Sitabhog and Mihidana- now if I talk about the sweets of Bengal, this combo is bound to be discussed. Probably one of the blue-eyed boys of Bengal Sweets, they’ve their own set of fan following. And Burdwan (around 2 hours drive) is known to be the birthplace for it. so, in this blog post, let’s check them out.
About sitabhog mihidana
I personally believe in a strange belief, that every food has a story. And us being Indians, are quite bad at documenting it. But what we master is, make them immortal with folklores and folksongs. I. personally, am no historian and do not possess the skillset/ qualification for that. But I love collecting and sharing stories. And this is one such story on Sitabhog and Mihidana.
For the first-timer, mihidana is the miniature version of a boondi. Powdered rice and besan are mixed at a particular ratio along with ghee, powdered sugar, and saffron. the entire thing is made into a loose paste, or batter-like consistency, fried in ghee and put in sugar syrup for a very very short time. Wherein, Sitabhog is made from powdered rice and chhena. Traditionally, there had to be the famed Sitashol rice (probably from which, the naming is taken), but nowadays mostly Gobindobhog rice is used. The process is almost the same as Mihidana, but equipment varies. The color of Sitabhog pure white, whereas, Mihidana is of yellow color.
But for some strange reason, Sitabhog and Mihidana are mostly taken together. Few even mix them and have it. Now whether its the color combination or the balance of the degree of sweetness, is something to be discussed.
In around 1904, while Curzon gate was being made, Lord Curzon decided to gift the “Maharaj” title to the zamindar of Bijoychand Mahatab. And for the visit, the famous karigar Bhairab Chandra Nag was called to create a new sweet item. He was trying for Boondi. But by mistake, a wrong, finer variety of jhaara was used and as a result, boondis came out in real small size. and mihidana was born. It’s said that Sitabhog was invented at the same time with a different combination of ingredients. But history be damned, let’s start our quest for the best Sitabhog Mihidana while in Burdwan.
Now for Ganesh Mishtanna bhandar
Whenever someone talks of best Sitabhog Mihidana in Burdwan, or in general, the mention of Ganesh Sweets somehow comes in. It’s inside a narrow lane and is at a walking distance from the Curzon gate. Please check the location on the google map here. It’s a small shop and primarily famous and interested in making Sitabhog Mihidana. If you go there, blindly go for the combo of Sitabhog-Mihidana and I’d recommend going for the premium variety. For a slightly higher price (at 280/- and 300/- a kg for Mihidana and Sitabhog), you get to experience a superior aroma of ghee.
No matter whoever says whatever, I like their product and that’s my personal take. Both are quite light and 500 gm material can make 4 hungry souls quite happy. The shopkeepers are not quite friendly and it’s better to take their sweets and leave.
Though I personally like Ganesh Sweets, locals prefer another shop opposite to this, named Bhagaban Sweets. They claim to serve a superior product today. But sadly, the last time I went there, the shop was closed and thus couldn’t taste it personally
Now for the young contender- Radhaballav Mishtanna Bhandar
My friend subrata Mitra, who runs multiple rice mills in Burdwan, took me to another shop which he personally likes. And honestly many locals agree with him on the same. It’s around 5 min walking distance from Ganesh Mishtanna Bhandar and is known as Radhaballav Mishtanna Bhandar. Please check the location on the google map here. this shop is known to make non-traditional or neo-styled sweets in Burdwan. I was sternly instructed to taste their Mishti Pulao or Kashmiri Pulao.
The Kashmiri Pulao, what I’ve tasted is at 200/- a kg and is a hybrid between Sitabhog and Mihidana. While shaped and tasted like Sitabhog, it looked like long grains of Mihidana. Same powdered rice is used and probably the chhena too. Small square shaped deep-fried chhena balls, sweetened with sugar syrup is sprinkled sparingly on top (with an abundance of raisins and some unnecessary halved cashew nut) and if you talk to them sweetly, they might give you a few extra with your order. I didn’t go for any other sweet, because I survived a huge lunch before that and Sitabhog Mihidana shopping was already done.
The product is really good, and we can call it, best of both worlds. It looked like a Basanti Pulao and probably that’s the reason behind the name… But the taste was damn good and definitely recommended from my side.
I am sure there are many more good sweets shops and/ or hidden gems at Burdwan and around, which I am yet to explore. And if you know something, please let me know in the comments section. Till then, watch the video below for the Second Wife – multicuisine restaurant, Burdwan. They serve brilliant food at a great ambiance. In fact, I was quite impressed with their sanitization process. Do check them out here.
Bon apetit !!!
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Note: For this article, I’ve taken help from the writings of my friend Anupam Goswami. I’d like to thank him here.