No Bengali kitchen is complete without a bottle of Jharna Ghee. I was sharing with S, anecdotes of my encounter with this favourite brand of ghee (clarified butter) that adorns my kitchen and comes of use when you want to make an aromatic and creamy mashed vegetable. One of my summer favourites is to boil potato, parwal, pumpkin, mash it and add finely chopped green chillies and a dash of salt. Drizzle ghee and have it with hot piping rice. Another way of relishing Jharna Ghee is to enjoy it with Gobindobhog Rice (a variety of short grained and aromatic rice found in Bengal) with mashed potatoes and a boiled egg. Jharna Ghee continues to be my comfort food till date.
What is Jharna Ghee? Jharna is a popular brand of gawa ghee ( cow milk based ghee). For an interesting discussion on ghee read the following thread http://www.gourmetindia.com/topic/342-ghee/page-3. It is an integral component of Bengali cuisine as no Moong Dal would be complete without a drizzle of Jharna Ghee or no Niramish tarkari (vegetable curry) would taste good without a fresh dose of ground garam masala and a dash of Jharna Ghee. Jharna Ghee is also used in restaurants catering Bengali food. For instance, one of the articles on Bengali Restaurants outside Kolkata mentions along with fish even Jharna Ghee is sourced from Kolkata.1
Jharna Ghee is a product from Sundarban Dairy and Farm Works, Kolkata and probably several decades old. Though several articles recollect their associations with this favourite brand, I have not come across any article on the producers of Jharna Ghee or Sundarban Dairy and Farm Works. As I polish the last helping of Khichdi (with a generous helping of Jharna ghee), I feel a cosmic connection with B who braved the Mumbai traffic, pending work schedules to reach home early to enjoy her comfort dinner of piping hot rice, Jharna Ghee, salt and green Chilly or the frantic call of the mother to buy a bottle of Jharna Ghee as a remedial measure to her son’s weight loss. Such is the magic charm of Jharna Ghee 🙂
Notes and References
1Bagchi, S. “Bengal on the Menu”. The Telegraph. 8 October 2005. http://www.telegraphindia.com/1051008/asp/weekend/story_5315005.asp