Take the name "Nolen Gur" and enjoy the delightful face of the Bong people. Yes, it is something whose name is enough itself to bring water in the mouth of the bengali people. Nolen Gur or Date Palm Jaggery is a traditional jaggery from Bengal and can only be found in the Indian State of West Bengal and in Bangladesh. It is only extracted from the trees during winter months. In summer the heat at night makes the sap rancid and alcoholic.
With this date palm jaggery we prepare various lip smacking bengali sweet delicacies. In winter season , you will find huge varieties of sweets made of date palm jaggery in each and every sweet shop of Bengal and once you try any of them I can bet you never forget the wonderful taste.
But it's really unfortunate that date palm jaggery industry is under threat due to the small scale ( mainly family run) way that the "gur" is manufactured. Many of the palms are being cut down due to clear the land for development and construction of new homes. New palm trees are not being planted to replace the older ones either in Bengal or in Bangladesh. Besides the younger generation of the jaggery farmer is often not interested in following the family trade and there is a risk that the skill of making gur with the sap of the palm tree may slowly die out. Moreover already there is a increased use of sugar cane jaggery as it is cheaper and easier to make than date palm jaggery .
Anyway, here in Mumbai, since more than two and a half years I was looking for this jaggery. I searched it out almost all the departmental stores here but all my efforts went in vain. Atlast my heartcore thanks to the bengali fish shop, where I found this "treasure". Yes, that's like a treasure for us, the Bong for which we await the whole year.
I didn't waste a single day after getting this. On the very next day, I prepared this Narom Paker Sondesh ( Soft Sondesh) . This is a quick, easy, light sweetened delightful dessert which even can change your mood from sad to happy.
Anyway, I don't want to waste your time anymore. Here is the detail recipe of making Nolen Gurer Narom Paker Sondesh.
- Full Cream Milk: 1 lt.
- Vinegar /Lime Juice:2 tbsp.
- Nolen Gur ( Date Palm Jaggery): 4/5 tbsp. + 1 tbsp.
How to make Chena:
- Boil the milk at low temperature.
- While boiling add the vinegar and stir it .
- Your milk will start to curdle and chena (chhana) will be formed after few minutes.
- When you will see a greenish diluted water which is easily separating from chena, then it's done.
- Now using a muslin cloth drain the water and wash the chena under the running tap water .If you are using lime juice to prepare chena, this wash will remove all the lemony taste or smell.
- Now tied the two ends of the muslin cloth tightly and let it drain all the excess water for at least 15-20 minutes. And at this time you may put a heavy weight on the muslin cloth for better draining.
How to Make the Sweet:
- Take the jaggery in a microwave safe bowl and heat it for 1 min in full power or till it melts completely.
- Now take the chena in a flat plate and mash it very well using your palms until no lump is there.
- Then add the jaggery with a table spoon gradually and mix well with the chena.
- Once it is done heat a kadhai in the oven and put the mixed chena into it. On very low flame continuously stir it until its stickiness is reduced. It will take normally 5-6 minutes.
- Turn off the flame and transfer it to a plate.
- Using little water in your palm make round balls with the mixture.
- Make a little space at the middle of the each ball pressing them little with your thumb and pour little melted gur with in it.
- Serve and enjoy its blissful taste.
Enjoy Your Food...!