We, Bengalis, love our winters. It consists of vacations, picnics and undoubtedly the best food of the year. We are connoisseurs of various flavours, consequently, our food palates are wide-ranging. People usually know us for just fish and sweets, but it is way beyond. Bengali dishes range from hundreds of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Some of the dishes are also synced with nature like some vegetables and fruits, and hence purely seasonal, one of them is Nolen Gur (Date-palm jaggery).
With the onset of a nip in the air, foodie Bengalis start smelling Khujer er gur. This organic jaggery is only available during winter. Its flavour and taste are just unmatchable. This year my in-laws are here, so our festivities are also celebrated in a grand way. Festivals are incomplete without the near and dear ones. We connect and feel better with each other during festivals.
To celebrate the occasion of Sankranti, last month, I prepared few varieties of pithas/ desserts with this palm jaggery. The first one was baked yoghurt with palm jaggery.
Date Palm Jaggery
Full fat or regular yoghurt: 400ml
Condensed milk: 100ml
Nolen Gur or Date palm jaggery: 3/4 cup (according to personal preference)
Ground cardamom: ¼ tsp (optional) I didn’t use it, as I like the flavour of the palm jaggery.
Handful of chopped almonds
Little bit or grated jaggery or few spoons of molasses
Mix the yoghurt, fresh cream and jaggery together in a large glass bowl.
Whisk till jaggery dissolves about 5 mins.
At this point, you can add saffron or cardamom (I did only saffron).
Take few earthen pot and pour yoghurt mixture in them carefully.
Now arrange the bowls in a large baking pan.
Fill the half of the pan with steaming hot water. We need to put it in such way, that bottom of yoghurt filled pots are dipped in water.
Cover the mouth of each pot with small foil.
Now, bake them in preheated (170C) oven for 25-30 mins at 170C until yoghurt is set.
Once done, set it to cool a bit in the oven.
Remove them from oven and bring to room temperature and later refrigerate for around 2 hrs.
Now, it’s ready to serve chill.
©Sarika Sarkar Das
Photos by the author
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