Makar Sankranti is one of the major harvest festival celebrated in various parts of India. Rice being a staple food for majority of us Indians, the rice harvesting season is very important, and is a time for celebration. In India, this festival has many names like Makar Shankranti, Bihu, Maghi, Pongal etc depending on the region where it is celebrated.
In West Bengal, Sankranti, also known as Poush Sankranti named after the Bengali month 'Poush' in which it falls, is celebrated as a harvest festival Poush Parbon( on 14 January on the English calendar). Poush sankranti is special as during this time every Bengali household would prepare special sweets called 'Pithe' made from rice and date palm jaggery(khejur gur).
There are various types of Pithe, some are steamed and some are fried. Pithe,can be both sweet or savory. And some need special earthenware to prepare them. The major ingredients are always rice flour, coconut, milk, date palm jaggery.
I have grown up seeing my mother and aunts preparing for this auspicious day. It used to start with cleaning and drying the rice and sending the rice to the grinder to make the rice flour. My father used to buy the best possible date palm jaggery from the market. I still recall the aroma of those earthen pot filled with liquid jaggery.
|Jaggery in earthen pot|
Patisapta is very popular and loved by all. Patisapta has a crepe like covering stuffed with a sweet stuffing of coconut, jaggery and solidified milk.
Thinks needed to make Patisapta:
For the crepe:
- Milk: 2 cups
- Semolina/Suji: 3/4 cup
- All purpose flour: 1 cup
- Rice flour: 1/4 cup
- Sugar/Date palm jaggery: 2-3 tbsp
For the stuffing:
- Mawa/solidified milk: 1 cup
- Coconut(grated): 3/4 cup
- Date palm jaggery/sugar: 1/2 cup-3/4 cup
- Milk: 4-5 tbsp
- Ghee: To fry
- Dry fruits: To garnish
Steps of making Patisapta:
1. Mix all the ingredients for the crepe and whisk well to mix the flour properly. Cover and keep aside. I generally eye ball the ingredients, here I tried my best to give a measurement, the batter would be like a dosa-batter. Use lukewarm milk to make the batter for better result. I can share a tip from my mother, if the batter tend to stick to the pan while cooking, add more flour to the batter.
2. For the stuffing, take a pan and add grated mawa and coconut and cook over low-medium heat. Add milk gradually. As the mawa melts add date palm jaggery. The amount of jaggery depends on how sweet you want the stuffing to be. If you do not get date palm jaggery, then use sugar. Cook till all the ingredients are well blended and becomes almost dry. But it should not be very dry. If you take some of the stuffing you will be able to make balls but it will be sticky. Keep the stuffing warm.
3. Take a flat pan (better a non stick pan), brush the pan with ghee.I remember my mother used to use the head of an eggplant to spread the ghee on the cast iron tawa, while making the crepes for patisapta. Keep the pan over low medium heat and put ladle full of batter on the pan. Rotate the pan to spread the batter. Cook over medium heat for 2-3 min. Take a teaspoon of ghee and put around the crepe. The edges will start to come off the pan. Put some stuffing on one side of the crepe and start roll the crepe. Brush ghee on the crepe and fry. Some like the patisapta to be white, in that case do not fry too much and keep the heat to low while cooking. But I love the brown color so I cook till it turns nice brown.
4. You can make some kheer/reduced milk and serve the parisapta with the kheer. To make kheer, take evaporated milk in a non stick pan and keep cooking over medium flame. Keep stirring till desired thickness. Add sugar as per taste. Arrange the patisapta on the serving plate, topped with kheer and dry fruits.
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