A honey sunshine morning.
A verdant green hillock of shelled pea pods stands in front of Didi, fatigued and enervated.
A sea of homeless peas, displaced mercilessly from their safe cocoons, awaits fate.
I want Didi to play with me. Make lunch for my now-famished dolls – rotis (I have been kneading the dough for so long now), rice and dal. And if possible, a kheer.
But Didi looks to be too engrossed in what she is doing.
And I am growing increasingly impatient.
Didi now picks up a handful of peas and plunges them into the ancient mortar. And proceeds to pummel them with the pestle.
A few mortified peas jump out of the mortar in their last attempt to prevent being squished to a listless pulp.
But Didi has hawk eyes.
She collects the errant peas one by one and deposits them back into the depths of the mortar.
And continues to maul the army of peas without even a hint of remorse.
Once the peas have been decimated, Didi gathers the lifeless green mush from the mortar and places it in Grandma’s kansa bowl.
What’s going to happen to this paste ? I quiz Didi. Desperate to gain her attention.
I am going to make koraishutir kochuri for you and Bhai, she responds.
I don’t want kochuri. I want something sweet, I protest. I just want attention. And of course I don’t even know what I am asking for.
I’ll make a spicy aloo dum to accompany the kochuri, Didi assures. Her attention though still on reducing the peas to a listless mush.
No, I don’t want kochuri, I protest indignantly. I want a dessert.
Finally Didi looks up.
Sweets out of green peas !!! You cannot make sweets out of green peas !! An exasperated Didi surrenders.
And calls out to Grandma.
Whats in my princess’ mind this morning ? She asks calmly, a sublime smile on her lips.
Realising it’s too late to change my mind, I hold my ground.
Do we have any chhana (homemade paneer) left from the morning ? Grandma checks with Didi.
No worries then, I shall make my princess koraishutir sandesh.
That’s the story behind the genesis of the koraishutir sandesh.
Born to please an obdurate little girl who just wanted to be difficult one morning.
And a Grandma who was willing to go to any length to indulge her princess.
Koraishutir sandesh. A mellifluous symphony of chhana and green peas. The heady perfume of nolen gur. The earthy warmth of grated ginger. And some coarsely ground peppercorn just for that wicked kick.
Koraishutir Sandesh (Cottage Cheese and Green Peas Fudge)
- 11/4 cup fresh green peas coarsely ground
- 1/2 cup homemade chhana
- 1/3 cup date palm jaggery grated
- 1 tbsp ginger grated
- 1 tsp black pepper freshly ground
- 1 tbsp almond finely chopped
- 1 tbsp pistachios finely chopped
- 1 tbsp ghee
- Place the chhana on a flat surface and knead it with the heel of your palm. About 4-5 minutes or so till your palm is almost oily. Keep aside.
- Heat the ghee in a deep bottomed pan, add the coarsely ground green peas, cook for 5-7 minutes over a low flame, stirring occasionally.
- Add the chhana to the peas. Mix well with a wooden spatula.
- Now add the jaggery, grated ginger and ground black pepper. Give it a hearty stir.
- Continue to cook till the mixture comes comes off clean from the sides of the pan.
- Finish with chopped almonds and pistachios, mix well.
- Grease a flat dish with very little ghee. Gently spread the green peas and chhana mixture on the dish, about 3/4 inch in thickness.
- Using a sharp knife, cut into 1 inch squares.
- Refrigerate for 30 odd minutes or so and serve.