Kolkata is known for its magical mishtis around the world and there are no two thoughts about it. But apart from the other secrets to its mesmerizing mithais, there’s one which you should definitely learn more about. ‘Nolen gur’ which literally translates to ‘new jaggery’ in English only warms us with its presence when it’s chilly outside. Well, nearly all heavenly Bengali mithais can be made with nolen gur and every sweet shop, from the basic to the elite, in Kolkata definitely makes use of this winter special ingredient. And, why not? There are tales about how nolen gur can add an exceptional flavour and aroma to sweets. Now, it’s time we give a little tribute to this secret gem!
How is nolen nur made?
We were not going to bore you with the process but trust us, it’s damn intriguing! In the suburbs of Kolkata, the farmers tend to procure this special gur. An incision is made in the date palm trees and the sugary sap is extracted from it and collected in a pot. It is said that the freshly collected sap is just as clean as water. This sap is then boiled in big iron vessels and that thick syrup is sold as ‘nolen gur or jhola gur’ (because it’s liquid). It is sometimes condensed and moulded into solidified blocks and sold all throughout the year as ‘patali gur.’..The best part about this jaggery is that it is 100% natural, preservative-free, a great option for people with diabetes and also healthy to consume. Well, now we know why people are so crazy about it!
What makes it better?
As said, nolen gur is an ‘eid ka chaand’ in the culinary world because it only shows itself in the chilly mausam. Though patali gur is available through the year but the flavours of the fresh winter batch remain unmatched. Nolen gur has amazing benefits from improving digestion in the body to treating anaemia with its high iron content. It is also loaded with antioxidants which prevent oxidative damage to the body. Apart from the other essential vitamins and minerals, it contains simple carbs which promote smoother digestion and keep the body fresh and energetic throughout the day.
How to use it?
Well, there’s just one right answer, use it thoroughly to satiate your sweet tooth cravings! In fact, one of the very popular mishtis from the Bengali cuisine with nolen gur is ‘Jol bhora/Talsansh Sondesh,’ which is the most famous sondesh version sweetened with the wonderful nolen gur. It has a liquid centre, filled with molten nolen gur. And, the best part is that even the sondesh itself is prepared with this gur, hence, it has a light brown colour. Drooling already? Here’s something more for you.
Nolen Gur Ice Cream
Winter makes us scream for ice creams, isn’t it? What better way to welcome the season of nolen gur than biting into a chilled ice cream prepared with it. Here’s the recipe for you to make this easy-peasy and decadent dessert at home.
½ cup nolen gur
1½ litres readymade vanilla ice cream
1½ cups chhena
P.S. – Also, get ready for a short and sweet brain freeze!
Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.