A dessert popular in West Bengal, Mihidana is originally from the Bardhaman district. It is basically made of gram flour or besan mixed with water to make watery dough that is passed through a sieve and deep-fried in clarified butter or ghee and soaked in sugar syrup. The result is a fine long sweet and crispy treat that can be garnished with finely chopped dried fruits of your choice like raisins or prunes. This is an indepensable treat in India and West Bengal even got a patent in making the sweet.
Mihidana comes from two words, mihi, which means ‘fine,’ and dana, which means ‘grain,’ so mihidana literally translates to “fine grains.” The key ingredient in this gourmet cooking recipe is the gram flour, also known as besan. Besan or gram flour is a ground, dried chickpea that is a staple ingredient in Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi cooking. Also known as chickpea flour, chickpea lentil flour, or garbanzo flour, besan is high in protein and is free of gluten. It is used in making falafels and Indian fritters as a batter to coat vegetables, meats or fish. It is also added in curries and sauces as a thickener. Besan is finely ground like flour and not coarse. The roasted variety gives the dish a rich and nutty taste. In India, chhola or chana is the term used for gram that has not been ground to a fine powder and is in its raw condition.
The process of making mihidana starts with a batter of besan and water until a liquid paste is formed. Obtaining the right consistency is very important; it should be fluid enough to pass through a sieve and make noodle-like shapes but still be solid enough so as to form the structure without making a soggy mess. The batter should fall into the hot boiling oil drop by drop.
300gms gram flour or besan
300ml of vegetable or any cooking oil/clarified butter or ghee
2 cups sugar
1 liter water
1 table spoon dry fruits of your choice, finely choppedPreparation Instructions1. In a bowl mix besan or gram flour with enough water to form a thin liquid paste that is free flowing.
2. To make sugar syrup, heat water in a pan and add sugar to it. Blend well. Allow it to cook for about 5-6 minutes or till the desired consistency is reached.
3. In a deep pan heat ghee or clarified butter and pass the besan batter though a sieve so that it forms small round balls on medium flame till golden brown. While still warm transfer them to the sugar syrup.
4. Allow it to soak for about 30 minutes and then drain the excess water and set aside.5. To this mix the finely chopped dry fruits and serve is a pudding dish.