Bengali rice pudding (Nolen gur’er payesh)

Nolen gurer payesh is one of the most favoured delicacies in Bengal. ‘Payesh’ in Bengali is similar to kheer or rice pudding. However, this particular dish is very different from your regular kheer. The star ingredient of this payesh is nolen gur – an aromatic date palm jaggery that adds a distinct flavour to the dish disallowing any other addition of flavours. Nolen gur, (literally translates to new jaggery) is freshly available during winter in and around Bengal. You get two varients – a solid varient called patali gur, and a liquid varient called jhola gur.

While the solid kind is used for cooking, the liquid form is had raw with roti, luchi and the likes. Jhola gur is usually not used for cooking as it has a slight acidity to it which might split the milk during cooking.

The rice used strictly for this recipe is an indigenous short-grained sticky varient called ‘Gobindobhog chaal’. It is a favoured option for the stickiness, which binds the pudding well, and for its delectable scent that adds onto the uniqueness of this dessert.

I would recommend to try the dish when it has cooled down instead of having it warm. Although many prefer a hot bowl of kheer, I could die for a chilled bowl of this payesh.

Ingredients

Whole milk – 1L
Soaked gobindobhog rice – 50gm
Nolen gur (patali gur) – 6tbsp approx (you can adjust the quantity of the jaggery as per your taste)
Cashew and raisins – 1tbsp each

Method

Wash and soak the rice for about 30 mins
Boil the milk, stir it occasionally on medium heat.
Let it reduce to 3/4 th of its initial volume.
Add a tablespoon of cashew and raisins each and allow them to cook for a minute.
Add about 50 gms of soaked rice to the milk and mix well. Let it simmer for 15-20 mins.
The mixture will thicken eventually.
Turn down the heat and add about 3 tablespoons of the chopped jaggery (chopped or broken patali gur) and mix it with the rice.
By this time your kitchen will be filled with a delicious aroma.
Turn off the heat and add 3 more tablespoons (you can adjust the sweet to suit your taste) of the jaggery and gently fold it in.
The colour will change to a beautiful hue of brown, once done.
Serve the dish cold. (You may as well have it hot)

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