Winter in India is well coveted by all. No more sweating, stickiness and the blazing sun around. Back home I used to love this time of the year the most. Life now is to enjoy the abundance of fresh vegetables and fruits. It is mainly the time for weddings, celebrations, fairs, picnics and all things revolve around good food. It is also the time for nolen gur (date palm jaggery) mostly in West Bengal. People wait to try different traditional homemade sweets and desserts with nolen gur as one of the key ingredients.
I grew up seeing my mom and grand mom making these sweets and desserts with great élan. Back then I never thought of learning the art and did not have a sweet tooth. Gradually my taste changed and started loving some of the pithe and nolen gurer payesh. Now I am far away from home and sometime when I crave for some traditional sweets, I have no other choice other than to try it myself. Maa makes the best payesh I ever had but never thought of taking down the recipe. The other day when I thought of giving the recipe a try, I called her and tried getting the recipe. You know how moms are; they will give you all the detailed instructions, the dos and don’ts but can’t say the exact amount of ingredients for the recipe. She insists on “chokher andaz” (to eye ball the ingredients for the recipe). After several conversations I came down to this recipe which came out beautifully. When I tasted, it just tasted like Maa’s. I love you Maa for the recipe. I want to document this recipe as I do not want to rely on ‘andaz’ in future.
The recipe is very simple with very few ingredients. Here I have used the liquid nolen gur which was available in the Bangladeshi store. The sweetness and the flavor were just right. You can always adjust the sweetness according to personal likings.
Nolen Gurer Payesh: Rice Pudding with Date Palm Jaggery
Recipe serves: 2-4 people
- 750 ml full-fat milk
- 3 tablespoons gobindobhog rice (short grained rice) or Basmati rice
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 4-6 table spoons melted date palm jaggery
- 1 table spoon cashew nut soaked in water
- 1 table spoon raisins soaked in water
First wash the rice and then soak in water for at least half an hour. In a heavy bottomed pan bring the milk to a boil in medium heat, stirring continuously. When the milk gets one –two boils, drain the soaked rice and add it to the milk. Let the rice cook in the milk for some time. Keep stirring the milk to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pan. Check for the doneness of the rice. The rice should be cooked through but not mushy and by this time the milk should become thick and reduce in volume. As soon as the rice is cooked, add the sugar, the date palm jaggery and the soaked nuts-raisins. Mix in well. Boil the mixture for 5-8 minutes. Take off the heat.
Serve at room temperature with some drops of melted nolen gur on top.
Soaking of the rice is important. It makes the cooking time faster. Don’t forget to stir the milk continuously to avoid milk sticking to the bottom of the pan. If you are not sure about the quality of the nolen gur then mix it at last when the milk is in room temperature and avoid further boiling. That way the milk will never split.We don’t use bay leaf or green cardamom in this recipe as they might suppress the flavor of nolen gur but if you wish you can always add.