Taal is the Bangla name for the toddy palm fruit. Ripe fruits appear in the market in the middle of August and stay on for just over a month. It is a fibrous fruit with a golden-yellow, sweet, fragrant pulp. The pulp is turned into all kinds of sweets in Bengal—fried sweet-savoury fritters (phuluri), taal-flavoured rice puddings, and various other stuffed sweetmeats.
Taal kheer is a pudding made with taal pulp, reduced milk and fresh coconut. It can be eaten on its own or with taaler luchi.
The taal tree is an important part of Bengal's natural landscape. It is a giant among giants—being the tallest tree in Bengal's flora of tall palms such as the coconut, date and betel palms. The tree is loved so much that it has had poems written for it by both of Bengal's greatest poets—Rabindranath and Nazrul. The love endures to this day.
- 300 g taal (palmyra) pulp
- 75 g sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 40 g grated coconut
- 100 g reduced milk (obtained from 250 g whole milk)
- Extract the taal pulp as shown in the video.
- In a saucepan, set 250 g whole milk to boil. Reduce it down to approximately 40% its original volume.
- Meanwhile, in a second saucepan, add the taal pulp along with sugar and salt.
- Cook it on low heat until it thickens slightly (10 mins).
- Add grated coconut and continue cooking (5 mins).
- Once the milk has reduced, add it to the pulp.
- Continue cooking until you reach the desired consistency (remember that the kheer will thicken as it cools, so take it off the heat when it's slightly thinner than what you are aiming for).