The Durga Pujo at the Janbazar residence of Rani Rashmoni, the legendary philanthropist of 19th century Bengal, credited to have founded the awe-inspiring Dakshineswar Kali temple, was started in 1790 by Zamindar Babu Pritaram Das, father in law of Rani Rashmoni. The Pujo was continued by Babu Rajchandra Das (Babu Ghat in Kolkata is named after him) and after his death by Rani Rashmoni.
The Pujo was blessed by the great saint Ramakrishna Paramhansa in 1864 when he offered prayers to the deity in his special “Sakhibesh” attire.
The Pujo is continues to this day with pomp and splendour, three different Pujos celebrated by the families of the Ranis three daughters.
Highlights of the Pujo include the start of worship from the day after Mahalaya and Kumari Pujo performed all the three days, Shoptomi, Oshtomi and Nobomi.
Animal sacrifice has been banned since long. Annobhog is not offered to the deity . Bhog comprises luchi, an array of bhaja (fried vegetables) and a delectable spread of sweets like kheer, payesh, khaja, jive goja to name but a few.
Today, in the sixth of my Mahabhog series, I recreate Perakir Payesh, following the steps detailed by their family members.
Perakir Payesh. A delicious coconut jaggery mixture lovingly stuffed in a peraki. Fried to a gorgeous golden. And dipped in a jaggery-perfumed payesh. Sublime !!!
If you are keen to learn what is served to the deity in the various bonedi barir Pujo as part of their bhog, do stay tuned for more !!
And if you haven’t already, here’s my posts on what’s in the bhog offered to Ma Durga.
1. Shibpur RoyChowdhury Barir Kolar Borar Payesh
2. Sabarna Roy Choudhury Barir Pui Chingri
3. Chorbagan Chatterjee Barir Niramish Bhetki Maacher Ghonto
4. Bhawanipur Nandan Barir Chandrapuli
5. Girish Bhawan er Chhanar Kalia
PS – Please do not reproduce the content without appropriate permission.
Rani Rashmoni Barir Perakir Payesh
- 1 cup coconut freshly grated
- 1 cup khoya or milk solids grated
- 1 cup patali gur or date palm jaggery grated
- 1/4 tsp green cardamom powder
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1/2 cup ghee melted
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- oil for frying
For Perakir Payesh
- 2 lit whole milk
- 1/2 cup patali gur or date palm jaggery grated
- Take the flour, baking soda in a bowl, 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 little 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. Keep the dough covered for an hour or so with a moist cloth.
- Mix the coconut, grated jaggery and green cardamom powder in heavy bottomed pan. Cook it for 7-8 minutes or till water dries up a bit. It should not be too dry. Allow it cool down to room temperature.
- 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. Fill with a big spoonful of the coconut stuffing on one side of the circle and gently fold it 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.
For Perakir Payesh
- 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 peraki one by one into the milk. Switch off the flame and give it standing time of 5-7 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.