Today Bengal is known for its sandesh and roshogolla but to be honest, it was kheer’er mishti and sugar candies that were the original Bengali mishti. Chhana or homemade ricotta came into Bengal much later. Bengal was known for many sweets made with just sugar or kheer (thickened milk). Lobongo Lotika is one such mishti.
Like most Indians, even this mishti has many names. It is known as lavang lata or laung latika in Bihar and UP. Essentially, this is a sweetmeat parcel of flaky pastry. The filling is made of coconut and kheer flavoured with nutmeg. And the pastry is folded into a rectangular parcel and sealed with a clove. This is then slowly deep fried till it is golden brown and then cooked in sugar syrup.
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While sondesh and roshogolla are much lighter in taste, this is a very rich sweet. And not all sweet shops sell lobongo lotika. Having said that, when it comes to bhaja mishti (fried sweets), labanga latika holds a special place in our hearts. It is also a kind of Bengali pitha made during Sankranti.
Have you tried this patishapta pithe before?
Key Points to Remember while making Lobongo Lotika
- You need good quality full-fat milk for making kheer
- Kheer-making is a tedious time-consuming process and you cannot leave it unguarded.
- Also, you have to understand that kheer solidifies as it cools down. So cook it down to a little loose consistency.
- Refrigerate the filling and then use it for the pastry
- Rest the dough for lobongo latika for 15 minutes for better results.
- While deep-frying, the temperature should be medium so that it fries slowly and the pastry gets completely cooked. Each batch tasks about 15 minutes.
- You need to dunk these in a thin sugar syrup (single thread consistency) and then boil it for a minute and then keep them aside.
- If the sugar syrup thickens, add water and give it a boil
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For the dough
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp ghee
- water as needed
For the filling
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup milk powder
- sugar to taste
- ½ coconut grated
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- Start by heating 1 tbsp of ghee and adding 1 lt of whole milk. When it is warm, add the milk powder (or you could use a little milk to make a paste of the milk powder and then add to the milk.
- Now cook this on medium to low flame till the milk thickens. You have to stir continuously or else the milk will burn at the bottom. Towards the end, add a little bit of sugar to taste. When it has thickened but has a runny consistency, take it off the flame and set it aside.
- In another pan, heat 1 tbsp of ghee and add the grated coconut, nutmeg and after stirring for a couple of minutes, add the sugar. Keep stirring till the sugar melts and releases water. Keep stirring and add back the thickened milk.
- Cook this till you get a semi-soft consistency. Take this off the heat and let it cool down completely. You can make this before time and keep it in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.
- Now take flour in a mixing bowl and add salt and ghee to it. Using your fingers, mix everything till you get a nice crumbly sand like texture.
- To this, add water slowly till you get a firm but elastic dough. Keep this covered and let it rest for 15 minutes.
- Take the filling and make small rectangles out of it on the palm of your hand, about 1.5 mm thick and 2 cm by 3 cm in size.
- Divide the dough into small balls (enough to make about a 12 cm diameter disc).
- Roll out a dough, just like a roti and then place the filling in the center. Apply water with your fingertips on the edges of the roti.
- Now take one side and fold over the filling. Fold the opposite side overlapping the first one and press gently to seal.
- Then flip this and again wet the edges of the open sides.
- Fold them over each other and seal them with a clove in the center.
- Make all of them and keep them covered while working with individual parcels.
- Now make a sugar syrup by adding sugar and water in a pan. Keep cooking till it has become a little sticky but not thick. Keep it on a simmer (covered) while frying the parcels.
- Heat oil for deep frying. The oil should be moderately hot. Add the lobongo lotika parcels in the frying pan and gently fry them on one side and flip to the other side when one side has become golden. This is a crucial step. If the oil is too hot then it will not cook the dough from the inside.
- So, almost like a samosa frying, this has to be fried in medium to low temp oil.
- Once the frying is done, take them out of the oil and dunk in the sugar syrup and boil for 1 minute. Take them out, shake off excess syrup and place them on a tray.