Monday, 8 March 2021

Monthalman মন্থালমান Moong Dal Sweet From Nineteenth Century Bengali Cookbook



Monthalman মন্থালমান is a dessert made from Moong Dal (Split Husked Green Gram). This sweet is a different take in terms of technique on our good old Moong Dal Barfi. The recipe is from late 19th Century Bengal (Undivided Bengal) which saw the publication of India's very first Recipe Book PAKRAJESWAR IN 1831 followed by the second edition of the same book being published under the patronage of the then King of Burdwan in 1854.

Monthalman মন্থালমান is a sweet which the author Bipradas Mukhopadhyay says is like a pious nectar which is befitting as an offering to the Hindu Gods and this is also mentioned in Hindu Shastras. Bipradas Mukhopadhyay was a well known editor of a monthly Bengali Magazine Pak Pranali (Cooking Method / System / Techniques) which was based on cooking techniques and recipes of that era and aimed to teach the common Bengali bhadramahila or gentle woman the ever evolving Procedure and recipes which was a result of amalgamating the changes that Bengal was undergoing at that time because of both the Mughal Royal Kitchens and the British Raj influences on the quintessential Bengali cuisine. Off course not to forget the culinary influences which came into Bengal from other parts of India and the world at large. 

Bengali Women were keen to learn the nouvelle techniques and hone their skills to keep pace with the modifying palette of the local populace,  so that they could rustle up these diverse dishes in their kitchen and garner accolades thereafter. Bipradas Mukhopadhyay later compiled the recipes into his highly successful book Pak Pranali. You will be surprised to see how dishes like Armenian Khichuri, German Stew, Hyderabadi Kalia / Qualia, Ooler(Suran/Elephant foot yam) Kashmiri Dalna etc. being featured in the book. As you can see by the name that these dishes were adapted and then woven into the Bengali culinary fabric.

Just like the sweet I am sharing with you here Monthalman  মন্থালমান which was an adaptation of the much liked Moong Dal Barfi. The language of this book is a pure Bengali dialect spoken in that era and also the measurements are in bygone era weights like Seer, Powa, Chotak, Tola etc.

I have undertaken this venture of cooking from these erstwhile cookbooks solely because of my love for all things ancient and also to explore my roots more closely.





MONTHALMAN মন্থালমান RECIPE ~

AUTHOR ~ PIYALI SEKHAR MUTHA

MAKES ~ 16 PIECES 80 GMS EACH APPROXIMATELY
CUISINE ~ INDIAN, BENGALI
TYPE ~ SWEETS
TIME ~ 15 MINS PREPARATION + 30 MINS COOKING TIME (IF YOU HAVE THE KHEER / REDUCED MILK READY OR ADD ANOTHER 20 MINUTES) + 15 MINUTES MOUDING AND DEMOULDING (IF YOU WANT TO GIVE THIS THE SHAPE OF BARFI THEN IT WILL TAKE 2 HOURS TO SET FULLY)

INGREDIENTS ~


🌿500 GMS MOONG DAL / HUSKED SPLIT GREEN GRAM FINE POWDER
🌿130 GMS GHEE / CLARIFIED BUTTER
🌿2 TBSP GHEE / CLARIFIED BUTTER TO USE IN BRUSHING THE MOULD OR A JUST ENOUGH TO BRUSH YOUR CONTAINER IF YOU ARE MAKING BURFI SHAPED MONTHALMAN মন্থালমান
🌿350 GMS KHEER / REDUCED MILK ( USE 1 LITER MILK AND REDUCE IT TO 500 GMS)
🌿400 ~ 500 GMS SUGAR DEPENDING ON YOUR TASTE
🌿1 TBSP CASHEWNUTS FINELY CHOPPED
🌿1 TBSP ALMOND SLIVERS
🌿1 TBSP PISTACHIO FINELY SLICED
🌿1 TSP CHOTI ELAICHI / GREEN CARDAMOM POWDER (ALTERNATELY YOU CAN TRY WITH 1/2 TSP JAIPHAL / NUTMEG)
🌿1/4 TH OR LARGE PINCH SAFFRON STRANDS
🌿WATER EQUAL TO THE QUANTITY OF SUGAR SYRUP USED

LET'S MAKE MONTHALMAN মন্থালমান IN EASY STEPS ~


STEP 1 ~ 

** Grind 500 Gms Moong Dal / husked split Green Gram into a really fine powder. Alternately if available in the grocery store you can buy the powder directly.

NOTE ~  Use a kitchen scale and weigh your ingredients. The same Moong Dal or husked split Green Gram varies from state to state and country to country in terms of the region they are grown in. Therefore keeping my recipe as a reference make yours, but take the liberty to increase or decrease the quantity of ingredients according to how your ingredients behave.

** To make Kheer or Reduced Milk, take japan and add 1 Ltr full Cream Milk. Bring to a rolling boil and then simmer till milk is reduced to 500 Gms. 

** Take a large mixing bowl. Add Moong Dal powder, Ghee and Kheer. Use your clean hands and mix everything in the bowl into a homogeneous mixture. At the end this mixture should look like bread crumbs.

** Transfer this mixture into a large pan and place the pan on low heat.

STEP 2 ~

** Using a spatula move the mixture around the pan taking care that it doesn't brown nor stick to the bottom of your pan. 

** Simultaneously on another burner or hotplate start making the sugar syrup. Take a pan. Add equal quantities of Sugar and Water . Add Saffron crushed between your palms to this slurry. Cook till the sugar completely dissolves.

NOTE ~ If you are not comfortable at doing both simultaneously, then please make the sugar syrup before transferring the mixture into the pan. The temperature of the sugar syrup can be from hot to warm to room temperature but not cold as the sugar syrup may crystallise. 

** Continue cooking the mixture or lightly frying it till the raw smell disappears and the mixture turns golden (Not Brown) Also the texture should be uniform with no lumps and only fine tiny crumbs.

NOTE ~ If you notice any lumps break it with your spatula. Keep regulating the heat and moving the mixture around without giving long intervals which means almost continuosly.

** Pour the Saffron Infused Sugar Syrup into your mixture. You will need muscle power to move the mixture around now as it will become sticky. Keep going and moving the sticky mixture around. Keep the temperature low. 

** Add Almonds, Cashew Nuts, Pistachios and Green Cardamom Powder. Integrate well. 

** Keep on moving the mixture around till it neither sticks to the spatula nor the pan. Also take a lemon size mixture out of the pan and when it's cool enough to handle test whether it is like a dough and you can make a small ball shape with it. Also the mixture should not stick to your hand. At this point you know your mixture is ready.

NOTE ~ If the mixture is crumbly and doesn't act like a dough, add a little kheer / reduced milk and try again. If the mixture is sticky, add 1 Tsp ghee / clarified butter and try again to form a dough.

STEP 3 ~ 

** Remove the pan from the burner or hotplate and wait for the mixture to become comfortable enough to handle. Remember that mixture should not become cold or else it will become crumbly and you will not be able to shape it in your mould. So once the mixture is in a temperature, I can handle, I put the pan with the mixture back on the burner or hotplate and keep the heat to the lowest. Next I divide the Monthalman mixture into equal portions by weighing them. Here each portion is about 80 Gms.

** Grease the mould with ghee. I heat the mould on a griddle as it becomes easy for me to demoed the Monthalman 

** Take one 80 Gms portion of Monthalman  mixture and place it on the mould.

** Press this mixture so that it acquires the shape of the mould.

** Demould slowly.

** Place on a plate lined with butter paper or just like that. Your MONTHALMAN মন্থালমান is ready to devour.




































No comments:

Post a comment