My better half with his Bengali roots is a true Bong at heart...thank god for the similarities in both the cultures and a truckload of Fatafati bong friends from whom I adopted their ways,I survived our marriage.To satiate our Bong Babu Moshai's hunger and as an offering to Maa Durga on the auspicious day of Dusshera I cooked this delicious Paayesh/ Kheer.For him it was a trip down memory Lane.
Nolen Gur basically means Notun Gur or New Gur and the Gur mentioned here is not the usual cane jaggery but date palm Jaggery which has a distinct flavour and aroma.This jaggery is typical of Bengal and Bangladesh and is available during the winter months.The sap of the date palm tree is collected and cooked on fire to make this Gur.
My stock of Khejur ( Date Palm) Gur comes from my Ma in law from Bengal.This time she sent me the Gur in Liquid form,Nolen Gur as well as the solidified version, Patali Gur.I am hanging on to the stock like prized possession till my next stock lands up.
Few important things to be kept in mind before we start cooking the kheer or Paayesh.The Paayesh is cooked on low heat and needs to be stirred continuously at regular intervals as it has a tendency to scald the bottom and however little burnt it is the taste and the look gets spoilt.Secondly the Gur has to be added to the Paayesh only after it is taken off the heat and just stirred into it till it incorporates with the Paayesh....otherwise the Gur curdles.Lastly the amount of Gur you add is according to the taste of each individual .I add few tbsps of sugar and the Gur,some use more sugar and less Gur and some use only Gur.
1 l full fat milk
1/3 C Gobindobhog Rice or the Tukda Basmati Rice,washed and drained
2-3 tbsp of Sugar
2 bay leaves or 1/2 tsp of Cardamom powder
Khejur Gur,according to your taste( I used 1/2 C of Nolen Gur)
2 tbsp chopped cashews and small raisins sautéed in 1 tsp of Pure Ghee
- Heat the milk and bay leaves( if you are adding) in a heavy bottomed pan till it boils.
- Add the washed rice to the milk and let it cook..keep stirring in between to avoid the kheer burning as it thickens.Add the cardamom powder now if you are not adding bay leaves.
- Keep checking for the rice to get cooked.
- After the rice is cooked add the sugar and let it boil stirring continuously in low heat.
- When the Paayesh has thickened enough for the consistency you require take it off the heat.
- After few mins add the Nolen Gur and stir to incorporate properly.By this time your house will be smelling divine.
- Add the cashews and raisins sautéed in a little ghee to the Paayesh.
- Serve it warm or cold according to choice.