The enchanting aroma of lavender melded with the morning air greets on opening the door. Air is nippy but soothing and pleasant.
The Sun is about to peep from behind the hills. My sister is arriving from the South and we are all excited. We are waiting for the whistle of the train that would announce her arrival. The train arrives on time and she comes with goodies for all. There is animated conversation over cups of tea and snacks. She got us a big slab of date palm jaggery. Smoky, earthy and uniquely flavoured date palm jaggery is relished by everyone.
I keep a big chunk of jaggery to make sandesh- the famous Bengali delicacy. A generous friend from Kolkatta, Amrita sent me sandesh moulds some time back. There couldn’t have been a better time to try out the delectable sweet.
Nolen Gur Sandesh | Sandesh with Date Palm Jaggery
1 ½ liter full cream milk
¼ cup + 1/8 cup water (water will be half of vinegar)
1 cup crumbled date palm jaggery (you can also make sandesh with powdered sugar. Adjust sugar according to taste)
5-6 cardamoms powdered
Take milk in a pan. Bring it to a boil. Turn off the heat. After 5 minutes, add vinegar and water to milk. Do not add all vinegar and water at a time. Stop adding when the milk begins to curdle. Stir gently after 5 minutes. The cheese and greenish clear whey should separate. Take a muslin cloth on a large strainer and collect cottage cheese. While on strainer, add a glass of water to remove sourness from cottage cheese. Bring edges of cheese cloth together and tie a knot. Squeeze the cheese cloth to remove excess water and hang the cheese cloth for 4 to 5 hours.
Transfer cottage cheese to a plate and mash it with your hands for 15 to 20 minutes. It should become soft and smooth in texture. Add date palm jaggery and cardamom powder. Mash for another 5 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to a thick bottom steel wok. Cook on low heat. Stir and cook for 6 to 7 minutes.
Turn off the heat. As soon as you are able to handle it, stuff a spoonful of mixture into the mould. Press and gently nudge out. You can also make balls with the mixture.
Serve when cold.