Poush Sankranti.....Makar Sankranti.... Poush Parbon.....!!the word is umbilically related to Bong people. Bengal is An Abode of Festival... An Abode of Enthusiasm ...AN Abode of Rich Tradition,Spirit and Culture.Colloquially it is said that Bengali Calendar of 12 months celebrate 13 festivals. Even the time when the first grain of the year is stocked up is celebrated in a gorgeous and honourable way .This is known as "Nabanno"( nabo= new, anno= rice) in Bengal. This is the actual significance of "Poush Sankranti" or the last day of the bengali month Poush.According to Hindu Philosophy this particular day is the beginning of the Sun's Northward Journey ,from Tropic of Capricorn to the Tropic of Cancer. This is also called "Uttarayan". According to science the journey starts on 22 nd Dec.
In my previous post ( Soft Sondesh with Date Palm Jaggery), I mentioned already that during this time , in Bengal date palm jaggery is widely available in every nook and corner of the state. So, very obviously this jaggery takes an important role in this celebration. Various traditional sweets basically made with rice, flour, milk and date palm jaggery or sugar are prepared in each and every house. These very traditional and famous sweets are known as "Pithe/Pitha" in bengali.
I was born and brought up in that part of Bengal where I got the opportunity to witness this celebration from my childhood.Though all those beautiful memories are archived in pages of history now but still I can remember those days very well. On that day, early morning after taking bath Maa made beautiful "Alpona" in front of our "thakur ghor" with rice paste and water. That was a holiday in our school and as my father was in Government Service it was his holiday too. So, after puja, we all used to enjoy our lunch with "Khichuri"(Khichdi/Hotch Potch). In the afternoon Maa prepared various "pithe" specially, dudh puli and patishapta as these were our most favourite . Me and my brother eagerly waited for the dinner . Yes, dinner that day would comprise only pithe.
Time changes. Now I am in one of the fast living cities where actually we don't get time or scope to spend Poush Parbon in a leisurely manner. On that day also, my husband stays in office and comes back home after 9 pm. Moreover in my seven years of married life I didn't dare to make "pithe" as I thought it was one of the toughest preparation . But this year, I decided to make atleast one type of "pithe" at home. Credit goes to my Maa only who described me each and every step in detail, through phone and I made "patishapta" for the first time. I should mention that it was not as good as Maa but for the first time in the last seven years I got the chance to celebrate this auspicious day in a traditional way.
One more thing I want to add here that this Poush Parbon or Makar Sankranti is not only celebrated in Bengal but also in almost all the regions of India. Actually the date of Makar Sankranti is regarded as the Official beginning of Spring in India.
Anyway, Here is the recipe and step by step process of making patishapta at home:
For the Filling:
- Grated Coconut: 2 Cups
- Date Palm Jaggery:1 Cup
- Cardamom Powder:1/2 tsp.
- Khoya ( Mawa):100 gm.
For the Crepe :
- Flour:1 Cup
- Rice:1/2 Cup
- Semolina:1/2 Cup
- Milk:11/2 lit.
- Oil or ghee for frying: 11/2 tbsp.
Sweet Coconut Filling:
- At first grate the coconut properly though I used stored bought dessicated coconut.Take a heavy bottomed vessel. Heat it and add the grated coconut into it.On medium flame keep stirring it. Once it becomes very slightly brownish add the jaggery. To make it quicker break the jaggery into small pieces before adding.
- Mix the jaggery with the grated coconut. It will take little time. But once the jaggery starts to melt it will mix with the coconut very easily.
- Keep on stirring on medium flame and be careful so that the mixture wont stick to the bottom of the pan.
- After few minutes the mixture will be little sticky. Now add the khoya/mawa into it and thoroughly mix . Once it is done switch off the flame and sprinkle the cardamom powder.
- Sweet coconut cardamom filling is now ready. Keep it separately in a bowl and let it cool for sometime.
- Mix the semolina and rice flour in adequate milk and soak it for 30 mins to one hour.
- Sift the maida into the soaked rice flour-semolina mixture .Mix in milk slowly and start mixing the batter with your hand so that no lump can be formed and it will help you to know the consistency of the batter. Dont make it too light or too thick.
- As we don't like sweet crepe at all so I didn't add any sugar or jaggery with the batter . If you like you may bring sweetness in it adding sugar or jaggery but remember that the batter should be of very mild sweetness.
- Now heat a flat pan ( preferably non stick one) in the oven. Add little ghee. Smear it . I used the top of a horizontally cut brinjal with the intact stalk. It will help to smear the ghee easily and the stalk acts as a handle. Otherwise you simply can wipe off the ghee with a tissue paper too.
- Pour a ladle of batter into the pan and rotate the pan to cover the surface of the whole pan with the batter. You have to do it quick before the mix sets.Keep the flame very minimum to medium to ensure the patishapta is crisp yet soft.
- Once you feel one side is done flip it over.
- Now put the filling lengthwise at one edge of the crepe.Fold the crepe with the filling inside and make a roll shape. Add a drop of more ghee into the pan and increase the flame slightly and press it gently and fry it little brown. Finally take it out of the pan.
- Repeat the same process for the remaining batter.
- Serve it hot or cold . Patishapta may be served with condensed milk or rabdi too.
Enjoy Your Food...!