Its less than a week to Sankranti and my kitchen is in a manic frenzy cooking a decadent spread of pithe, puli and payesh. I am on a perpetual exalted high – the heady aroma of slow roasting rice and that intoxicating sweet perfume of patali gur and liquid nolen gur have resulted in my olfactory senses being on a perennial overdrive.
My Chirer Doodhpuli have been a rage, those jaggery-drunk fennel-perfumed plump Roshboras disappeared before I could even blink, the delectable Bibikhana Pitha redolent of winter and fresh harvest and the Dal Pitha wicked with its spicy dal filling.
And it’s not over yet. The madness in my kitchen today is around Luchir Payesh, one of my earliest memories of Sankranti and yet another from Grandma’s repertoire of Sankranti delights.
A sandwich, if I can use the liberty of an analogy, of two luchis with a divine gurer kanchagolla filling in between. Fried to a gorgeous golden. And dipped into a notun gur perfumed payesh just before serving.
You do not want it soggy, Grandma would religiously remind Maa every time, that would ruin the fun of the dish.
A delicacy from Natore, Grandma would flaunt, a radiant smile illuminating her now-wrinkled face, yes, my Princess, your favorite Bonolata Sens Natore.
Luchir Payesh all the way from Natore. Enjoy !!!
Natorer Luchir Payesh
- 200 g plain flour
- 1.5 lit milk
- 100 g date palm jaggery
- 4 kanchagolla (you can use store-bought kanchagolla, if you do not get kanchagolla, feel free to use any soft sandesh)
- 2 tsp ghee
- 2 tbsp oil
- a pinch of salt
- Oil for deep frying
- Add the flour to a bowl. Sprinkle in the salt, add the ghee and 2 tbsp oil. Mix well till the ghee is well incorporated into the flour.
- Make a well in the flour, add 1/4 cup of warm water. Gently mix the water and flour and start kneading with your fingers.
- Gradually add more warm water as needed till the dough becomes firm but soft and pliable when rolled. Cover with a wet or damp cloth for 10 minutes.
- In another small bowl, crumble the kanchagolla. Keep aside.
- Divide the dough into small balls, using a rolling pin, roll out each dough ball to a flat circle of about 3 inches in diameter.
- Add 1.5 tsp of kanchagolla in the middle of a circle, cover with another flat circle and carefully press the edges together.
- Use your fingers or a fork to crimp the dough along the edges as shown in the image. Repeat the same for the rest.
- Heat oil in a deep-bottomed pan, deep fry till golden brown. Keep aside on a kitchen absorbent towel.
- Pour the milk into a heavy bottomed saucepan, simmer over a low flame till the milk reduces to almost one third in volume.
- Once the milk has reduced, add the grated jaggery. Give it a hearty stir, continue to cook till the jaggery has melted. (If you like it sweeter, feel free to indulge - add some more grated jaggery !!)
- Gently add the kanchagolla-stuffed luchis one by one into the milk. Cook over a medium flame for about 3-4 mins. Carefully stir the milk a couple of times in between.
- Allow to cool and serve.