This is an absolute nostalgia.... The amount of happiness such posts give me is immeasurable. Many will agree with me. Post forty, revisiting childhood has become a favourite pastime. Every single memory I relish, I treasure and try to reconnect. I do not know why I am so keen on that, or whether it happens to others or not. I remember every thing how much of a foodie I was and how much pampered I was for been so. Rice and fish curry was my most favourite and for my love of it I was always served the biggest piece. My adorable brother always sacrificed happily. Each memory gets me teary eyed. Sitting in the favourite corner of my couch and reliving memories is what I love doing most these days. Never that much of a social person, these days I have again retreated to my teen hood, to my quiet self. I remember neighbours telling my mom we fail to realise you have a daughter too. Maa would scold me.... behave like a social being. Next day evening back from school, I would sit in the balcony[baranda] with my favourite book so that people believe my mother has a daughter too. I do not justify my actions but I do not find words after five minutes of talking. Of all that saree clad made up bejewelled face is a sunburnt/sunkissed, quiet, stubborn girl who loves her space and wishes to be accepted the way she is.
From nostalgia to self analysis and again back to food nostalgia, these are winter treats in our region. We have grown up eating them. Usually these shapely sweets were made at home with cooked shredded coconut and jaggery/sugar mainly. This variety prepared with home made paneer[cottage cheese] is so much available in the sweet shops of West Bengal that we do not have to prepare them at home. The moulds are my prized possession on my last visit to Kolkata, got it finally at the Dakhineshwar temple ground stores. If you do not have moulds, just shape with your hands. Only two main ingredients are required to prepare this sweet.... home made paneer and date jaggery. If you do not want to use date jaggery you can substitute with sugar. I always forget to take the picture of paneer making, but people know it anyway. Let us do it.
INGREDIENTS :[for home made paneer]
Milk : 1lt
Lemon Juice : 3-4tbsp
INGREDIENTS :[for the sweet]
Paneer[Indian Cottage Cheese, Chena] : of 1lt milk
Date Jaggery[patali gur] : 100 gm
Rice Flour[coarsely ground] : 1tbsp[optional]
Ghee[clarified butter] : 1drop for each mould to grease.
Let me introduce you to my prized possession first... the moulds.....
The amount of date jaggery for the paneer made from 1lt milk should be this.
Let us prepare the paneer first. Pour the milk in a heavy bottomed pan and bring to boil. Switch of and add the lemon juice. Stir and let stand for sometime. Once cool, strain through a white thin cloth. Tie and hang the cloth for about 10-15 minutes. Transfer the paneer to a bowl as below.
We need to knead it well. Add the rice flour to the paneer if you are using it. Knead well for 10 minutes. Place a wok on the oven. Switch on. Add the jaggery chunk. Add 1/2 cup water. Let it melt. Boil it for 2-3 minutes, do not let it burn. Add the kneaded paneer. Fold in well. It looks as below.
Now is the time for little patience. We have to constantly keep stirring till the mixture does not get sticky. Transfer to a bowl. Let cool.
Rub the moulds with a drop of ghee and your palms too. Take a small amount of the mixture and place on the moulds. Press lightly. Slowly loosen the sides and take out. Gently place on a greased plate. Eat fresh or can be refrigerated up to 2 days. They look as below.