Well – they asked me to.
Ok, well, what actually happened was this. One of my friends, who writes poetry here and is also an artist, facts that I do not hold against her, posted an article on the benefits of bhindi, aka okra. For my benefit.
Then another friend said “Please put up an article where mishti doi is shown as beneficial to health. I am sure one of those must be around”.
Naturally, being the goody-goody, helpful type that I am, I offered to write one up.
He replied “Ah, Sharmaji, one could always depend on you!”, which I took to mean he accepted my offer.
So friendsh, what the hell is mishti doi, anyway? To understand that, we need to understand
- Mishti = sweet as an adjective, also sweets in general.
- Doi = yogurt
- Language = Bengali.
- In Hindi, it would be mithi dahi, but it isn’t because the Hindi speaking world knows not the wonderful thing the Bongs know and love.
- Nolen gur = New jaggery, literally.
Why the Bongs call it “nolen” when they have a perfectly good word, “notun”, that means “new”, I don’t know. I suspect it is to throw off Philistines such as myself and keep the secret safe.
For those who don’t know what jaggery is, jaggery is the hard, brown sugar left after the sugar has been heated down into a solid mass of sugar crystals and molasses. I don’t have the time ( or the inclination, being a lazy ass whose sinussssssessss are acting up ) to go into all the wonderful things you can do with jaggery.
Did someone say peanut brittle? Ok, well done, no one likes a know-it-all!
I should know.
The yogurt is a traditional culture. As all the yogurt ads from Activia and Oikos etc will tell you probiotics are good for you. They make you slim to the point where your belly dances on it’s own and readily accepts diamonds and other precious stones in it’s navel. The benefits are many, your body’s natural digestive juices are spruced up, the peptins get more pep and the enzymes generally perk up and take notes. The chyme rings with bell-like clarity. All this, of course, results in the amino acids linking hands and skipping along through the alimentary canal spreading joy everywhere. Not least the next morning.
All this is a good thing. ( Digression Alert: 1066 and All That is a fine book which should be compulsory reading for all teachers and students of history ).
Now let’s take the gur, jaggery, the unrefined sugar. It’s the mishti in the doi, but is it the fly in the ointment? Is the goodness of the yogurt sullied and nullied ( or is it sullified and nullified? ) by the sweet?
First: it is unrefined sugar. Horror! The it’s sugar in the raw! Terror!
At this point, we should consider the story of the guy who walked into the bar and said to the bartender, “Give me a drink! What a terrible day, give me something really good”.
The bartender gives him a glass with something in it. The guy takes a sip and asks “What the hell is this?”
The bartender says, ‘It has Milk, Sugar and Rum. The Sugar gives you energy, the Milk gives you strength”.
The guys says, “What about the rum? What does that do?”
The bartender replies, “It gives you ideas on what to do with all that strength and energy”.
Well, folks, now that you have stopped laughing consider that mishti doi has both milk products AND sugar! Two out of three ain’t bad!
Oh, one more thing for the eco / green types: the real mishti doi is made in earthen pots, which are bio-degradeable, too.
Get your Bong friend to get you a litre tub of this delicious goodie today and dig in!