It was in the year 1882 that solicitor Shyamal Dhon Dutta started the Durga Pujo in his Balaram Dey Street premises to celebrate the birth of his first grandson. 2019 marked the 138th year of the Pujo in the Dutta Bari, where the Goddess is still worshipped with the same splendour and pomp .
Pujo rituals here start from the Krishna Nobomi. Kumari Pujo is being held on Shoptomi, Oshtomi and Nobomi.
No animal sacrifice is practiced. And no annobhog is offered to the Goddess. Bhog is an array of decadent sweets and delectable savoury Items. Sweets include doi, narkel naru, goja , dorbesh, ledikeni among others. (The ledikeni offered for bhog is almost the size of a tennis ball, Arita, a scion of the Dutta family had regaled while sharing the recipe with me). Radhaballabhi, khasta kochuri , poddo nimki feature amidst the savoury delicacies offered to the deity.
Today in the eleventh and last of my posts of the Mahabhog series I recreate the Ledikeni, following the steps Aritra had detailed to me.
Ledikeni. Created by the legendary Bhim Chandra Nag in the honour of Lady Canning. A symphony of homemade chhana and khoya. Fried to a gorgeous golden. Soaked in a sinful sugar syrup. Divine !!!
If you are keen to learn what is served to the deity in the various bonedi barir Pujo as part of their bhog, do stay tuned for more !!
And if you haven’t already, here’s my posts on what’s in the bhog offered to Maa Durga.
1. Shibpur RoyChowdhury Barir Kolar Borar Payesh
2. Sabarna Roy Choudhury Barir Pui Chingri
3. Chorbagan Chatterjee Barir Niramish Bhetki Maacher Ghonto
4. Bhawanipur Nandan Barir Chandrapuli
5. Girish Bhawan er Chhanar Kalia
6. Rani Rashmoni Barir Perakir Payesh
7. Shovabazar Rajbarir Pokanno
8. Sheorafuli Rajbarir Rajeshwari
9. Jorasanko Daw Barir Balushahi
10. Chorbagan Chatterjee Barir Niramish Chingri Malaikari
PS – Please do not reproduce the content without appropriate permission.
Balaram Dey Street Dutta Barir Ledikeni
- 200 g homemade chhana
- 200 g khoya or milk solids
- 30 g arrowroot powder
- 30 g plain flour
- 1/2 cup ghee
- oil for frying
- 2.5 cups sugar
- 3 cups water
For the thin sugar syrup
- Take 1 cup of sugar and 1.5 cup of water water in a pan. Heat over a medium flame till the sugar dissolves completely. Stir occasionally, some 8-10 mins.
For the thick sugar syrup
- Take 1.5 cup of sugar and 1.5cup of water water in a pan. Heat over a medium flame till the sugar dissolves completely. Stir occasionally till the syrup is sticky, close to half a string consistency.
For the Ledikeni
- Place the chhana on a flat surface and knead it with the heel of your palm. About 4-5 minutes.
- Now add the crumbled khoya, arrowroot powder and plain flour to the chhana, mix well and continue to knead for another 7 minutes or so till the khoya is almost incorporated into the chhana.
- Tear small portions off the chhana and khoya dough and make oblong shaped balls with the help of your palm. Keep aside.
- Recipe calls for frying only in ghee, I have taken the liberty to add half a cup of ghee to my frying oil.
- Heat the oil -ghee mix over a low flame till just warm. (Take care to not over-heat the oil. If the oil is very hot, the outside of the ledikeni shall brown very quickly while the inside shall remain uncooked.)
- Fry the dough balls gently over a low flame till they fluff up and gradually rise to the surface. Continue frying till golden brown on all sides. It takes 20-25 odd minutes to fry a batch. Keep aside the ledikeni over a kitchen towel.
- Allow the oil to cool before proceeding to fry the next batch.
- Warm the thin sugar syrup. Add the fried ledikeni to the sugar syrup, allow to soak for 2 odd hours.
- Now warm the thick sugar syrup. Remove the ledikeni from the thin syrup and add them to the thick syrup, again allowing them to soak for 2 odd hours. Serve.