It’s that time of the year when every house in Bengal and few other parts of India celebrates the Makar Sankranti festival. The forms and styles of this festival will be different though in different parts in India. But everywhere it’s the same harvest festival that signifies the beginning of the spring season. Though the new generation of Bengal slowly forgetting about this festival, in some places like Tamil Nadu, Pongal (local name of Makar Sankranti) is still one of the major festivals.
The best part of this festival is “Pithe” making. That’s why it’s other name is Pithey Parbon. In terms of taste, it’s a traditional sweet made with rice flour, coconut, milk and jaggery in Bengali household. I can still remember when all the skilled ladies of our home gather in the kitchen to prepare Pithe, Patishapta, Dudh Puli. They used to divide the different tasks among themselves like kneading the rice dough, scraping the coconut, making the filling and then preparing several varieties of pithes.
Pithe has a lot of versions and each family used to make 3 to 4 versions of their favorites pithes during this time. Making pithes at home is a lengthy and elaborate affair. Since traditional joint families are very few nowadays and new generation working women don't have this much time to spare, sweet shops around the city have taken up the responsibility to keep the traditions alive and our taste-buds delighted.
Over the years I have learned a few pithe recipes from my family. Last couple of years I didn't make any pithe, but I craved for pithe this time so much that I decided to make patisapta after a long time. Today I will share the recipe of Patisapta, rice flour crepes filled with stuffing of coconut & khoya. This is one of the popular and favorites to any pithe -lovers. I will use the simplest way of making Patisapta. Hope you would like it.
All purpose flour ( Moida ) : 2 cups
Sooji ( semolina ) : 1 cup
Sugar : 3 to 4 tablespoons
Milk : 3 cups ( approximately )
Oil or Ghee : 2-3 tablespoons
Shredded Coconut : 2 cups
Khoya / Milk solids : 1 cup
Sugar : 1 cup or to taste
Crushed green Cardamoms : 1/2 teaspoon
Whole milk : 1/2 liter
Sweetened Condensed Milk : 1/2 can
First Step : Make the Malai
1. Take the whole milk in a pan and boil it over low flame until the quantity reduce to one third.
2. Add the condensed milk to the thickened milk and mix it well. Turn off the heat and set it aside.
Second Step : Make the coconut filling
1. In an another pan, add grated coconut and sugar and let it cook over medium heat for around 5 minutes.
2. Add the milk solids and stir to mix it nicely. Add the crushed cardamom and mix it again. Filling is ready. Keep it aside.
Final Step : Make the Patishapta
1. Soak the semolina in the milk and set aside for half an hour.
2. Once semolina is soft and mushy add all purpose flour and sugar. Mix it nicely until incorporated. The consistency of the mixture should be thin. You can add more milk or more flour to get the right consistency.
3. Take a non-stick pan, heat it up, grease it with a little bit of oil or using non-stick cooking spray. Lower the flame and pour a thin layer of the mixture on it (approximately 1/4 cup). Spread it quickly with the ladle and now keep the flame medium high. Once the crêpe is set, put the filling lengthwise at the center of it and fold it from both sides.
4. Put one teaspoon oil or ghee by the side and cook it until both side get light brown color.
5. Transfer it on the serving plate, pour some malai over it just before serving. Serve hot or cold. Serving with malai is completely optional, it is delicious both way, with or without malai.