Traditions are nostalgic, and nostalgia makes us want to relive those moments’ real bad, making us do things which turns the plain vanilla days --Festive.
That feeling is infectious indeed. It comes in all forms, sometimes it’s a religious rite, a certain aroma you wake up to on a given day every year, It even comes in the form of some awkward family ritual that you are forced to perform every year, no matter how much you cringe and groan silently, all these bits and pieces of traditions bind us and makes us feel like a family.
We miss it, when it’s gone.
And then perhaps comes the cycle of recreating it for our next generation, so that once they are as grow up as us , they feel all warm and fuzzy thinking about it. Just the way I’m musing over it all today.
My fuzzy feeling nuzzles peacefully in the form of this freshly made Gurer Sondesh. Using up all the last bits of patali gur (palm jaggery ) preserved carefully for the nobo borsho celebration, before we bid adieu to the patali till the onset of winters. During my childhood days, all we had to do was to touch the feet of all the elders around we were rewarded with this family favorite (did I mention home cooked?) sweet.
For me , It’s time again to relive those memories.No feets nearby, but blessing are much awaited.Ma are you reading?
2 litres full cream milk
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup Patali gur (palm jaggery ) or ¾ cup Sugar
Bring the milk to boil and while it’s boiling add the lime juice. Lower the heat. The milk will curdle and separate from the whey (a greenish coloured liquid ). Let it sit for a bit and then strain the whey . Rinse the channa /cottage cheese under running water to get rid of the lemony taste. Now tie the channa /cottage cheese in a fine cloth and weigh it down with a heavy substance (like the mortar and pestle) for a few hours. This will drain out any excess liquid.
After a few hours , you should knead the chhana with the gur , till it mixes well. You can heat the jaggery in a microwave for a few seconds so that it’s soft enough to knead. The heel of your hand is your best kneading bet here! Once you are done, the channa with start to resemble like a smooth ball of dough in pale brown or white, depending on your choice of sweetener.
Take the dough and cook on a very low heat. Say 5-6 minutes is enough. Once done, switch off the heat and straightaway contour the chana with molds or just toss into balls. They are ready for the celebration.