Sarika celebrates spring. She shares her birthday with St. Valentine, on Feb 14. There were many parties with friends and a romantic date with husband. She made the customary kheer at home with date palm jaggery, a Bengali specialty. She shares the recipe, in the weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths.
Another spring in my life, it is the time of beauty, mystery, and wonder. It’s when birds sing, bees pollinate and animals around the world begin to seek mates. We people see the season as a time of great outdoor sports, beautiful weather, and gardening. I remember a few years ago one of my friends told me, “I feel very active during spring.” Everything is beautiful after dry winter.
I am fortunate, as I was born in spring 14th of February, many moons ago. During those days Valentine’s Day was not celebrated in India with huge pomp. As the time passes, the beauty of the day is celebrated across the globe. Different articles, messages, advertisement, celebrations mark this day. It is wonderful to see how definitions of Love changes over the years. Few people believe love is to feel not to show! But why? We should express our love and sometimes showcase too. Every person interprets it in different ways. It is a broader concept. Better not to discuss.
To mark the day restaurants, shopping malls, hotels are coming up with huge marketing strategies. And I silently enjoy this, how everything is beautiful around me on my day. A person who knows me hardly forgets to wish me.
Every year, we add some people to our life. Some are lessons, others are blessings. So wishes for me also increase, every year. My emails, WhatsApp messages are flooded with good wishes and I am really enjoying it.
I feel I have a lot to learn. Learning never ends, school, college, university, research, then professional learning goes on, and then our focus shift from being academics to hobbies (not always). One thing is common, learning is must, so keep going.
As I was telling, I received wishes from far and wide, which made me emotional and loved. One message I like to mention here from a very young girl that overwhelmed me. I may not earn many things in life but these kinds of messages enriched me.
Here is the message:
To someone, I look up to,
To someone who is beautiful not just outside but also within,
You amaze me with your knowledge,
With you, every discussion is so interesting,
If I’m ever questioned who you want to be like,
The answer is like you.
To the most special valuable person in my life,
Happy birthday and Valentine’s Day!
May you spread more and more positivity around you!
Though I had several rounds of parties with different sets of friends, my husband took me out for a romantic dinner. However, I also prepared customary kheer to mark the day. Actually, it is ma’s job, as she is not here I made it. It was date palm jaggery kheer. Special mention, it was my last batch of palm jaggery for this year.
Here’s the recipe:
1. Milk – 1 litter
2. Rice (Gobindobhog rice or basmati rice) – around 1/2 cup
3. Date Palm Jaggery – approximately 1 bar
2. Cashew Nuts
First, properly wash and clean the rice.
Soak the rice in a bowl for 5 to 6 hours and then make a rough paste (grind in a blender to make the paste).
Take a heavy bottom saucepan. Place it on the gas stove and pour 1-liter milk into it.
When it starts boiling then add rice paste. Do not forget to stir continuously.
When milk quantity reduces into half and thickens, add Nolen Gur bar or date palm jaggery. Keep stirring for some time.
When milk completely thickens, switch off the flame.
Garnish with finely chopped dry fruits.
Switch hot phirni to a serving bowl. Allow it to cool for 2 – 3 hours and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Serve at room temperature or chilled.
©Sarika Sarkar Das
Photos by the author
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A teacher, day dreamer, random experimental cook and some hit and miss photography, and at last love to call myself a full time mother.