Nolen Gurer Payesh or Jaggery flavored Rice Pudding is a signature dish of Makar Sankranti celebration which is more popularly known as Poush Parbon in West Bengal. It is one of the simplest desserts I’ve ever had yet it is the trickiest preparation as well. ‘Nolen Gurer Payesh’ needs only three basic ingredients rice, milk and jaggery. But it needs hell lot of patience and expertise. Hence it is a true heart winner since ages.
‘Payesh’ is the king of dessert amongst Bengalis. No celebrations are complete without a bowl full of ‘Payesh’; be it any personal celebration like birthdays or anniversaries or any festivals like Durga Puja or Bengali New Year celebration ‘Payesh’ will always be the part of the opening ceremony.
So when it’s the celebration for harvesting new crop how can ‘Payesh’ be left out? Simply it can’t. But to bring it closer to hearts this time it is flavored with date palm jaggery. I remember my granny used to get up early in the morning, (more preciously still in dark) and to cook her magical ‘nolen gurer payesh’ with the kitchen door shut. I never understood how can such a simple dish tasted so heavenly with her magic fingers.
I know many of you must have similar feelings/experiences along with it. Come share with me. And for the spirit I’m sharing here the recipe of ‘Nolen Gurer Payesh’.
Preparation Time: 05 mins
Cooking Time: 30 mins
Resting Time: 00 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Yield: 4 servings
Full cream milk: 1 ltr.
Rice (washed and drained): 4 tbsp (traditionally Gobindo bhog rice is used but any fragrant rice like long grain Basmati will be also suitable for the same)
Jaggery, grated: 6 tbsp
Bay leaf: 1
Green cardamom: 2-3, crushed
Heavy bottomed Saucepan or Wok
The quality of milk and jaggery is very important in this recipe. If your jaggery does not maintain the dignity you will end up with a bowl of rice cooked in smoky flavored curdled milk.
So before you start making ‘Payesh’, it is almost mandatory to run a tiny test with your milk and jaggery. Boil 1/4th cup of the milk and add the jaggery into it. If the milk curdles you can’t do anything apart from weeping; if not be ready for your heavenly treat.
Boil milk with bay leaf and crushed green cardamom in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Once milk starts boiling simmer it until i, reduces to half of the original volume. During this process foam will be formed on top of the milk. Don’t dare to discard it, mix the foam into the milk with wooden ladle. Scrap off the sides of the pan and mix into the milk time to time.
Add the previously washed and drained rice into the simmering milk and allow it to cook on low flame for 10-15 mins or until the rice is almost done. Keep stirring the milk continuously otherwise rice will stick to the bottom and the ‘Payesh’ will have a very awkward smoky smell.
When the rice is almost done (remember not to cook the rice completely otherwise you will end up with a lumpy rice pudding), simmer the flame and add the previously made milk jaggery mixture slowly.
Don’t forget to keep stirring continuously. Simmer the milk for another 5 mins or until ‘Payesh’ thickens a bit and has uniform color. Switch off the flame and allow it to come to room temperature.
Transfer to serving bowls and serve at room temperature. Some people like it warm, some people like it chilled; it tastes great all the way. Though this nolen gurer payeshtastes best when fresh, it can be stored up to 2-3 days if refrigerated in air-tight container.
Eat, Love, Enjoy and Repeat!