Baka­sura Speaketh

The Economic Times - - Saturday Feature -

In Ma­hab­harata, Baka­sura was a de­mon known for his eat­ing prow­ess. He forced a king to send him weekly a cart of food which he de­voured, and also the men who car­ried them. In my child­hood at Ahir­i­tola of Kolkata, we of­ten had a hum­ble meal of roti and waited for liq­uid gur at the end of din­ner It is very hard work for very lit­tle money but in small vil­lages this is all we have Sweet shops are our main cus­tomers I can never for­get the utopian taste of a piece of patali (solid nolen gur) added in a sim­ple bowl of milk and rice This is the time for Nobanno in Ben­gal ( lit­er­ally new rice) and a num­ber of sweets and desertswith nolen gur add a new flavour to win­ter Rice, suji, simai kheer or pud­ding made with date palm jag­gery and some­times dot­ted with raisin We have no­ticed that cus­tomers tend to eat more sweets with nalen gur added to it Co­conut and gur stuffed sweet potato dumplings in syrup Win­ter is com­ing­win­ter is com­ing Hand rolled chosi or simai is cooked in gur payes

Thin crepes made out of re­fined flour and semolina and stuffed with gur and co­conut It is all in the flavour. Moa can never be made without the khoi (puffed rice) from dew soaked kanakchur rice and nolen gur or gur­co­conut stuffed rice dumpling For me these are more in­tox­i­cat­ing than liquor choco­lates Places like Raidighi and Kashina­gar are fa­mous for their date tree plan­ta­tion

farm­ing But since lu­cra­tive less these is re­duc­ing is farm­ing are cut­ting farm­ers as trees down the

Even if a new tree is planted it takes 10 years be­fore the sap can be ex­tracted from it

Co­conut and gur is cooked to­gether and made into this de­light­ful lad­dus Narus are made with sugar and co­conut in other sea­sons too but without Nolen gur their taste is more every day

As I am fin­ish­ing the story, my friend In­dra­jit brought the first Patali from Kolkata. Watch this space as I find more on how the sug­ar­cane jag­gery in­flu­enced North In­dia So in win­ter, sweets like sandesh and ras­gul­lah turn brown in colour and their flavour too changes

In its solid form the jag­gery is known as Patali. It is darker in colour and has a burst of flavour In its com­pletely liq­uid and light form the gur is called poira and in thick form with gran­ules it is called danadar khe­jur gur

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