Saturday, January 14, 2017

Rangalur bhaja puli..

rangalur puli pithe, poush parbon

Today I wish you all a happy Makar Sankranti. A harvesting festival, Makar Sankranti is also the oldest solstice festival, when Sun enters the zodiac sign Capricorn or Makar. So the name of this festival actually means the movement of Sun to Capricorn. During this time sun starts to move towards Northern hemisphere, making the days longer and warmer, marking end of winter and beginning of spring. From mid-December all the holy or auspicious activities are  prohibited among Hindus. Makar Sankranti also marks the beginning of auspicious activities. This particular festival is celebrated on a fixed date, 14th of January, and celebrated all around India majorly as a harvesting festival. Different parts of India celebrate this auspicious day under different names, Uttarayan, Lohri, Pongal, Poush Parbon etc.

In Bengal, Makar Sankranti also known as Poush Sankranti and is celebrated as Poush Parbon. Today is the last day of Bengali month Poush, people worship the goddess of wealth Lakshmi and mother Earth on this day. People in villages decorate their house with alpana, a special ritualistic design. A huge number of Hindu pilgrims gather at Gangasagar, where river Ganga meets Bay of Bengal. People believe if they have a dip in the river Ganga on this day, all their sins will be washed away. 

People from Bengal are known for their fondness for sweetmeats and would need just an occasion to make some. This Poush Parbon is no exception. Rather, this is also widely known as Pithe Parbon as several kind of traditional Pithe are made during this time. The main ingredient of Pithe is usually rice flour which of course coincides with new harvest. Pithe can be sweet or savory, steamed or fried. What makes the Bengali Pithe so unique is the use of date palm jaggery. Date palm jaggery is a special type of jaggery only available during winter. Almost every household of Bengal celebrate this auspicious occasion by preparing various kind of Pithe or pitha dishes with rice flour, lentils, milk, date palm jaggery, coconut etc. 

This year I have made a deep fried pithe called Rangalur Bhaja Puli. The Puli  is a stuffed dumpling with a unique shape with tapered ends.  Rangalur Bhaja Puli or Sweet potato dumplings  are stuffed with coconut jaggery filling, then deep fried and dipped in liquid jaggery. It sounds tricky but tastes heavenly.

rangalur puli pithe, poush parbon

freshly scraped coconut


rangalur puli pithe, poush parbon


rangalur puli pithe, poush parbon


rangalur puli pithe, poush parbon


rangalur puli pithe, poush parbon

Things needed to make Rangalur bhaja puli:

For the outer covering:
  • Sweet potato (boiled and mashed): 2 cups
  • Milk powder: 1 cup
  • Flour: 1/4 cup

For filling:
  • Freshly grated coconut: 1 cup
  • Date palm jaggery or sugar: 1/4 cup
  • Mawa (solidified milk): 1/4 cup
Syrup:
  • Date palm jaggery: 2 cup
  • Water: 1 cup
(sugar can be used to make the syrup, in that case use equal quantity of sugar and water)

Steps of making Rangalur bhaja puli:


1. Peel and wash the sweet potato. Boil the potato till fork tender. Drain the sweet potatoes and let them cool down.

2. In a heavy bottom pan, take the ingredients under the filling, mix them well and cook over low heat till the mixture release the sides of the pan. Keep aside and let the filling cool down.

3. In a bowl or plate take the boiled sweet potato, milk powder, flour and mix well till no lumps is felt.

4. Grease hand with ghee and make round shaped dough balls with the sweet potato mixture.

5. Make a dip at the center of the dough ball and put a spoonful of filling, gently close the dough and shape it into a puli, an elongated tapered end shape.

6. Heat oil in a deep pan, when hot fry the sweet potato dumplings, 3-4 at a time till brown in color.

7. While the dumplings are getting fried, in a sauce pan take jaggery and water to make the syrup. Sugar can be also used to make the syrup.

8. Dip the fried dumplings into the hot syrup. Dip them for 1-2 hrs, take out and store in an air tight container. While serving drizzle jaggery syrup over the dumplings.

rangalur puli pithe, poush parbon

This post is going to the Sankranti event conducted by Kolkata Food bloggers.


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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Chicken kofta curry...

Chicken kofta curry

I prefer a spicy and hearty curry for winter dinners. A curry to wipe off with a piece of roti or naan. Last night I was indecisive about what to make for dinner. Jr. S was asking for a chicken curry, where as Sr. S made a face and sighed 'why that same chicken curry?' So keeping balance between both I opted for a chicken kofta curry with a special twist to the gravy. And to my joy both of them loved it and gave a big thumbs up to curry.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Kumro phool bhaja..


It's great to receive a bunch of bright yellow flowers as a surprise, but being a foodie it's feels equally good when you see your favorite edible bunch of flower as a surprise gift. Last weekend when S, smilingly handed me these vibrant yellow bunch I was overjoyed. I couldn't resist myself and took pictures of them. They made my winter Sunday morning extra special.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas fruit cake..


Every festivity brings a wonderful feeling of merriment, joy and happiness and above all a feeling of togetherness which is beyond any religious faith and belief. Christmas is no exception. Everything feels so special during this time.  The little one writing a list for Santa without showing it to me and I'm trying my best to sneak around to know what's in the list. Decorating the Christmas tree, buying new decorations are so much fun.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Homemade Sprinkles...



Making something at home instead of buying it from store gives me immense satisfaction. It may sound pointless to many, why do I need to make something which is easily available at stores. But the creative satisfaction that I derive motivates me to take that challenge. This time I made colorful sprinkles, that we use to decorate cakes, cupcakes and cookies. During this festive season, when baking is almost a daily activity, sprinkles are a common requisite. So I thought to make some myself. And thankfully got some wonderful ideas. I tried and adjusted the recipes to suit me. The little one is the house was super excited and volunteered to be my hand model, all she asked for was to lick the bowl of the chocolate. 

Friday, December 16, 2016

Coffee cake with coffee glaze..


Christmas and the holiday season brings joy and happiness. The crisp chill in the air adds to the feeling. Shops are now stocked with cakes & Christmas decorations. Streets are getting decked up with lights. It's great to see how we all overcome the barrier of religion to celebrate every single occasion in Kolkata. The parks, zoo, museum and gardens in and around the city gets the highest foot fall during this time. The most common sight during this season is of course the picnickers enjoying the winter sun and food with friends and family.  As we celebrate Christmas, we also celebrate winter in Kolkata. People of Kolkata enjoy relief from the hot and humid weather during this brief period of 2 months.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Honey n oats whole wheat bread


If you are regular to my blog you know how much I enjoy baking, specially breads. Proofing, mixing, rising, baking, the entire process makes me feel relaxed. This time I baked a whole wheat bread. You may have heard baking a whole wheat bread is tougher than a baking white flour bread. What's so different about whole wheat flour and white flour. The answer lies in a single word 'gluten', to understand the flour one should understand what gluten is.