Winter brings festivities, and with festivities comes food. Our commitment to bring the flavors of season continues. With Makar Sankranti round the corner what is better than pitha recipes by Chef Sandeep Das with added sweetener of words by Somashis Gupta
He would even fight for the last piece of Patishapta with Moushimi didi I remember. Such was Sid’s love for these deceptively simple looking desserts. I often suspect that if there is anything in this world that Annu his wife felt jealous of, it must be the Pithas. So when he called, for a story this season, what better could it be besides pithas.
I am probably one of the few lesser mortals who are not much interested in sweets in spite of being a Bong. But as Kobiguru rightly said “শীতের হাওয়ায় লাগল নাছন…” the winter air brings with it the smell of nolen gur, which pushes and pulls me to a situation when goal of sticking to a dessert-free eating plan gets outdone by my sweet tooth; yes, the sweets always triumph.
I remember as a child I asked Monidida (my grandmother) “What is mokor shongkranti?” Making her pithas she replied “It is the time when Sujji Mama enters the Mokor Rashi” (Sun is the universal Mama meaning uncle in Bengali and Mokor means spider). I went out looked for cob webs in the sky. Found none. Went back to concentrate on the food in making.
Long days have passed since then, but this season remains a season of mouth watering age old recipes called pithas. Talking about recipes, why not share a few, and who could give recipes better than my young friend Sandeep. Do you all remember Sandeep? Sandeep Das the young chef whose recipe of Malai Rice Borodiner cake, I shared last month? Yes that Sandeep. I already spoke to him for you all and this is what he shared…
sooji (suji or semolina) : 250 grams
white flour (maida) : 400 grams
sugar : 200 grams
kheer (khoya) : 300 grams
cooking oil : 3 tablespoon
milk : 1 liter
- In a sauce pan, set the milk to boil. Keep boiling the milk, while stirring it continuously. Add Khoya along with 50 grams of sugar to the milk to turn it into a semi liquid state. Note – If khoya is not available then add more milk. It will take a lot of time to change to a semi-liquid state. Once done, keep it aside to cool down. During this entire time, the sauce pan should be on medium to low heat
- Add water (about 2 -2½ cups) gradually in maida and suji to make a thick mix. Add 200 grams of sugar to it and mix it properly. Cover it and set it aside for 2 hours
- Heat the non stick pan and coat the surface of the pan with a little oil.
- Pour the suji-maida mix (about 5 table spoon) on the hot pan and spread the mix on the pan till it takes the shape of a round crêpe.
- Pour about 1 tablespoon of the semi liquid kheer to the crêpe.
- Fold the crêpe into a roll, with the help of a spatula. Keep the roll on the pan and flip sides every 5-10 secs till it turns little brownish. And your Pati Shapta is done
Transfer the patishapta from the pan to a plate and proceed making the rest. Enjoy
INGREDIENTS (for 4 serves)
Banana ( chinichompa kola) : 4nos
Rice flour : 3/4 cup
Jaggery : 10 gm
Apple : 1
Cardamom powder : 1/2 tsp
Saffron : pinch
Salt : 1/2 tsp
Condense milk : 100 ml
Milk : 200 ml
Raisin : 5 gm
Almond : 5 gm
Ghee : 1tbsp
Refined oil for deep fry
- Mash the bananas and add salt and rice flour and make it a soft dough.
- In a pan, add ghee and melt it. To it add chopped apple and grated jiggery and mix well. Then add cardamom powder and sauté it for 2 -3 minutes and cool it down.
- In a pan, add milk and warm it till it reduces to half.
- Divide the dough into small balls now put the apple mixture into each balls. Keep aside.
- Heat oil in a frying pan fry the balls one by one in medium oil.
- In a pan, boil the milk in medium flame. Add condensed milk to it and mix well. Simmer it for 5 – 8 minutes and add saffron into it.
- Add the fried banana fitters into milk, simmer it for 5 minutes in low flame till the milk become a bit thick.
- Sauté chopped almond and raisin in a pan for 1 minutes.
- Pour the pitha in a serving bowl garnish with fry almond and raisin
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Sandeep is a food enthusiast. His passion for cooking encouraged him to become a chef. A graduate from IHM, Guwahati, Sandeep is a winner of numerous cooking competitions and founder of foodlovers332 page on Facebook and Instagram and a Food columnist on different newspaper- magazines.