Come winter, almost all the sweetshops of Kolkata, especially, gets flooded with the ‘Joynagarer Moa.’ Well, a few of us are closely acquainted with the production timeline and taste of the original ‘Joynagarer Moa,’ therefore, doubt the authenticity of those flooding ones.
However, the ‘Narkel Sondesh’ is something Kolkata and other parts of Bengal still do not know much about. Made exclusively in Dakshin Barasat, a suburb in South 24 Parganas, this dessert is an exquisite example of the local sweet makers’ efficiency.
Related Post: Sweetmeats of Bengal: Part 1
Joynagar’s ‘Moa’ making season starts from December and continues till the availability of the two primary resources, – Kanakchur Paddy and Nolen Gur (Newly extracted date palm).
The Kanakchur Paddy is used to make Khoi (a type of softer puffed rice). This special Kanakchur Khoi has an amazing aroma. The Kanakchur Khoi is mixed proportionately with the Nolen Gur, crushed Cardamom and Powdered Khoya upon the low flame of an Unun (clay oven) till the desired consistency comes. Posto or Poppy Seeds are also used in the mixture. Before the Nolen Gur is set to heat, the wok is sufficiently greased with pure cow ghee (clarified butter). (Give the ghee link here)
Next, round Moas are shaped with hands and rolled over Pistachio and Cashew Powder finished with raisins on top. The sweet makers take strict care to ensure that the Moa remains soft yet does not leave its definite shape. The Joynagarer Moa got its GI tag in 2015.
As reported by the local residents, the best and authentic Joynagarer Moa is available at the famous shop, Sree Ramkrishna Mistanna Bhander of Joynagar.
Address: Ramkrishna Mishtanna Bhandar, Bangshidharpur, West Bengal – 743395
Not sure if you can call the technique of making a perfect Narkel Sondesh harder than rocket science, this particular dessert is made with locally abundant coconuts (Narkel Naru link) and Nolen Gur. The proportion of desiccated coconut and Nolen Gur used for making Narkel Sondesh is one of the best-kept secrets here.
With each bite, you would feel the harmonious sweetness of coconut and jaggery melting in your mouth. Unless you taste the Narkel Sondesh in person, you won’t understand how optimal use of jaggery and coconut can leave a heavenly taste on your palate. The Narkel Sondesh is also commonly called as ‘Narkel Patali.’
Not far from Joynagar, the best Narkel Sondesh is available in Loknath Mishtanna Bhander, near Dakshin Barasat Railway Station.
Address: Lokenath Misthanna Bhandar, Station Road, Dakshin Barasat, West Bengal – 743372
Present Challenges faced by the makers of Joynagarer Moa and Narkel Sondesh:
- The ‘Shiuli’ community, who are expert in tapping the newly formed date palm juice, has been getting employed in other vocations because the tapping work is a seasonal work that hardly meets up their monetary needs.
- The lack of the availability of Natural Nolen Gur due to the reduction in Date Palm trees has given away to chemical Nolen Gur essence. This Nolen Gur essence is being used by the Kolkata sweetmakers to up the supply of ‘Joynagarer Moa’ to the sweet lovers of Bengal.
- Kanakchur Paddy is a seasonal crop that grows only during winter. The yield of the same has decreased due to a decrease in farmlands.
Related Post: Sweetmeats of Bengal: Part 2
Amidst all these challenges, the sweet makers still continue making these delectable desserts and these sweets reach the homes of Bengali sweet lovers every winter.
An Important Note: Amidst the current Covid-19 Pandemic situation, you can taste the above sweets at the comfort and safety of your homes by placing order at https://www.joynagar.com/.