Make a gur choice: Jaggery is the superfood of the season
In a country like ours where foods and seasons are intertwined, it is a blessing to be able to relish nature’s abundance. With the onset of winter, the one food that is in top demand is gur or jaggery. Obtained by boiling filtered sugarcane juice, gur is seen at almost every corner shop or local vendors who sell it on carts. Many of us have seen elders in our families ending their meals with some gur and ghee. So what is it about this little golden brown chunk of naturally-obtained sweet that everyone swears by?
“Jaggery is a good source of magnesium which acts a muscle relaxant, makes the nervous system more robust and helps bust fatigue. It helps stimulate the release of endorphins or ‘feel-good’ hormones in the body. Simply brew up a cup of warm tea with jaggery and drink it. Alternatively, a cup of warm water with jaggery can also help ease anxiety. It is an antidote to the ravages caused by pollution as it helps cleanse respiratory tracts,” says Kavita Devgan. She suggests making jaggery- turmeric ladoos with ghee and flax seeds. “You can also make sesame and jaggery panjiri with roasted and ground sesame seeds. Add cardamom powder, a pinch of black pepper and jaggery and grind some more. Store in an airtight container and eat a tablespoon every day. It works wonders for the bones and aids digestion,” she adds.
It wouldn’t be wrong to call jaggery a superfood and the perfect winter companion. In addition to its many cleansing and healing properties, it also helps prevent anaemia and detoxifies liver.
“Jaggery is loaded with antioxidants and acts as a cleanser and flushes out toxin from the liver. It helps boost immunity and fights flu and cough sensations,” says chef Nishant Choubey. There are many varieties of gur depending on which plant they are extracted from. “Apart from cane sugar, jaggery is made from palm juice, called nolen gur, and from the sap of coconut. Palm juice jaggery is much dense in texture than cane ones,” adds Choubey.
Here are some easy-to-make recipes that make the most of gur:
JAGGERY PUDDING BY CHEF DAYASHANKAR SHARMA
Soak 75g Basmati rice for an hour. Soak 40g almonds, remove skin and slice. Slice 40g pistachios. Soak 1 ½ tsp saffron in very little water. Beat 200g jaggery to make very small pieces. In a heavy bottomed pan, boil 1l whole milk. Keep stirring for 15 minutes then add soaked Basmati rice in it. Keep stirring and let boil rice cook properly. Now add soaked saffron, sliced almonds, pistachios, and check the consistency of the pudding. Let it cook for another 5 minutes and keep aside. Then add ½ tsp green cardamom powder and 20g chironji. Let it cool at room temperature. Boil water in a pan, add jaggery and let it boil till jaggery melts. Cool jaggery water to room temperature and add it to the pudding. Mix well and keep in fridge to cool. Garnish with slice almonds and pistachios.
GUR ICE CREAM AND GUR CRÈME BRULEE BY CHEF NISHANT CHOUBEY
For gur ice cream, make a syrup of jaggery by dissolving 150g jaggery in some water and cook till it reduces. Once it takes syrupy consistency, add 20ml condensed milk and a pinch of cinnamon powder. Blend well and freeze. For crème brulee, mix 6 egg yolks with remaining 50g jaggery, 30g castor sugar and 100ml heavy cream. Add few drops vanilla essence and fill the mixture in a lined container. Steam it in a steamer. Torch the crème brulee with some jaggery powder on top, scoop some ice cream and serve.
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