Some time last year, I was finally able to lay my hands on three beautiful blocks of Patali gur (also called Khejur gur or nolen gur in Bangla) from West Bengal. Even though Sroboshi no longer worked with us in the office in Delhi, she sent the promised gur, that had arrived with her parents from Kolkata, through a courier from Bombay where they had all moved to. It is always a busy time here and more often than not, I put such gifts into the refrigerator, where they
hide reside till their time. Only destiny decides when that might be. This one was languishing in the office refrigerator along with some dried shrimp that had been stored there all winter as well. Come summer, the refrigerator was required for mundane purposes, such as providing chilled drinking water, to all of us in the office. TH put his foot down, and I had to remove the offending package – the shrimps. With that I re-acquainted with the blocks of patali gur. They were in double packaging and looked as good as new. These were removed to the fridge in the kitchen downstairs.
Patali gur is an unrefined sugar made from the sap of the date palm. You might compare it to jaggery made from sugarcane, but it would be inappropriate. I am not about to take sides here; they are not as different as chalk and cheese, but I will say that they may not be substituted for each other, and that I love them both. Patali gur definitely has a more intense caramel-ly, smoky flavour than jaggery.