions of feeling sad, being happy, singing, dancing, going on picnics, treading into the world of fairies, encountering magic and endless other things from the realm of my baby room. Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and many others came to be a part of my life. That was till my maternal grandmother Didun came one day and took me by my hand into a very different sphere of stories. She would narrate them to me in her extraordinary way knowing the art of transforming the characters from her tales into existent figures, whom I could see around me. Her mythological stories kept me completely fascinated and I would look out for her every time I needed to be transported into this imaginary world of Kings, ancient kingdoms, Gods who took Human forms to save Mankind from the verge of destruction from all powerful Demons.

On one such occasion she narrated the fascinating story of Lord Krishna and how he was incarnated to rid the world of a tyrant King like Kansa and how he played the pivotal role in the epic Mahabharata to ensure the win of the Pandavas over the evil Duryodhana and the Kauravas in the fierce battle of Kuruskhetra. Today as my fingers fly over the keyboard as I try to encapsulate my memories of those wonderful times spent with Didun and her stories, my memory triggers another very fond episode of her making Bhapa Doi on every occasion of Krishna Janmashtami. Today I celebrate her stories, her glorious recipes by making her Bhapa Doi on the day we observe the birth of Lord Krishna.

Bhapa Doi is the Bengali for Steamed Yogurt. I followed Didun's recipe in terms of the ratio of yogurt to milk etc. tweaking it accordingly to suit today's ingredients and giving it my touch by adding Raspberry Jam to the Bhapa Doi mixture before steaming it and finally topped the Bhapa Doi with fresh raspberries and raspberry sauce. My family loves all kinds of berries and so I decided to flavour the quintessential Bhapa Doi with Raspberry. You can follow the recipe below and make the most perfect Bhapa Doi in its traditional form or try a bit of fusion by adding flavours of fruits or nuts as per your family's liking. Dear readers if you follow the recipe given below completely you will rustle up the exact Bhapa Doi as the Bengali's do. Bhapa Doi resembles a cheesecake in texture, is dense and always served chilled. It is extremely creamy and liquefies the moment you place a spoonful on your tongue. As there is no added sugar, it is not intensely sweet but just the right amount of sweetness makes this simply delectable. Another thing I would like to add here, my maternal grandmother did not use condensed milk like I did but she would use reduced thick creamy milk and steam the Yogurt on a coal fired traditional stove. Now let us have a quick look at the ingredients followed by the procedure of making Bhapa Doi.

Raspberry Bhapa Doi Recipe / Raspberry Flavoured Steamed Yogurt Recipe~



  • 1 Cup (250 Gms) Yogurt, use Greek Yogurt or Full Cream Hung Yogurt for best results
  • 1 Cup (250 Ml ) Condensed Milk
  • 1/4 Cup Reduced Milk or simply Full Cream Milk if you are in a hurry
  • 4 Tsp Raspberry Jam, omit if you are making the traditional Bhapa Doi, alternately use a flavour which your family likes
  • Fresh Raspberries for topping, optional
  • Raspberry Sauce for serving with, optional

Let's make Raspberry Bhapa Doi / Raspberry Flavoured Steamed Yogurt in easy steps ~

1) In a large mixing bowl add the Yogurt, Condensed Milk. Wisk together to dissolve any lump and get a smooth mixture.

** Add Milk and stir it in.
** Add the Raspberry jelly and stir till you get a homogeneous mixture.
NOTE ~ The mixture will be thick and flowly but not runny.

2) Transfer mixture into the vessel in which you will steam it. I grease the vessel using a little clarified butter so that I can easily demould the Bhapa Doi and serve it if desired. However greasing the bowl is optional. You can use ramekins or few smaller bowls too instead of one large bowl for individual servings.

** Cover the bowl tightly. You can first cover the bowl with an aluminum foil and then place the lid. The idea is to not allow water to enter as we steam the yogurt.

** Place the bowl in a steamer and steam for 25 to 30 minutes.
NOTE ~ In case you do not have a steamer, take a large deep sauce pan, bigger than the bowl with the yogurt mixture. Fill it with three fingers height of water from the bottom. Place a vessel like a bowl inverted inside the sauce pan to raise the height and prevent water from getting into the bowl with the yogurt mixture. Place the bowl with the yogurt mixture on top of the inverted bowl, lid tightly on. Cover the saucepan. Bring the water to a rolling boil and then simmer. Ensure that there is a constant supply of steam in the saucepan, yet the water doesn't bubble it's way into the bowl with the yogurt mixture.

** When the bowl with the steamed yogurt is cool enough to handle, remove from the saucepan, bring to room temperature and then refrigerate for 3~ 4 hours before serving.
NOTE ~ It is natural to have a little liquid oozing from the sides of your Steamed yogurt bowl.

** Serve chilled topped with fresh raspberries and pour a little Raspberry sauce too.

This traditional Bhapa Doi has been an instant hit whenever I have made it. If you think I am exaggerating then make it and serve to your folks and you will also echo my words thereafter.

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