“Jaynagar er Moya” – Exploring the Specialty Through our Lens
Jaynagar Majilpur, popularly known as Jaynagar, is a city and a municipality of the South 24 Parganas district in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is situated in the southern suburbs of Kolkata. This place has become famous country-wide for a special sweet-dish made exclusively in Jaynagar – Moya. Jaynagarer Moa is a seasonal Bengali sweetmeat delicacy prepared from date palm jaggery (nolen gur) and Kanakchur khoi. This variety of Moa originated in Jaynagar. Nolen Gur is found during the winter months. and it is at this time that this special moya is made.
Team WeekendTrivia, after sitting at home stuck like everyone else because of corona, went out to explore this quaint little town, first time in months. And they captured , from scratch, how this moya is made. Here is a pictorial journey of our trip.
Jaynagarer Moa is made with Nolen Gur (jaggery made from date palm tree extract with exquisite taste and aroma), Kanakchur khoi (a form of popped rice made from a special variety of aromatic rice), Gawa ghee (a type of clarified butter made from cow’s milk), elach (cardamom), and posto (poppy seed). Both Nolen Gur and Kanakchur rice are winter products (available around November to January) and hence Jaynagarer Moa is available during this period only. The ordinary or common Moa is a small crispy ball made of puffed rice (“Muri” rather than “Khoi”) and jaggery
There are over 250 sweetmeat shops around Jaynagar, which produce Jaynagarer Moa with the original ingredients.
The popularity of the dish has led in recent years to sweetmeat makers all over West Bengal, particularly Kolkata, producing large quantities of Jaynagarer Moa using cheaper ingredients flavoured with chemical aromatics and marketing them as Jaynagarer Moa
Date palm jaggery is becoming harder to come by due to the decrease in the number of date palms in West Bengal and the shift of members of the Shiuli community, traditional producers of “Nolen Gur” from date palm juice, to other professions. Similarly, Kanakchur rice is a local variant which grows only in winter and through traditional fertiliser-free techniques only.
The other challenge is shelf life. It doesn’t usually last more than 4 days and loses some of its moist, chewy appeal if it’s put away in a refrigerator.
Joynagarer Moya won the coveted GI Tag award in 2015. It went through a stringent test and documentation process before finally wresting the crown from the GI food scientists from Chennai.
This moya is one of the pride amongst sweetmeats of West Bengal. It is true that because of commercialism cheap quality of materials is used nowadays which has greatly reduced the quality and taste of the sweet but still if you can obtain some moyas from the shops of Joynagar itself, you will find it well worth a trip there for its taste and authenticity.
Details of the Shop Featured here:
Name: Ma Kali Sweets(Khokan’s Moya)
Distance from Kolkata: 2 hr 30 min (53.2 km) via Eastern Metropolitan Bypass and Baruipur – Kulpi Rd/Kulpi Rd
Phone No: 8016772677 (Rajesh Das)
Moya and Gur are available at different price and size, starting with 10 pc for 150 to 200+. They were featured in newspapers like Anandabazar Patrika and TV shows like Mirakkel Zee Bangla. So their pedigree is high enough to pay a visit and taste the best. if you don’t live near Jayanagar and have been thinking if the long drive is worth it? then the answer is absolutely yes!