Kheermohan is a strange sweet. Now I understand, this is a slightly awkward adjective. But when I say that this sweet is not really available in shops, and only on-the-go, the probably the above statement makes some sense- probably. Somrabazar is a sleepy town in the Bandel Katwa railway line. And whenever someone gets on the trains there, they can not miss the railway hawkers shouting this name- “Kheermohan”. And this blogpost is on this particular item.
There are numerous trains in this Bandel Katwa line. But I visited this place, on our way back from Kalna. Now, obviously, Kalna means Makha Sandesh and we went to taste that. But Somrabazar came in between and we were taken to the house of Mr. Narottam Das at Somrabazar.
We’ve always heard about the fight between Odisha and Bengal about Rasogolla and that area named Pahala in Odisha. But personally I feel (correct me if I am wrong) the Rasogolla from Odisha is mostly a variant of Kheermohan. It’s richer in sweetness and heavy bodied, and even the colour is different. Kheermohan is primarily from Odisha. So, the story goes like, Sri Chaitanya, on his visit to Odisha, liked Kheermohan so much that he asked few of his devotee sweet makers to reproduce something like this. And those devotees were primarily from Santipur and Phulia region. And kheermohan was invented. It is said that even today, most of the sweet makers, making this very particular sweet, are originated from Odisha.
The difference between Kheermohan from Odisha and here is quite prominent. In Odisha, it’s served with sugar syrup, but here, it’s a drier version (squeezed off the sugar syrup). I won’t judge the taste, but personally, like them both
Now, if I try to explain Kheermohan, how do I do that? It’s somewhat like Rasogolla, but cooked for a much much longer period, at least till the colour becomes darker. Naturally, it’s sweetened heavily. And the tecxure is coarse, not smooth like Rasogolla. The main ingredient is chhena (cottage cheese) and sugar syrup- and no Kheer is used. Few of the champions put one nakuldana inside each kheermohan, but even that is becoming rarity, primarily due to cost cutting.
Kheermohan is mostly sold by hawkers in the Bandel Katwa railway route and I’ve rarely seen them in any sweetshops. And honestly, I don’t know the reason for the same
Challenge for Kheermohan makers
Now, as the local train movement is restricted, naturally the sales for this sweets is down. And slowly, it’s becoming extinct. I was taken to the home of Narottam Das, who is one of the pioneers of this sweetmakers. And he is not really in a very good shape himself. People like him, who used to sell this sweets in daily local trains, are retiring. And the next generation is not interested. I don’t personally know how long this heritage sweets will survive, but at least we can document this connection between Bengal and Odisha here.
And Sai Baba Dhaba, on the way back
And if you’ve gone to Somrabazar by your own vehicle, on the way back, there comes this nice Dhaba named Sai Baba Hotel. It’s a regular roadside hotel, serving piping hot fresh food. And somehow, is one of the busiest one in that stretch. Once you go there, do not look any further and ask for their mutton and Roti. The mutton curry is home-styled, not very spicy, but not really light either, and pairs great with their phulka. The rice quality doesn’t match my palate, hence Roti… I forgot the exact pricing, but 4 pieces cost me around 250/-. Do test it and let me know your feedback.
There is ample safe parking, so do not worry. Please check the location here on Google map.
Have you tasted kheermohan? How do you like it? Do let me know.
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