Monday, 17 October 2016

Nolen Gurer Payesh Recipe / Patali Gurer Payesh / Rice Pudding Made With Date Palm Jaggery Recipe ~ Rejoicing My Culturally Rich Roots


I have always loved rituals, customs, traditions that we follow as a part of celebrating our festivals in India. It's these little little things that make the whole event so exciting and enjoyable. I have inevitably looked forward to festivals so that I could be a part of these wonderful customs that they observe. I am sure many of you, beautiful people, will echo my thoughts. No matter which part of the globe you belong to, you must also be having  your own sets of rituals and age old traditions. In my numerous travels I have repeatedly found that people all over the world, while celebrating festivals follow each and every ceremony religiously, which has been passed on through generations, till date, with equal fervour and joy. 


Last Saturday many parts of India celebrated a festival. In Bengal we call it Kojagori Lokhi Puja. For me this festival always brings back memories of three things. My entire house enveloped with the aroma of roasted coconut and jaggery as Ma would prepare the Narkoler Naru or Narkoler Sandesh ( Coconut Fudge either shaped like a sphere or given different shapes using a mould) on the night prior to the Puja ( offering of prayers and oblation to the deity). The morning of the festival two dishes were definity prepared, again to be presented to the Deity as an offering. These were Khichudi ( savory dish made from rice and lentils ) and Payesh ( a sweet dish made from milk and rice). Along with these there would be a cauliflower, potato curry, Tomato Chutney and Semolina Halwa primarily and many more other sweet and savoury dishes. 



The night of this festival has a full moon and as per tradition one is supposed to stay awake all night till dawn. It is a common belief that the deity visits all homes at night and one should be awake to welcome her and receive her blessings. Kojagori means "Ke Jege Acho?" or "who is awake in Bengali". So that entire night basking in the glory of the full Moon, under the most brightly lit sky, my entire family including a bevy of cousins would all gather on the terrace, perch themselves on a Madur (a bamboo mat ) and then would begin story telling, singing of Robindo Songit (Songs written by the famous poet and Nobel Laureate from India) or Nazrul Geeti ( Songs from another famous Bengali poet Kazi Nazrul Islam). This would continue till sunsrise only occasionally interrupted by the serving of piping hot tea and snacks.


I also associate this festival with few other things, the Lotus flower, a small bamboo barrel covered with a red cloth and adorned with cowrie or sea shell which was widely used as shell money in olden times. This in Bengali is called Lokhir Jhapi and I have seen Ma fill it with silver coins and Dhan or rice in the husk. The picture below will give you a clear idea of how these look.


Now coming to the dish which I want to share with you today is Payesh or Rice Pudding. I have mentioned in my earlier post the significance of Payesh/Payasam in India festivals and celebrations. You can read more about this by clicking on this link Atukula Payasam . 

Nolen Gurer Payesh / Khejur Gurer Payesh / Notun Gurer Payesh / Patali Gurer Payesh. Let me simplfy this.
Gur = Jaggery
Payesh = Rice Pudding
Nolen Gur / Khejur Gur / Notun Gur / Patali Gur = Date Palm Jaggery, known by different names in Bengal.
Nolen Gurer Payesh = Rice Pudding made with Date Palm Jaggery.

Date Palm Jaggery is made from the sap of Date Palm Trees / Khajur Tree which is collected by making an incision on the bark of the tree and tying an earthen pot near the incision and leaving the pot overnight. When the sun rises the pots filled with saps are collected and the liquid is boiled in large woks for hours together to get the gorgeous sunshine hued jaggery. Please click on this link for a visual treat and also to know exactly how Date Palm Jaggery is made. Nolen Gur - The Telegraph

I know what my Overseas friends are thinking. How do we get our hands on this jaggery. Please don't be disheartened. You can get it if you visit India and specially Bengal or ask your Bengali friends to get it for you. I am yet to see it in any Asian store in Dubai. Another alternative and a very good one as it is the closest you can get in terms of taste and colour is you can use Date Syrup. Date Syrup should be available in most supermarkets or Middle Eastern Stores in your Country.

A fragrant and very special rice grown in Bengal called Gobindo Bhog Rice is used to make this Pudding. If you do not find it where you live, use any variety of fragrant rice or Jasmine Rice which is widely available.

Now let's have a quick look at the ingredients :



NOLEN GURER PAYESH RECIPE ~

AUTHOR ~ PIYALI MUTHA
SERVES ~ 4 ~ 6
CUISINE ~ INDIAN / BENGALI
TYPE ~ SWEET DISH / DESSERT
TIME ~ 5 MINUTES PREPARATION + 45 MINUTES COOKING

VERY IMPORTANT NOTE ~ 
MILK HAS A TENDENCY TO CURDLE WHEN JAGGERGY IS ADDED TO BOILING MILK. IT IS THEREFORE BEST TO ADD THE JAGGERY RIGHT AT THE END AFTER REMOVING THE PUDDING FROM THE BURNER.

INGREDIENTS ~

1) 1.5 Ltrs. Full Cream Milk (Use full cream milk to get best results)
2) 1/2 Cup Gobindo Bhog Rice ( Use Jasmine Rice or any fragrant rice alternately )
3) 200 Gms Date Palm Jaggery ( Use 250 ml of date syrup alternately. You can increase the quantity if you like it more sweet. Also if you are using liquid date palm jaggery you will need 250ml of it.)
4) 1 Tsp Clarified Butter / Ghee
5) 2 Bay Leaves 
6) 5~6 Green Cardamoms
7) 1 Tbsp Almond slivers
8) 1 Tbsp Pistachios finely chopped
9) 1Tsp Rose Petals (dried optional ) for garnishing

LET'S MAKE NOLEN GURER PAYESH IN EASY STEPS ~

1) In a pan take 1 ltr. milk. We need to thicken this milk. So we will first bring it to a boil then simmer it and leave it to reduce. 
NOTE ~ Keep scraping the sides of the pan and dropping the milk solids back into the milk. In this way you will get a very creamy milk, like you require for the rice pudding.

2) In another pan add clarified butter. When hot add bay leaves.

  • Immediately afterwards add the washed and drained rice. 
NOTE ~ I didn't soak the rice but washed, drained and added it directly. I followed my grandmom's family recipe. But if the instructions on your rice packet says, you need to soak the rice, you may do so.

  • Coat the rice with the clarified butter.
  • Add the remaining milk 500ml, to the rice in the pan. Bring it to a boil. 
  • Simmer and cook till the rice is almost cooked. 
  • Once the rice is 80% cooked remove the pan from the burner.
3) While the rice is cooking in step 2 crush the cardamom pods in a mortar with a pestle.

  • Add the crushed green cardamom to the milk simmering and thickening away in the pan. 
  • Once the milk thickens and reduces to almost half of its original quantity, add the almost cooked rice to the thick milk in the pan.
  • Stir and incorporate the rice into the milk.
  • Simmer and cook till the rice is completely cooked.
4) Remove the pan from the burner and add the Date Palm Jaggery. 

  • Gently stir it in. 
NOTE ~ If your are using liquid jaggery or date syrup, then your Payesh will be ready after a couple of stirs. But if you are using solid Date Palm Jaggery, then you will have to wait for a few minutes for it to dissolve completely. Break the jaggery into pieces as small as you can for it to dissolve easily. Should not take more that two minutes though.

  • Nolen Gurer Payesh is now ready to serve.
Garnish with almond slivers and chopped pistachios and serve this fragrant and uber delicious Nolen Gurer Payesh on any festive occasion or celebration. 

For Many this is a nouvelle dish. I am sure you will love this Super Simple yet supremely decadent Rice Pudding With Date Palm Jaggery.

HOW TO MAKE NOLEN GURER PAYESH WITH STEPWISE PICTURES~

1) In a pan take 1 ltr. milk. We need to thicken this milk. So we will first bring it to a boil then simmer it and leave it to reduce. 
NOTE ~ Keep scraping the sides of the pan and dropping the milk solids back into the milk. In this way you will get a very creamy milk, like you require for the rice pudding.



2) In another pan add clarified butter. When hot add bay leaves.


Immediately afterwards add the washed and drained rice. 
NOTE ~ I didn't soak the rice but washed, drained and added it directly. I followed my grandmom's family recipe. But if the instructions on your rice packet says, you need to soak the rice, you may do so.



Coat the rice with the clarified butter.


Add the remaining milk 500ml, to the rice in the pan. Bring it to a boil. 


Simmer and cook till the rice is almost cooked.


Once the rice is 80% cooked, remove the pan from the burner.


3) While the rice is cooking in step 2 crush the cardamom pods in a mortar with a pestle.


Add the crushed green cardamom to the milk simmering and thickening away in the pan. 


Once the milk thickens and reduces to almost half of its original quantity, add the almost cooked rice to the thick milk in the pan.


Stir and incorporate the rice into the milk.


Simmer and cook till the rice is completely cooked.


4) Remove the pan from the burner and add the Date Palm Jaggery. 


Gently stir it in. 
NOTE ~ If your are using liquid jaggery or date syrup, then your Payesh will be ready after a couple of stirs. But if you are using solid Date Palm Jaggery, then you will have to wait for a few minutes for it to dissolve completely. Break the jaggery into pieces as small as you can for it to dissolve easily. Should not take more that two minutes though.


Nolen Gurer Payesh is now ready to serve.


Garnish with almond slivers and chopped pistachios and serve this fragrant and uber delicious Nolen Gurer Payesh on any festive occasion or celebration. 


Would love to hear from you. Do leave your valuable feedback in the comments below if you have tried this recipe or have any queries regarding it. Let the Adventure in your Kitchen Continue.

LIST OF DIWALI, DURGA PUJA, DUSSEHRA, HOLI, UGADI SWEETS ~