Tuesday 1 May 2012

Noto Kheer

Of the two types of people on earth, which type are you? Saver or Spender?  Take this simple test to find out.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                If milk curdles, do you:
A. Throw it away
B. Add lemon juice & make paneer
C. Make dessert out of it
                                                                                                                                                                                                                             If your answer is A, you are a happy spender in life's game. B suggests you are thrifty and like to save. If C is your option, you are a shaukeen saver. You not only save, you do it in style!
                                                                                                                                                                                                           Didun was a Type C. My gran. Nothing in her kitchen ever went waste. Not the curdled milk, not its water after it was separated, not the cauliflower leaves, not the skin of the raw potato. She was the quintessential lokkhi, ghar ki lakshmi. With her penchant for cleanliness, meticulous attention to detail and unparalleled culinary skills, her ghar was nothing less than a mandir. Every season the Gods in the thakur ghor wore new clothes that Didun had stitched for them. The accessories had to be replaced if the costumes were so her hands were full, now making ornaments for the Divine. After the clothes & the jewels, it was bedding for the Gods. Paash balish, side pillows, to prop up gonesh thakur or pillows for krishno thakur to rest his head, Didun's involvement with her god's family fascinated us all.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   No jar in the bhaandar ghor, the store, was ever empty. The moment the ingredients dipped, they were transferred to a smaller jar. The abundance attracted more abundance. We had never heard of readymade pickle in those days. Achaar, even amawat, sweet mango papad, were all made at home. And not just for the house. The neighbours got a lion's share from there. When Didun was not making Goja Jhiljhili, she was doing her crochet or keeping the family warm with her knits. Apart from teaching young girls how to keep their complexion flawless & hair glossy.
                                                                                                          While my ma mashi inherited most of her qualities, it's unfortunate that things have diluted down the line. While I would love to call myself a Type C, out of Ma's hearing, I have nothing to boast of in matters of the thread & needle. Or the aam papad or the nolen gurer sondesh. How type C then, you may demand. Scroll up the page, I'd say. Cz I make a delicacy out of the sour milk. Try Noto Kheer, frenz. Your kids will want the milk to curdle every second day:) We did!
1. Curdled milk
2. Sugar
3. Pinch of cardamom powder
1. Add lime juice/vinegar to the milk and boil to curdle it completely.
2. Strain the water & use it to knead aata dough. Rotis come out real soft!
3. Leave the chhana, paneer, in the vessel and allow rest of the water to dry.
4. Add sugar and elaichi powder, keep stirring till all water dries, noto kheer turns creamish and is the consistency shown(in pic). 

Take it a step further & set this mix in a tray. Cut out into burfi shapes when cool. Send me the pics when you do.

This rich desssert is to be eaten when cool. And shared with frenz if so willed.
                                                                                                    Mana says Didun would be proud of our Food Stall had she been around. I like to think she is, wherever she is.... 

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