I was thinking while making Nolen Gurer Sandesh on Nabami about my relations… with my parents, family members, with hubby and with Pasta and also about the ups and downs that I have faced and all these are quite normal in almost every person’s life and I am not an exception! There is one more group of people in almost everyone’s life who plays a role of catalysts. they are our friends! Our bunch of bondhu (yes this is what we called a friend in Bengali); who are there to support us morally, psychologically and sometimes financially (remember those college days!) and again I am not an exception to this!
I do have a bunch of Bondhu in my life and few among those are really special. These special groups are well aware of each aspect of my life, my temperament, my pros, my cons (is there any!). They are there to support me in each and every situation and vice versa. I can discuss few things only with them and not even with my family. They have the right to tell me what to do; how to do and blah blah blah!!! Mehebub probably would not be my worse half if he was/ is not one my good friends and probably that is the reason my “Tuitokarir” husband ignore many weirds characterizes of mine and so do I.
After writing this much I am cent percent sure that my readers are getting confused why I am writing about my friends instead of Nolen Gurer Sandesh for which this post is meant for! Well, I have a reason for that; believe me, I do and my reason is nothing but Sandesh mold! Something you would not find out about West Bengal/ Bangladesh!
Baba was quite confident that Thakumar Sandesh er Chanch (Sandesh Mould used by my Grand Maa) should be there in my 170 years old Baaper Bari (my ancestral place) and my poor father tried to search every possible place for his worthless one and only daughter who decided to use Sandesh mold to make Sandesh! Thanks to my bad luck, baba failed to search the Sandesh Moulds and I almost lose the hope of having my own Sandesh er Chanch! I was casually discussing this with my college buddy Sudipta last week (with an intention to found an option since I believe she is a person who can find even Baagher dooth (Tigress milk) if required and I am damn right!
“Chinta koris na kolkatay ekhono pawa jay” (Don’t worry; it is available in Kolkata) and believe me we went to the right place and purchased Sandesh Mould. I took around 10 different shaped Sandesh Mould made up of black stone last week! What a pleasure and what a friend! Touch wood!!! And I finally able to use molds to make perfectly (almost) shaped Nolen Gurer Sandesh and used as Prashad for Durga Thakur! What bliss indeed! It is not that I have not made Sandesh before, but never used molds to shape Sandesh and mostly opt for Kancha Golla that does not require any typical design.
Nolen Gur or Date Palm Jaggery is a winter delicacy but I choose to store in a specific place in my refrigerator for use on special occasions and for a hard-core Bong like me Durga Puja is one of the most special among those. This year it is more special given after eight years I have celebrated Durga Puja in my own City, Kolkata and obviously following “Kuch meetha toh banta hain” I made Nolen Gurer Sandesh this year in Puja for Maa er Pujo.
I guess Sandesh required no introduction at least to Bongs and even to Indians! Just in case you are not any of those or not aware of Sandesh, it is a Cottage Cheese Fudge mostly prepared in Bengal and one of the popular sweet considered between Bongs! You can found Sandesh in different shapes and flavor too and Nolen Gurer Sandesh or Cottage Cheese Fudge prepared with Date Palm Jaggery is probably one of the commonest of the lot. Though mostly found in winters in Confectioner’s Shop, nowadays available in other seasons too. Melting in mouth Sandesh flavored with the amazing Nolen Gur, Nolen Gurer Sandesh has a unique earthy aroma to it!
Lets’ just discuss the recipe which is easy too! I made Cottage Cheese or Chana at home since I have served Sandesh to Maa Durga on Puja; in case you are available with store-bought Chana you can use that too. I didn’t add Sugar and used only Nolen Gur while making Sandesh this time which can be altered based on the preference. Half Gur Half Sugar or a ratio of 1:2 would also work fine.
Last but not the least thanks to S for helping me to find the molds and just in case you are not available with Sandesh Mould just use your hand to give Sandesh a shape of Laddu; it would taste as heavenly as the shaped one! I made around 18 Sandesh out the Chana prepared from 2litersr of milk given I have different sized molds and in case of a medium-sized mold is used around 20 Nolen Gurer Sandesh can be prepared from the Chana prepared from 2 Litre milk.
- Full-Fat Milk: 2 Litre
- Lemon Juice: 2 Tbsp.
- Date Palm Jaggery/ Nolen Gur: 8 Tbsp. (grated)
- Pistachios: 12-14
- Ghee: 1 Tsp.
- Mix Lemon Juice with ½ cup of lukewarm water.
- Take milk in a deep bottom vessel and bring it to boil for around 7-8 minutes in medium flame.
- Switch the flame off and start mixing the Lemon water with the milk.
- Using a spatula mix Lemon water properly with the milk.
- At this point, milk will start separating into Chana or cottage Cheese and water.
- Cover the pan with a lid and leave it for 5 minutes.
- After five minutes open the lid and using a strainer discard the water from the Cottage Cheese.
- Don’t wash Chana after separating from the water as washing it under cold water will harden Chana.
- Now take the Chana and place it in the middle of a Muslin cloth and tie all the sides of the cloth.
- Place the Chana covered with the cloth in a flat place.
- Put some weight on it. I have used my Shil Nora/ Shil Batta for this step for 10 minutes to discard excess water from it.
- Remove the weight and remove Chana from the Cloth after 45 minutes. You will see a flat plate of Chana or Cottage Cheese now.
- Kneading plays the major role in making soft Sandesh.
- I have used a wooden plate for this process and kneaded entire Chana for around 7-8 minutes or till Chana smoothen completely and no lump left in Chana.
- At this point add grated Date Palm Jaggery to the kneaded Chana.
- Again knead to mix Jaggery properly with Chana.
- Take the entire mixture in a pan (preferably non-stick) and start to cook on low flame for 8-9 minutes.
- Stir vigorously until the mixture leaves the edges of the pan.
- Switch the flame off and take the Sandesh mixture out on a plate.
- Give the mixture a standing time of 5 minutes before shaping Sandesh.
- Divide the mixture into 16-20 parts depending on the preference of size.
- Rub little Ghee on the Sandesh Moulds a take part of the Sandesh mix and place it in the mold.
- Shape the Sandesh on it and take it out carefully.
- Chop Pistachios roughly and place little pistachio on each mold as shown in the picture.
- Nolen Gurer Sandesh will be extremely fragile at this stage and required to be removed from the mold carefully.
- If not available with a mold then use your hand and give Sandesh a shape of a Ball.
- Nolen Gurer Sandesh can be served at Room temperature or refrigerated and can be stored for 2-3 day in an airtight container in Refrigerator!
I prepared Nolen Gurer Sandesh especially for Durga Puja and used is as Prasad! It was amazing to see my Nolen Gurer Sandesh served to Maa Durga on Asthami! Bhalo the Maa ar Bhalo Reckho! Happy Puja!!