Monday, December 17, 2012

Khejur-gurer Paayesh with love that lives on

My grandmother was 14 years old when she first met my grandfather. My Grandfather was 21.They only heard of each other voices behind the veils when they decided to get married. She was a high school student. He was a railway apprentice.

My great grandfather was a progressive man. He wanted his daughters to be educated. This goes back to the day and age where daughters from noble Indian households lived in veiled existence and could only be homeschooled. He chose a bright railway apprentice as his daughters tutor, the only imposed condition was that he could not see the daughters. There was a thick curtained veil between my grandmother, her sister and their tutor.

He spoke to them in Bengali, saying “Amara shudhu Maths, english aar science shikhbo” (We will learn Maths, science and English) She giggled and said “yes”, she was known for her language skills.  “You speak English.” he asked, a little startled. “My father is an English Professor.” She answered as a matter of fact.
And so it began, a love story (of sorts) that began in India in 1943, celebrated the Joy of being in an independent India around four years later with a child in tow. Later landed in a sleepy little British Raj created town called Jamalpur.

I still have vivid memories of this sleepy little town, as almost all my summer vacations were spent there. Jamalpur of the 90s has always welcomed me with a faint smell of young jackfruit and a garden swaddled with overripe Jamun. My afternoons were often spent picking the berries from the garden and rest of the day was whiled away eating it. My entire summer vacation seemed to roll into one laugher filled month full of fun , frolic and food . She was the one who brought that slumbering vacation in that sleepy little town to life, atleast I love to believe that.

When my parents announced that they will be visiting me for a day this week, I thought that there could not be a better time to surprise my mom with my grandmothers specialty the Khejur Gurer Payesh (Milk pudding with date palm jaggery. Topping it with flaky almonds and cashews, toasted pumpkin nuts or nothing at all, this tastes divine.  But, somehow this khejur-gur just doesn't seem the same when it’s consumed without putting a fight with my cousins for an extra helping or enjoyed in a skyscraper which does not overlook a garden smelling of ripe jackfruit.

What it does have is a hint of that veiled love story .

Khejur-gurer Payesh (Rice Pudding with Date Palm Jaggery)


1 lt Full cream milk
50 gm. of gobindobhog rice or kaala-jeera rice
100gms of sugar
50-100 gm. of khejur-gur (date palm jaggery) depending on your sweetness.

How I did It
Wash , clean and drain rice.

Pout the full cream milk on  aheavy bottom pan and bring it to a boil.Now add rice and keep stirring , so that the rice does not stick to the bottom of the pan.  Keep doing it till the rice is cooked and Milk looks thick enough. It took me around 30 minutes.

Once rice is doe , add the sugar and you need to stir again till the extra water from the sugar is evaporated and milk is thick again.

Now that you think that the milk has reached the desired consistency, you can turn off the heat and after a few minutes, add the Khejurer gur.

The heat will aid in the melting process of the Khejur er gur.

Once the Khejur er gur is all soaked up , the color will turn to caramel.

I added toasted pumpkin nuts for some crunch; you can add whatever you fancy.
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