Patishapta pithe / Rice crepes with sweetened coconut filling :
I know I am little late in wishing everyone Happy Sankranti , but at times it becomes really difficult to squeeze out some extra time for blogging, and when it coincide with Holidays it becomes all the more difficult. It was a long weekend, here in US, and being new in NC, we went to scout the neighborhood, a short trip to State’s Farmers Market which reveals some new surprises, that I will blog about it later and explored some new flavors in southern cuisine, like chipotle flavoured chicken wings and baked sweet potatoes..loving it all the way !!! Yummm…
Back home in India, the festival of Makar sankranti starts with house cleaning, dip in cold / chilled water of Holy Ganges that too before sunrise (the mere thought of it sends shivers down the spine), many devotees flocked to the Sagar island for Gangasagar mela or fair and for the spiritual !!! people like us the three days of sankranti starts and ends with delicious foods, we call it pithe parbon that were being customarily prepared during this time. Yes, for us the food precedes every thing else, self-cleansing things can wait …may be forever…
For the western world , Sankranti can be coined as Indian Thanks giving day, the harvest festival specially for crops like rice, as we have more than one harvest season in our rich agriculturally varied country, so it is also the time to thank the Nature for a good harvest and bountiful of happiness that also ushers us in the new season – The Spring, also announces the official closure of Winter, henceforward the days will be longer and warmer as Sun transmigrates towards Tropic of cancer, leaving behind the Tropic of Capricorn.
For the agriculturally rich West Bengal, the winter is also the season when the market livens up with so many fresh greens and winter special small fishes that made their appearance during this time only, yes fishes are seasonal too !!! but the gastronomic Bengalees are on the lookout for something else – it is the gur / jaggery or molasses but not the ordinary one. Winter is the season when the long date palm tree’s oozes out sweet liquid or the sap that is being collected in small wooden country bowls, which is then cooked at a certain temperature to yield gur, also known as khejur gur or patali gur because of their shape or Nolen gur for which Bongs are simply mad after it. Remember the 1973 movie ” Saudagar”, it depicts the story that was weaved around this whole business of Gur/ patali gur.
So a freshly harvested dhan from which rice is husked out, and together with coconut the quintessential ingredient in making sweets laced with season’s fresh gur or jaggery brings forward an array of sweet dishes that Bongs loving called it as “Pithe -puli “, some are easier to master, and the more difficult ones simply lost in oblivion and some lost in translation too as it migrates from one region to another.
- Rice flour : ½ cup
- Milk : ½ cup + more if batter is too thick
- Sugar : 2 tbsp
- Ghee as required
- Coconut (freshly grated ) : 2½ cup
- Date palm jaggery / nolen gur (crumbled into pieces): 50 gm approximately
- Make a smooth, easy flowing batter with rice flour, sugar and milk. Keep it separated.
- Heat a nonstick pan and add the coconut in it. On a low flame, keep on stirring the coconut for few minutes and add the jaggery.
- Keep on stirring on low flame till the jaggery melts and incorporates well into the coconut.
- This may take up to 20 minutes till you get a little lumpy mixture.
- Leave the mixture to cool for few minutes.
- Heat a non-stick pan, and grease it with ghee.
- Pour a ladle of batter in the center of the pan. Swirl the pan slightly so that the batter thins out in a circular disc.
- Cook on a low flame until the bottom of the crepe turns golden.
- Using a spatula, flip it over and cook the other side for few seconds.
- Flip it back and add a spoonful of coconut filling in the center, fold it over from each side towards middle, overlapping one side.
- Set aside and make rest of the patishapta or crepes with remaining batter and filling.
- Do not forget to grease the pan with ghee in between crepes.
Enjoy and stay tuned until next post