Mishti Doi Melting Sweetness

Team Chronicle

Mishti doi is synonymous with the city of joy. What tea is to Darjeeling, biryani to Hyderabad, mishi doi is to Calcutta. Served in earthen pots, this typical Bengali dessert, the passion for sweet toothed Bengali, has won the hearts of even those living outside Bengal. Sometime in the nineteenth century somewhere in the city, someone mixed sugar to the warm milk before setting it for fermentation, resulting in a sweetened variety of the traditional pristine white doi. The clay pot has two advantages-it cools the mixture allowing evaporation and absorbs the excess whey. Before long what was served as a dessert after a family meal began to be sold commercially by various establishments. In this issue we made rounds of the age-old confectionery shops to find out who makes the yummiest mishti doi in the city.

Dwarik Ghosh

We visited the shop in Shaymabazar at five-point crossing, quite close to Bagbazar Street. While customers poured in to indulge their sweet tooth, we tasted their doi- very light, subtly flavoured and smooth. The Ghosh family, particularly Mr Parthapratim Ghosh, continues to be closely involved in the supervision when karigars prepare the doi at their factory in north Calcutta – the staff at the sales counter informed us. Both varieties, sweet and the unsweetened, were deliciously light and smooth- the two unique qualities of the Dwarik product which they have continued to retain for the past two centuries.


Amrita has acquired a formidable reputation in just around 70 years for its unique doi, best known for its rich and thick top layer. As storeowner Anjan Dey told us, he seals doi in two rounds, in the late morning and during the evening. In both cases, the total stock is sold out. It is easy to see why. The doi is quite unbelievably creamy, better than the best ice-cream you ever had. “We boil the milk for about five hours to ensure we get the right texture”, said Anjan. The doi is perhaps a little sweeter than expected but it is still quite unbeatably creamy. This single store business sells 40-50kg in each round — twice a day!

Sen Mahashay

Sen Mahashay, located just a few buildings away from Amrita, is a perfect example of a successful confectioner. With a chain of six stores around the city, it provides a complete range of Bengali sweets and snacks besides its famous misthi doi at outlets that have adequate room within the store for customers to relax and eat. The doi, we found, has a light top layer and is mildly pink in colour compared to the others. Its other unique quality is its smoothness, so much so that it tastes like ice cream when it is chilled. The chain is known for handling large party orders apart from serving as a local hangout zone for comfort food in the locality. Unbeatable formula!


Santosh Sweets, located in College Row opposite College Street Market, is a single store business with the sweet factory located right behind the sales counter. The mishti doi is light yet rich in flavours. Located in the book-publishing district, close to Calcutta University and Presidency College (now University), it boasts of loyal customers including noted authors and intellectuals – and the quality is quite exceptional. As co-owner Nimai Dey said modestly, “We all use the sweet water from the Tallah water works and so you may think doi in this area tastes similar, but you will admit each one has its unique feel”. We quite agree with him. The store sells 30-35 earthen pots with capacity of 2kg each daily on a typical summer day.


Jadav Das, also from north Calcutta (though we visited the Rashbehari Avenue outlet), is arguably the most popular doi maker supplying their product to various functions and parties but is a major hit with small buyers as well. Like some others, it has supplemented its sweet and unsweetened range of yoghurt adding flavours such as mango pulp (a typical Bengali meal), chocolate and saffron. “We have to work out ways in order to attract the youth who are eating unhealthy high fat desserts – and therefore this innovation. What we sell is healthy and as enjoyable as any other dessert”, said co-owner Soumen Das. Like the others, he too pointed out concerns like dip in the quality of milk and the whiteness of the sugar supplied by mills (which inadvertently impact the hue of doi). Nonetheless, the quality of the doi on sale was wonderful and while not very creamy, left a beautiful aroma and aftertaste.