Payesh Recipe | Nolen Gurer Payesh

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Payesh is to Bengal, what Payasam is to South India and Kheer is to rest of India. Come winters, and there’s a certain revelry that engulfs the atmosphere in West Bengal because it means the season of nolen gur (date palm jaggery) has arrived. Thus, the Nolen Gurer Payesh too, a decadent creamy pudding made with fresh date palm jaggery and rice. Though, a winter special, there are other variations of the Payesh Recipe made with different varieties of this typical jaggery available all year round.

nolen gurer payesh garnished with chopped cashews served in 2 bowls with 2 spoons kept on the left side and text layovers.

About Nolen Gurer Payesh

Translating the words in English, the recipe name of this Bengali winter specialty would simply mean:

Nolen Gurer – Nolen gur or the date palm jaggery (the suffix ‘-er’ means ‘of’)

Payesh – Is the Bengali cousin of the Indian style sweet rice pudding, also called kheer

Since this Payesh recipe uses the quintessential date palm jaggery/nolen gur/khejur gur, it has a very rustic, earthy flavor to it and an exceptional fragrance too.

This also makes this kheer stand out and be really different than the regular Rice Kheer that is made with sugar.

As you savor this delicious Nolen Gurer Payesh, the taste of it slowly grows on you. Only leaving you with a longing to have more and more. You see, it’s very easy to go excess with this dessert.

So, watch out that intake of yours. Have it hot, warm or chilled, your choice. Just remember that on cooling, it will thicken more.

A classic Nolen Gurer Payesh recipe will always have the special variety of gobindo bhog rice in it. Though, you can make this Payesh with the basmati rice that you have at your home.

In this Payesh, there is no need of any extra flavorings too as the date palm jaggery is enough to elevate the flavors. But sometimes, I do add a tej patta and a bit of cardamom powder. You can also some nuts or dry fruits.

Pro Tip

Making this particular Payesh is easy, but takes time and attention. You should always use a heavy kadai or pan in making recipes like these where milk is boiled for a long time. This helps in preventing the milk from getting burnt at the bottom. Ensure to stir often, so that the milk and payesh does not stick on to the bottom of the pan.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Nolen Gurer Payesh

Preparation

1. Rinse ¼ cup basmati rice or gobindo bhog rice a couple of times in water. Afterwards, soak the rinsed rice grains in enough water covering them for about 20 minutes.

soaking rice in water for nolen gurer payesh.

2. Take 100 grams date palm jaggery (nolen gur).

date palm jaggery kept in a box for nolen gurer payesh.

3. Chop and keep aside. You will need ½ cup of chopped date palm jaggery.

chopped date palm jaggery for nolen gurer payesh.

Cook Milk

4. Take 1 liter milk in a heavy kadai or pan.

milk added in a heavy pan.

5. Keep the flame to a low and begin to heat milk.

heating milk in the pan for nolen gurer payesh.

6. As the milk is being heated, stir occasionally.

stirring hot milk.

7. Let the milk come to a boil. Then, simmer for 8 to 10 minutes more after it comes to a boil. Stir often.

milk coming to a boil.

8. The milk will start reducing in this period of time.

milk getting reduced while boiling.

Make Payesh

9. After 8 to 10 minutes of simmering, drain all the water from the rice and add to the milk.

adding drained rice to the boiling milk.

10. Then, add 1 small bay leaf (tej patta) and ¼ teaspoon green cardamom powder.

bay leaf and cardamom powder added to the milk.

11. Mix very well.

spices mixed well with the milk-rice mixture.

12. Simmer on low heat until the rice grains are cooked and softened. Stir often.

simmering till the rice grains are cooked.

13. As the rice grains are cooking, the milk will also thicken and reduce more. Stir often so that the rice does not stick to the pan.

Also, scrape the dried milk solids from the sides and add to the simmering milk.

rice getting cooked and milk thickening and reducing.

14. By the time the rice grains are cooked well, the milk will thicken more.

rice getting cooked and milk thickening and reducing.

15. Simmer on low heat. The rice grains have to be tender and cooked thoroughly. So, you can taste or mash a few rice grains to see if they are cooked well enough.

simmering the milk-rice mixture well for nolen gurer payesh.

17. Once the rice grains are softened, turn off the heat.

cooked nolen gurer payesh.

18. Next, add 2 tablespoons cashews and 1 tablespoon raisins. You can also add almonds or pistachios instead of cashews.

For toddlers, you can skip adding nuts, dry fruits altogether or add cashew or almond powder. Nuts & dry fruits are optional and can be skipped too.

chopped cashews and raisins added to the cooked nolen gurer payesh.

19. Mix very well.

dry fruits mixed well in the payesh.

20. Remove the pan from the stovetop and keep on the counter top for 3 to 4 minutes till the heat reduces a bit. Also, scrape off the dried milk solids from the edges and add to the payesh.

cooked payesh.

21. After 3 to 4 minutes, add one portion of the chopped date palm jaggery.

chopped date palm jaggery added to the cooked payesh.

22. Mix very well until most of the jaggery has dissolved.

date palm jaggery mixed well in the payesh.

23. Add the remaining jaggery.

some more chopped date palm jaggery added to the cooked payesh.

24. Mix again very well until all the jaggery dissolves. Check the taste and if you want, you can add some more jaggery.

date palm jaggery mixed well in the payesh.

25. Serve Nolen Gurer Payesh hot or warm. You can also refrigerate and serve it chilled. While serving, garnish with a few chopped cashews.

Note that on cooling, the payesh will thicken more. 

nolen gurer payesh garnished with chopped cashews served in 2 bowls with 2 spoons kept on the left side and text layover.

What is Nolen Gur

One of Bengal’s prized possessions is the nolen gur, also referred to as notun gur or khejur gur which is the fresh date palm jaggery.

And yes, one of the most important reasons for a Bengali to anxiously wait for winters to arrive is truly because it also brings along the nolen gur with it.

Food is an extremely integral part of the Bengali culture, and a true-blue Bengali will always take pride in their specialties.

As already mentioned, nolen gur is typically a winter delicacy. One of the things that makes it unique is that it is available in 2 forms – the liquid one known as jhola gur and the solid one known as patali gur.

Although, a Bengali would swear by jhola gur (almost liquid gold for them!), the solid nolen gur is also a preferred choice because of its ease of availability during non-winter months as well.

The World Of Nolen Gur

Just like this Nolen Gurer Payesh, the date palm jaggery is used in many more traditional Bengali dishes.

A typical Sandesh variant called the ‘jolbhora sandesh’ has a gooey center of the liquid jhola gur, encased in a chenna/paneer mixture that also has the nolen gur. Trust me, that’s an overdose which anyone would love to have!

Other classics like Narkel Naru, Mishti Doi, Rasgulla, patisapta, etc. can also be made with the nolen gur. These days nolen gur ice creams are also famous.

This specific jaggery is truly a gem as it imparts a mellow sweetness plus a certain depth of aroma and flavor in whichever preparation it becomes a part of.

In addition to this, khejur gur is rich in iron. Its micro-nutrients improve the immunity and helps to fight the body against infections. Consuming it also helps curbing cramped calf muscles and sore eyes.

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nolen gurer payesh recipe

Payesh Recipe | Nolen Gurer Payesh

This Payesh Recipe also called Nolen Gurer Payesh is decadent creamy pudding made with fresh date palm jaggery and rice. Though, a winter special from the Bengali cuisine, there are other variations of the Payesh Recipe made with different varieties of this typical jaggery available all year round.
5 from 9 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Cuisine Bengali
Course Desserts, Sweets
Diet Vegetarian
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 4
Units

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup basmati rice or gobind bhog rice, 50 grams
  • 1 litre whole milk
  • ½ cup date palm jaggery chopped, or 100 grams, can add more if required
  • 1 tej patta – small-dozed, (Indian bay leaf)
  • ¼ teaspoon green cardamom powder
  • 2 tablespoons cashews or almonds, sliced or chopped – optional
  • 1 tablespoon golden raisins – optional

Instructions
 

Preparation

  • Rinse ¼ cup basmati rice or gobind bhog rice a couple of times. 
  • Soak the rinsed rice grains in water covering them for about 20 minutes.
  • Chop date palm jaggery and set aside. 
  • You will need ½ cup of chopped dates palm jaggery.

Making nolen gurer payesh

  • Take milk in a heavy kadai or pan.
  • Keep heat to low and begin to heat milk.
  • Stir occasionally when the milk is getting heated.
  • Let the milk come to a boil. Then continue to simmer the milk for 8 to 10 minutes more after it comes to a boil.
    Stir often. The milk will start reducing in this period of time.
  • After 8 to 10 minutes of simmering, drain all the water from the rice and add to the milk.
  • Then add 1 small tej patta and ¼ teaspoon green cardamom powder. Mix very well.
  • Simmer on low heat until the rice grains are softened and cooked. Stir often.
  • As the rice grains get cooked, the milk will also thicken and reduce more. So stir often so that rice does not stick to the pan.
  • By the time the rice grains are cooked well the milk will thicken well.
  • Simmer on low heat.
  • The rice grains have to be tender, softened and cooked well. So you can taste or mash a few rice grains to see if they have cooked thoroughly.
  • Once the rice grains are softened, then turn off the heat.
  • Then add 2 tablespoons cashews and 1 tablespoon raisins. You can also add almonds or pistachios instead of cashews. Mix very well.
  • Remove the pan from the stovetop and keep on the counter top for 3 to 4 minutes till the heat reduces a bit.
  • Then add one portion of the chopped dates palm jaggery. Mix very well until most of the jaggery has dissolved.
  • Add the remaining jaggery.
  • Mix again very well until all of the jaggery dissolves.
  • Serve Nolen Gurer Payesh hot or warm. You can also refrigerate and serve this Rice Payesh chilled. While serving garnish with a few chopped cashews. 

Notes

  • Use whole milk and toned milk or low fat milk may split when adding the palm jaggery. 
  • Keep on stirring often when the milk is heating up, while the rice cooks and after the rice has cooked; to prevent the milk or payesh sticking to the bottom of the pan. 
  • You can use palm sugar or coconut sugar instead of palm jaggery.
  • Feel free to add your choice of nuts and dry fruits.
  • The recipe can be scaled to make less or more portions. 

Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)

Nutrition Facts
Payesh Recipe | Nolen Gurer Payesh
Amount Per Serving
Calories 302 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 31mg10%
Sodium 139mg6%
Potassium 463mg13%
Carbohydrates 43g14%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 28g31%
Protein 10g20%
Vitamin A 419IU8%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 0.2mg13%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.4mg24%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1mg5%
Vitamin B6 0.2mg10%
Vitamin B12 1µg17%
Vitamin C 0.2mg0%
Vitamin D 3µg20%
Vitamin E 0.2mg1%
Vitamin K 3µg3%
Calcium 325mg33%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 2µg1%
Iron 1mg6%
Magnesium 50mg13%
Phosphorus 308mg31%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This Nolen Gurer Payesh recipe from the archives was first published on April 2017. It has been updated and republished in March 2024.

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Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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