Three Delicious Bengali Sweets

Bongs and their Misti (sweet, both a noun and an adjective) are inseparable like a pair of old gloves. Anumita shares the recipes of three popular sweets, Misti Doi, Sandesh and Chamcham. You may make these at home and enjoy ethnic Bengali sweets anywhere in the world.

It is well known that most Bengali’s are inclined to sweets, Misti, and they make some of the best. I grew up in many parts of the world, but the genetic component of loving sweets was hard to change. So here I am gravitated towards all those mouthwatering sweets, whenever I visit Kolkata.

As I live across the globe from the sweet paradise of Kolkata, I learnt to make them to satisfy the palette of my family. My city is brimming with great Bengali ladies, who make sweets that will give Kolkata sweet stores a run for their money. Armed with a paper and pencil, I jot down the pointers of the recipes of making few of these delicacies. On the first try my sweets often they do not turn out like theirs. But for a sweet enthusiast like me, I don not let that be the end. I try again. Till I have reached the land of sweet bliss.

Misti is part and parcel of Bengalis every day. They eat it for breakfast, as a snack, as dessert or anytime, in between. They offer it to everyone that visit their homes. It is a must for all celebrations, small or big. They set on the small plates offering it to the gods, on their day-to- day puja at home. A day without misti is unheard of. Unthinkable perhaps!

Most Bengali sweets are made of milk, either in the concentrated form or in the cottage cheese form. The sweet yogurt or Misti Doi is one of the well sought after desserts of Bengal. Sandesh and Chamcham are two of the most common Bengali sweets after Rosogolla.

My favorites are the first three, and I will share my recipes with you. The Misti Doi and the Sandesh are self-taught, with guidance from my mother, while the Chamcham was a borrowed recipe from my friend Juin Sadhukha, from Cleveland.

Misti Doi

Cooking Time: 2 hrs                                                    Prep time: 15 mins

Cuisine: Traditional (Bengali)                                    Type: Dessert


16oz. Full fat yogurt

10oz. Condensed milk

8oz. Evaporated milk


Preheat the oven to 200⁰F. In a glass baking elongated tray, mix all the ingredients. Once the yogurt is completely incorporated with the condensed and evaporated milk, place it in the center of the oven. Bake for 2 hours. Then check the consistency. If it has solidified switch the oven off, and let it be in the warmth for another hour or so.

Later, put it in the refrigerator and serve cubed or scooped.



Cooking Time: 1.5 hours appox.                                       Prep time: half hour approx.

Cuisine: Traditional (Bengali)                                           Type: Dessert/Snack


½ gallon whole milk

1 cup sugar

2 cups dates’ jaggery (notun gur)

1tsp ghee (clarified butter)

1tsp cardamom powder

2tbsp vinegar


In a thick bottom pan boil milk and when it starts to rise add vinegar. Stir slowly clockwise and let the milk curdle. Once the water separates, lay a cheese cloth on a strainer and pour in the curdled milk. Let the water drain and tie the cheesecloth into a knot, accumulating the curdled milk (paneer/chana) inside. Hang the bundle for few hours or overnight.

In a thick bottom non-stick pan melt ghee and crumble the paneer in it. Add the cardamom powder and sugar. Keep stirring. Halfway through add the jaggery. Stir till it forms into dough and leaves the sides of the pan. Put the dough in a food processor. Run it and pour it on a plate.


To mold it into balls or any other shape, use a mold to give it the desired shape. Bengalis have ‘chanp’ or designed molds to create designs and shapes for the sondesh. This measurement usually makes 20/25 shondesh.

Shondesh stays good for few days outside the refrigerator and for a week in the refrigerator. Enjoy these tasty sweet bites anytime of the day or night.




Cooking time: 1hr approx.                                 Prep time: 1 hr approx.

Cuisine: Traditional (Bengali)                         Type: Dessert/Snack


I/2 gallon whole milk                                              

1 cup sugar

2 cup water

2 tsp vinegar

1 cup dried milk powder

Few drops of food color (optional)


Boil milk and drip in vinegar to curdle the milk. Drain it into a cheese cloth on a strainer and let the bundle hang overnight.

Then put the cottage cheese (paneer/chena) in the food processor and grind to a dough. Grease the palm and make small elongated balls of the dough. In a deep bottom pan boil the water and sugar till a slight thickening starts (should not thicken too much). Then slowly drop the paneer balls in the boiling syrup and cover and cook for 20/25 mins. Leave enough space in the pan, as the chumchums will double up in size.

Once done remove and keep them aside. Slide in the second batch; keep an eye so that the syrup does not thicken. Once all done, roll the chumchums on dry milk powder and sprinkle with ground pistachios if you like. Serve chilled or in room temperature.


The food colour may be added in the food processor to give the chumchums the colour you desire, orange or pink usually.

©Anumita Roy

Pix by author.

Anumita C. Roy

Anumita C. Roy

Anumita Chatterjee Roy is an artist at heart. She has an eye for the unusual. Her naturescapes make her the quintessential Romantic. She paints, is passionate about photography, creates word images in her verses and loves to write. She cooks delicacies and is a foodie. Born in India, she was brought up in several countries. These strengthened the global citizen in her. She now lives in the Columbus, Ohio, with her husband and two sons.
Anumita C. Roy