Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Khejur Gur er Paayesh ~ Rice Pudding

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Kabir the great poet saint had said about this tree

"Bara hua to kya hua, jaisa per khajur,
panthi ko chaya nahin, fal lage ati dur".


Whoever had Hindi as their second language in school in India must be familiar with Kabir's dohas or couplets. They were short and so profound I used to love them and still remember some.

The above doha or couplet means "Even though the Palm tree is big, it's bigness is of no use, as it does not provide cool shade to weary travelers and it's fruits are too high to be picked up", the essence being your greatness lies not in your stature but in how you serve others.

However Kabir had missed a point, he had underestimated our endeavor for good food, to get the Khajur and Khajur ka Ras (the sweet sap from the Date Palm Tree) we can climb all the way up. I have never had Khejur Ras but the Khejur Gur, mmmmmmmm, not enough words to describe it. It has much more flavor and tastes way better than cane jaggery.

Khejur Gur (liquid date palm jaggery -- made from boiling the sap from date palms) is very popular in Bengal during the winter months. It is also commonly called "Notun Gur" ( literally, "new jaggery") or "Nolen Gur". I think the sap of the date palms is best during the winter months and that is the reason we get this gur or jaggery around this time. Also during the summer, night temperatures are high and sap harvested ferments by morning, rendering the product fit only as an alcoholic drink.

The liquid Khejur Gur is delicious, tastes better than Maple Syrup and we used to have it poured on our Luchi (Puri) or Roti for dinner or breakfast. It is also used to make a variety of sweets in Bengal. This article explains the process of making Khejur-Gur here. Khejur Gur in solid form is sold in the shape of oval discs and is also known as "Patali Gur"

But I have never mustered the courage to smuggle liquid Khejur Gur (liquid Palm Date Jaggery) to the US, though I do carry the the solid khejur gur which is also called "Patali Gur" in Bengali, from Kolkata, if I am visiting during winter.

But I have to ration my khejur gur as I have only one patali to last a year or more and I use it only for special occasions to make Paayesh or paramanna during my husband D's and my daughter's B'Day, as Bengalis consider having payesh on one's Birthday as auspicious. Paayesh can also be made with sugar but Khejur Gur er paayesh is just heavenly.

This is how my Ma makes Payesh and she makes the best payesh in the world. Only recently I have learned to make Khejur Gur-er Payesh from her and so here is my attempt. I made this for D's B'day earlier this month but am posting it now in time for JFI

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What You need

Whole Milk ~1 and ½ litre
Half & Half Milk ~ ½ litre

Note: My Ma uses 2 litre of Whole Milk only. I use the Half & Half as it reduces my effort to thicken the Milk

GobindoBhog Rice or KalaJeera Rice or Basmati Rice ~ a little less than 2/3 of a cup
Ghee ~ enough to smear the rice with, maybe 1/2 tsp
Raisins ~ a fistful soaked in water
TejPata or BayLeaves ~ 3 or 4
Sugar ~ 1 cup
Khejur Gur or Palm Date jaggery ~ I added depending on my sweetness level

Note: The Sugar + Khejur Gur amounts to almost 2 cups. This is sweet enough for me, not enough for my Dad and just right for my hubby, friends, Mom etc. Between the sugar & gur you can increase one and decrease the other, but the gur has to be added only after the paayesh is taken off the heat as mentioned in the recipe

How I Do It

Wash the rice, drain the water and then smear the rice with a little ghee
Pour Milk in a boiling pan, usually a deep heavy bottomed pan. I use a deep non-stick one.
Add 3 or 4 Bay leaves
When the Milk come to a boil add the rice. Be careful so that milk does not boil over.
Stir well
Stir intermittently and check if the rice is done. You kind of have to keep stirring frequently else the milk might scald the bottom of the pan as it thickens.
When the rice is cooked add sugar. Tip: Adding sugar before the rice has boiled hinders it getting cooked properly
Now stir the milk continuously so that the milk does not burn or scald the bottom of the container and the rice does not stick.
When the Milk has thickened to the right consistency, to check this take a spoonful of liquid and pour it on a flat plate, the viscosity of the milk should be such that it does not flow. By this time the milk would have also reduced from it's original volume. Approx. time to reach this stage is almost an hour or so at a medium flame setting on my gas range.
Take the Paayesh off heat and add the Khejur Gur after 5 mins and stir well. Add Gur depending on your desired sweetness level. Tip: If your gur or jagery has been refrigerated put it in the microwave til it turns soft.
Savor the sweet smell of khejur gur, pure bliss
Add Kishmis or Raisins.
Serve hot or cold, I like cold better


This is my entry for December JFI hosted by Kay.
Congaratulations to the new Mom and kudos to her for hosting this inspite of her new motherhood.

Here's some discussion on getting Khejur Gur in the US:Came across a very interesting forum discussing Khejur-Gur which I wanted to share If you are interested check it out here at this forum. They say that they found a substitute for Khejur Gur in US "This is the liquid form of Gula Jawa (literally, Java sugar, it can be made of either arenga palm, coconut palm or palmyra palm sap), and comes in a squeezable plastic bottle."

Indira of Mahanadi says she got herself some Palm Date Jaggery from her Indian store. So check your local Bangladeshi or Indian store for this jaggery, my neighbourhood Indian store doesn't carry the Khejur Gur I crave for and I haven't tried any Khejur Gur outside Bengal yet.


I just saw from Mandira's & Asha's blog (I get to know all about events from this wonderful blogger friends) that there is a festive fair at Anna's of Morsels & Musings . Since Paayesh is a "special occasion" recipe I am sending this out to her too.


Get this recipe in my Book coming out soon. Check this blog for further updates.

Trivia: Muzaffarnagar District in Uttar Pradesh has the largest Jaggery Market in India followed by Anakapalli of Visakhapatnam District in Andhra Pradesh. Both are termed to be the biggest and second biggest in the entire world.

40 comments:

  1. Hi Sandeepa!! Our minds think alike :). I made payesh too...but shimuiyer-payesh. My wish was to make it with khejur-gur, but I had none :((, so I made it with aakher-gur. I'll try to post about it tonight. Regards to you and your Ma. Your posts bring back that fuzzy warm feeling of home :)

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  2. dear Sandeepa,
    oh ! gurer payesh ,I cant get it here (can I have some ) , but I am craving for it now ..great one ..
    feeling nostalgic again ..
    hugs and smiles
    mantu

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  3. Lot of new information about jaggery, and a delightful payasam recipe.
    Wonderful entry to Jihva. Thanks Sandeepa for sharing.

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  4. A delight to savour with the date palm jaggery ,wish I could get to taste now:)

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  5. Sandeepa, I did not have Hindi as second language but did hear friends who had it talk about Kabir's dohas.

    Khejur Gur er Paayesh sounds amazing, love the way you describe it, feels like actually watching it.

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  6. Didn't expect to see another recipe so soon, nice one!

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  7. mystic,
    Great Bong minds think alike ;-) Thanks so much, you are real sweet, I will tell my Ma

    Mantu
    amar o gur kom ache tai ar ekbar payesh hobe shudhu :(

    indira
    thanks so much

    lera,
    You are in Blore right ? You can try to get some flown over form Kolkata, LOL :)

    Indo,
    thanks again

    sra,
    yeah driven by my passion to show the world what Kheju Gur is. Sounds good right :)

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  8. Yummy! One more Gur recipe! Can't wait until she rounds up everything!

    Looks mouthwatering,Sandeepa.A traditional recipe,love it:)

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  9. i love sweet rice dishes, and flavoured with khejur gur, well even better!

    thanks for joining my festive food fair with this great entry!

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  10. A very new recipe to me....I can just imagine the aroma as the payesh gets cooked. Thank u for sharing

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  11. Hi Sandeepa,
    Thanks for sharing the traditional recipe. Great pic..

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  12. Hi Sandeepa,

    I have been a silent reader of yours. Came here from Indira's and have since added you to my favourites list. I love the beautiful photos in your blog, the recipes too. :)

    I guess the 'date palm sugar' from Bengal is different from the 'palm sugar' from Sri Lanka. I have heard about the Palm Sugar from Indonesia too. If anybody in Canada are interested in the Palm Sugar. Please try any of the Sri Lankan Tamil stores. You could Palm Sugar or 'panai vellai' if you are lucky.

    And there's another variety of palm sugar in Sri Lanka. It's basically the sinhalese recipe, i think. It's called 'Kitul Pani'. You can read about it here . You can get this in Sri Lankan stores in USA too (mainly around Souther California). And those who have Sri Lankan gourmand friends, request information about 'Kalu thothal'. You might be lucky enough and your friend might know how to make it. ;)

    Thanks for memory trip Sandeepa.

    -Mathy

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  13. Hi Sandeepayummy recipe. Never had khajur gur, where can i get them?After reading your post about khajur gur and curious to taste one.your paayesh looks delicious too!!! Thanks for sharing it. :)

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  14. Asha,
    Thanks so much dear.

    Anna,
    Thanks and I diddn't realize you knew about Khejur Gur

    Jayashree & MT
    Thank you.

    Mathy
    Thanks so much for explaining in details about palm sugar. I saw your blog post and though the source might be same palm sugar and palm jaggery or khejur gur is very different.

    Khejur Gur is obtained from Date Palm tree while palm sugar is obtained both from Palmyra and Date palm

    I know the palm sugar you are talking about. We call it "Tal Michri", it is very good for the throat and we used to suck on it whenever we had a cough or soar throat.

    The khejur gur is rich deep brown in color & solid wheras the palm sugar is pale golden and crystalised as sugar should be. In my post I have link to an article which explains the process of making Khejur gur

    Thanks again for sharing

    Sri,
    Though I have never bought Khejur Gur outside Bengal, India...check the last couple of paras in my post for info about Khejur Gur in US

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  15. Hi Sandeepa,Posting here for the first time.Your khajur payesh is looking soo good.I remember my mom's bengali colleague had brought some khajur gur for us(about 13 or so yrs ago)I have never found it anywhere again.Is it only available in Bengal or can I find it anywhere else?

    Thanks for sharing the recipe.:-)

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  16. Dear Sandeepa,

    Your dish looks delicious and I am sure that I will try it:)

    Thanks for sharing...

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  17. Hey, if it's available in Seattle, it MUST be available here in NJ coz we seem to get pretty much everything here! The payesh looks delicious, Sandeepa!

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  18. Sandeepa - tumi amaye ekta mail korbe.. dorkar amar...

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  19. Sandeepa:
    I tried leaving a comment yesterday and somehow the server was not letting me do so ...i wanted to say this paayesh looks so tasty and those little raisins look like corals ...Thanks for sharing and so much wanna spoon it directly into my mouth
    Cheers
    Seema

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  20. nice recipe for the entry shall..try once..thanks for sharing a wonderful recipe.

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  21. Vini, Hyderabadi, Vani, Seema, Meena
    Thanks a lot for your comments

    Vani: Yeah there should be Khejur Gur out there somewhere in NJ. But nowadays even in Kolkata, India you don't get the real thing unless you know a trusted seller or get it from the villages.
    Many Gur sold by name of "Khejur Gur" is often not the pure one

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  22. Thanks for reminding me about this doha. Wasn't there a song in 'Akhiyon ke jharonkon se' based on these dohas ? Anyway, payesh looks absolutely delicious . Thanks for sharing

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  23. Hi,
    I love this recipe because is similar tu panamenian one.
    Your blog is really nice.
    Hugs from Barcelona
    Grethel

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  24. Hi Sandeepa,
    You have a wonderful writing style.I made this kheer for my marriage anniv and it was heavenly.Now thanx to ur blog,i can savour delicious bangali dishes.all the best.

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  25. Hi Sandeepa,

    Gr8 blog ! God bless :)

    The version of Kabir's doha that I remember said that abt the BABOOL tree ....thats the acacia as far as i know. And it definitely fits in more appositely here I think.

    Luv,

    Malavika

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  26. Hi Malavika

    Thanks for visiting my blog


    Kabir Ji's Doha that I have here is indeed about Khajur
    check this URL too http://www.boloji.com/kabir/dohas/kd7.htm


    There would be another doha about Babool too I am sure. His dohas are so profound and draws several examples from what we see around us

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  27. Hi Sandeepa,

    Just found and really liked ur blog. You really write well. I will try to find Pathali gur tomorrow from a Bangladeshi store near us and make Payesh. Wanted to ask you, is there any trick in making alu sheddo dim sheddo, or just boil aloo and dim and mash and mix? I am kind of shy to ask my didun about something so simple.

    Thanks again, very nice work.

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    http://thesoftwarehelper.blogspot.com
    thz plz vist

    ReplyDelete
  29. thnks to u ,i learnt to make proper Paayesh today.Earlier the milk would curdle.

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  30. Nice, I made the Payesh following your Mom's recipe, Awesome!!!

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  31. dear sandeepa, I have bookmarked this recipe and it has been a while now.. I recently found that palm jaggery is available in the local asian store too :) . However I would like to know if i can substitute the sugar entirely with palm jaggery ? I have no clue about bengali cuisine and my hubby has been craving for authentic payesh for a long time now ... your input would be really appreciated!

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  32. When i was overseas,to save up on gur,i'd make the payesh with sugar.At the end just add a bit of jaggery just for flavor.

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  33. Does anyone Plz tell me where can I get Khejur gur @ b"lore

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  34. Hi
    I found your blog through a google search for khajur jaggery
    A Bengali friend gave me some and told me it was very good for health. I was surprised at the health benefits of Gur itself.
    I occasionally write for my local weekly and thought why not do a short article on the benefits of jaggery
    would you mind if I used the description of the making of jaggery from your blog?

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  35. Hi Sandeepa,
    I don't know how to thank you. I never tried my hands in cooking before coming to US. And here your blogs are my only to-go points. I tried your cholar dal, alu posto, posto murgi, dhonepata panchforon diye murgi recipes among others. But it is only when I saw the light in my husband's eyes when he had the payesh on his birthday, I thought of saying this biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiig thanks to you.

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  36. Khun shundor payesh. Did not know about the Muzzaffarpur trivia though. Aamar Nolen Gurer Payesh e kishmish bhalo lage na, tai I omit it. I got my share of patali gur here from a Bangladeshi store. Hoarded some just in case.

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  37. I just bought khejur gur-er patali from Boston - a place called FoodLand in Cambridge ... it looks authentic enough, though i am going to cook payesh and kheer soon and will let you know how it turns out .... If you need patali, get a friend to parcel it to you from Boston. Its a Bangladeshi shop, so if i were you, i would search in the net the local bangladeshi shops if they keep it or not ...

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  38. Hi! Thank you so much for this recipe. If I don't have khejur'er gur, can I just use 2 cups of sugar and add it when the rice has cooked? I've heard of people using brown sugar as well. Have you ever tried that? Thanks again. Great blog!!

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    Replies
    1. I have done with only sugar too. I think molasses might work. Not sure about brown sugar since it has a slight bitter taste

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  39. I have never made rice pudding, but I think I will try this recipe - sounds so natural and delicious too!

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