Pithe and Patishapta: Winter Celebratory Sweets in Bengal during Poush Sankranti

Reading Time: 4 minutes

With Poush Sankranti around the corner, Susmita tells us about Pithe and Patishapta, the celebratory sweets in Bengali homes, all over the world. Read more in the weekly column, exclusively in Different Truths.

After every meal, dessert is much looked forward dish. Bengalis are renowned for making and eating more sweet dishes than most of the other cultures in India.

We tend to have a sweet for every occasion, birth, birthdays, weddings, funerals, seasons and crops. In short, we need a to enjoy something sweet. Life is all about being happy.

During mid-January, Poush month of the Bengali calendar ends. That day is called the Poush Sankranti. Considered to be a holy day so it is celebrated by most Hindus in India. As it is a celebration of new harvest, foods which have in it becomes the center point. Bengalis go a step ahead and make special sweet dishes as the Pithe and Patishapta. This ritual is very prevalent in the Bangladeshi too.

Some Bengali homes have  (Lakshmi ) on that day. The pot of (rice with husk, dhaan) used as the base for Ma Lokhi is during this puja. A way of thanking the goddess of opulence for keeping the family fed and content. My family at ancestral home do the puja and make Puli Pithe Payesh and Patishapta.

Patishapta is a sweet crepe wrapping a core of either sweetened with jaggery or sweet khoya. It can be served both warm and cold. My favorite is to drizzle the whole package with liquid jaggery and make every bite count.

I would like to share the recipe of Patishapta with all of you, so you can have a taste of sweet from my hearth.

Patishapta

Cuisine:                                                                                       Type: Dessert

Serves: 10                                                                       Prep and Cook Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

For the stuffing:

Grated coconut 3 cups           

Jaggery 1cup

Sugar 1cup

Ghee for frying

Raisins a handful (optional)

Chopped almonds a handful (optional)

Condensed Milk or thick mixed sweet khoya ½ cup

For the Crepe

Flour 1 ½ cups

Semolina 4 cups

Rice Flour ½ cup

Milk about 3 cups (depends on the consistency of the batter)

Confectionary Sugar ½ cup or according to taste

Ghee for frying

Cardamom powder ½ tsp

Method

For the Stuffing

Break the jaggery into small bits and mix it with the coconut. Heat ghee in a nonstick pan and add the mixture, keep stirring.

Add the sugar and the dry fruits when the grated coconuts start to stick to each other.

If you are not adding jaggery double the amount of sugar and add the khoya to make it a kheer based stuffing.

Alternative stuffing of only thickened kheer or sweetened khoya can be used. Dry fruits are optional.

Once the coconut mix is sticky enough, remove from heat and keep aside.

For the Crepe

Mix the semolina (fine), rice flour and flour with milk, sugar and cardamom powder. Add milk gradually until it becomes a smooth batter with no lumps.

Smear ghee on a fry pan or tawa and let it heat up, reduce the heat a tad and pour a ladle full of the batter on the center of the pan.

With the back side of the ladle spread the batter out into an ovular shape.

Try to keep it as thin as possible.

Once little bubble forms and burst out place some of the coconut/khoya stuffing on one side of the elongated crepe.

Roll the crepe and wrap the filling.

Press lightly on it to get the filling and the crepe tightly packed and place it on a dish.

Patishapta is served both warm and cooled. It can be served dry, or a drizzle of liquid jaggery or liquid condensed milk.

Hoping that this Bengali sweet will give you reasons to smile this winter.

©Susmita Bhattacharya

Photos by Anumita Chatterjee Roy

#Patishapta #BengaliCuisine #Dessert #Jaggery #SweetDish #WinterFood #IndianFood #FridayFoodie #DifferentTruths

Susmita, a commerce graduate from Bombay University, is trained in HR management. She is an entrepreneur and fashions designer sarees. Susmita practices Reki and yoga. She dabbles with fusion styles and experiments with clothes and accessories. Her interests range from culinary skills to various dance forms, from meditation to exercise. She stays in Dubai with her husband and two sons.