12 Oct Rice Kheer with date Jaggery( Gur Payokh/Gur Payesh)
So Durga Puja is over!!! While I had this post in my drafts folder and planned to publish it during the Puja festivities ,I got so busy myself visiting the various pandals across the city that it got delayed..For all Indians from the eastern belt, Durga Puja is one of the biggest festivals replete with lots of fun . Shopping , eating and prayers all work together to make a complete ensemble of a fun filled 4 days festival with rituals..
Khichiri and kheer are synonymous with the Puja Bhog and although as dishes they are made easily at home yet the bhog at the Puaj pandals are something which no one wants to miss out.
Honestly ,I dnt think I really need to write on Durga puja and its festivities. Its just fun , food ,pandal hopping and socializing..And new clothes of course..All decked up, ready to glam up the puja fervour.
As with its festivities , food is also one of the prime agenda on everyone”s mind as you get to eat the best of bengali snacks across all the stalls wooing customers in the pandals.. At least that”s ow it is in Mumbai.
While growing ,back home in Guwahati, it was almost like a fair during Puja as we would travel across the city vising the different puja pandals and relishing the most amazing snacks at the stalls that sold these snacks .
So in mumbai too, while Abhijeet”s puja is my favorite, since that”s my nneighborhood puja for the last 15 years, the other pandals across the city too are great too. the way puja is celebrated in Mumbai with so many pandals and with so much devotion that I really dont miss durga puja anymore . But yes, its much more glamorous and ccommercialwith sponsors for almost everything that”s associated with the puja including water . Nevertheless its fun and i really love these 4 days.
While on food, the snacks and sweets are a delight to see at the pandals and the typical Bengali ones esp, the chops, misti doi, aloo dum and luchi, cutlets and rolls. I never miss them really. And before i go on a track writing about my puja experiences , lets talk about our topic today which is the gur payesh which is a typical dessert from this part of the country.
Gur payesh, Guror payokh(Assamese) or Gurer Payesh(Bengali) as it is commonly called as, is a quintessential dish which isnt found anywhre else .The taste ,flavour ,all so distinct and unique with the mix of the perceptible date jaggery that its impossible for anyone to not fall in love with it.
While kheer is a favourite of many a indians across the globe, yet gur payesh or kheer isnt so commonly available or made by many Indians except the community from the east( Assamese and Bengalis). More so, since Date jaggery is not easily available across the country. Here in this part you will find the most amazing gur desserts in the name gur sandesh, gur rasgollas, gur curd and gur payesh. One try and you will fall in love with this exquisite distinct tase.
So I generally call for date jaggery from guwahati when someone makes a trip back home. Birthdays and other occasions during childhood were incomplete without gur payesh to finish the meal with.Hence for me its a part of an occasion to celebrate, But coz of the tedious and laborious process of preparing this most luscious dessert , i hardly make at home.
But the other day ,on the occassion of Dad”s bday, i decided to make it for family. And the resultant dish was so awesome that i was surprised. It i think was even better then my mom”s version.
Another important aspect of this kheer is the type of rice used to give it that gorgeous taste. Ideally it should be made with joha rice(called in assamese).This rice is very high on aroma and taste.It is equivalent to basmati in terms of a disctinct aroma and taste. However since this rice is not available across other states and countries, and even in Mumbai, the next best choice is to try the “Ambemohar” which is almost like tthe Joha rice. You can also use “gobindo” bhog rice although i personally like the ambemohar rice best next to Joha rice. Just ensure that you get this rice for this variety of kheer. Do not try with basmati or any other hard variety of rice. You could maybe try with broken basmati .Am not sure though since I hv never tried.
Milk- 1 litre full cream milk
Rice- 3 tbsp soaked for 1 hour
Date Jaggery- 1. 5 cup grated(you can adjust according to your taste)
Cardamom- 2 crushed
Bay leaf- 1
- Boil the milk with bay leaf and cardamons until it reduces to half on low flame
- Now add the rice and keep stirring on low flame until you get teh right consistency of teh rice and the milk further thickens
- Remove from the heat, and add the grated jaggery. Mix well and put it on flame for a minute so that the jaggery mixes with the kheer
- Serve it warm or place it in the refrigerator and serve chilled
- While this is the actual version, I put in the milk and rice together and kept stirring on low flame till the milk reduces and the rice is done. This saves on time and gives an equally delicious taste
- You can add half sugar and half jaggery if you wish ,although I love the pure jaggery version
- The best kheer is made of Joha Rice ( called in Assamese) . This rice is known for its aroma and delicate taste .Otherwise it might just end up as a sweet bowl of rice and milk. So you need to use either Joha rice or next best is Ambemohar rice or Gobindo bhog rice.Nothing else.
- Use only full cream milk and not slim milk.
Absolutely yummy, sweet ,and a distinct perceptible taste of the date jaggery, this one is a true delight. For the ones who know abot it ,no explanation require d and for the others this is one dish which cannot be missed.A try is a must .And am sure it will be your best new discovery of an Indian dessert, a silent dessert which isnt so marketed so far across the country be it amongst cultures restaurants /food joints..A sweet indulgence to finish off your perfect meal of the day I say!!