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What Is Mishti Dessert?

It’s a rather broad category of confections that originated in Bengal, a region of South Asia that encompasses the city of Kolkata and the country of Bangladesh. For centuries, Bengali culture and hospitality have been inextricably linked to the presence of these sweet treats. But their prominence spread across the region, making mishti a mainstay of South Asia’s culinary heritage. Both India and Bangladesh are now filled with legacy sweetshops that have been churning out hundreds of varieties of mishti for decades.

Traditionally, mishti was eaten to celebrate special occasions such as religious holidays or weddings. But today they can be the end to a lavish dinner, a midday sugar boost or even an indulgent breakfast. From weddings to a baby’s first mumble that loosely sounds like “mama,” there is no occasion too large or too small for mishti.

What Is Mishi Made Of?

There’s an endless variety of mishti, each hailing from different parts of the region, unique in their flavors, textures and ingredients. But regardless of variations, one element remains constant—they are all delicious and sweet. The word “mishti” is Bengali and directly translates as “sweet.”

The most popular variety are those made by combining chenna, a coagulated milk by-product, with sweeteners such as jaggery or sugar. Flavorings are then introduced to this base mixture to create iconic household staples such as Sandesh, Roshogollah, Rasmalai, chom chom and more.