Poush Parbon er Pithe: Nalen gurer Patishapta

11:27 AM

It is a well-known fact that we Bengalis are crazy for our mishti or sweets. Not only we love to eat sweets but we love to make sweets too and one such kind of festival when we crave for homemade sweets is called Poush sankranti. Poush sankranti or Poush parbon is observed on the auspicious day of Makara sankranti or the last day of Bengali month Poush. Not only in Bengal but all over India this day is regarded as a very special day and various traditions are followed. Like in south India they celebrate Pongal, in Punjab it is celebrated as Lohri, in Bengal people gather at the holy place of Gangasagar where the river Ganges meets the Bay of Bengal to take a dip in the morning. It is believed that by doing so one can get rid of all sins.

In all Bengali households, this time is also celebrated as the winter harvesting festival. The day starts with the eldest son of the house going to the field and bringing home the first portion of the harvest. The whole house is decorated with Alpona or designs made with rice paste on floors and walls. In our family the girls side sends sheeter tatto (winter offering of gifts) to the in-laws place which comprises of winter fruits, all the ingredients of pithe, winter delicacies like Jaynagarer moa (a sweet made with jaggery, thickened milk and khoi, which is a version of puffed rice), sweets made with new jaggery like nolen gurer rosogolla, sandesh etc. But the best part starts in the evening when all the ladies of the house gathers to prepare Pithe or varieties of sweets made with rice flour, coconut, milk and jaggery. 

As this festival falls in the month of winter the goodies are mostly prepared with notun gur or date palm jaggery. The most popular pithes are like Dudh puli (which is rice flour dumplings with coconut filling and boiled in thickened milk with jaggery), Patishapta (rice flour crepes filled with coconut and milk solids), Gokul pithe (fried flour and semolina dumpling with coconut stuffing and boiled in sugar syrup), Aske pithe (steamed rice flour and coconut mixture with jaggery) etc. In Bengali tradition, the first pithe is always offered to Agni Dev or the fire God.

In my side of family we are very fond of food and cooking and we never miss poush parbon, which is almost like a family ritual to gather on the table to knead the rice dough, scrape the coconut, make the filling and then to prepare the pithe. Almost everyone in our family takes part in the preparation of pithe and it turns out to be a perfect evening of family gathering.
I love eating and making Pithe but at my in laws side, they don’t enjoy this festival even Hubby A is not very fond of these sweet offering L. Last year I did not make any and had my dose of these sweet at my mother’s place. But this year Maa has send the sheeter tatto with which I made my favorite Dudhpuli and Patishapta and enjoyed with some friends.
Nalen Gurer Patishapta
(Rice Flour, semolina and jaggery Crepes with coconut and milk solids filling)

Originally patishapta is made with rice paste, but that is quite time-consuming process so in most urban Bengali households we make patishapta with semolina and rice flour.

For the crepes:

Rice flour: 13/4 cups
Semolina: 6 tbsp
All purpose flour: 1/2 cup
Salt: 1/3 tsp
Nolen gur: 1/2 cup if solid mixed to 1/2 cup water to get a liquid form OR

                3/4 cup if you are using the liquid jaggery.
Water to make it a semi-thick consistency

For the filling:

Grated coconut: 2 cups
Sugar: 3/4 cup
Khoya or milk solids: 1/2 cup
Ground cardamom: 2

For the Kheer: (optional)Full cream milk: 500 ml

Condensed milk: 1/2 a can
Date palm jaggery: 2 tbsp
Green cardamom powder: 1

It has three steps: 1. To prepare the filling
2. To prepare the kheer (the thickened milk) or the sugar/ jaggery syrup in which the crepes are soaked.
3. To fry the crepes and prepare it with filling.

Mix all the dry ingredients under crepes (semolina, salt, rice and all purpose flour.). Add lukewarm water and the jaggery to get a semi-thick consistency. Add water gradually to get to your desired consistency. Keep it aside for 30 minutes. Once you are ready to prepare the crepes check the consistency. Genrally it gets thickened as the flours will absorb the water. Add more water to get it right.

In the meantime make the stuffing. For that put the grated coconut and sugar in a heavy bottomed pan and cook till the water evaporates and the mix comes together. Then add the milk solids and cook till the mixture leaves the side of the pan. Flavor it with the cardamom powder and mix well. Let it cool.

In another pan boil the full cream milk with condensed milk till the quantity reduces to half. Cook for another 4-5 minutes and then switch off the flame. Once it cools down a bit add the jaggery and the cardamom powder. mix and let it cool down. It will thicken a bit further. 

Now go back to the crepe mixture,  It should easily flow and coat the pan once it’s poured in the pan. 
For preparing the crepes grease your non stick pan and heat on medium. pour a ladleful of crepe mixture. Spread it quickly to cover the pan. Put a lid and keep it covered for a minute. Check if the crepes are set. Cook on medium till the top surface of the crepes look dry. Turn over and cook for 10 seconds and invert the crepe in a plate. Now spread the filling over the length of the crepe and fold from both sides. Take it out and spread some kheer over it.Serve hot or cold, both ways it tastes great.

A Homemaker's Notes:
I use store bought packaged rice flour for this and it works just fine. If you get rice flour prepared by soaking and pounding in dhenki please use that.

2. You can also serve it with liquid date palm jaggery or Notun gur.

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  1. Ami patishapta post korlam ... tomar ta link korte eshe dekhlam eto shundor post e ektao comment neyi?!
    Jaak ... khub shundor post ar lekha and darun dekhte pithe gulo. :-)

  2. Thanks Sharmila. eta authentic recipe nay...but shortcut way to sooth those nostalgic cravings.

  3. Very lovely write up Sayantani...


  5. You know today mom made Aske Pithe for the first time. Just tasted. And googled it for curiosity. And your post came first. Nice blog you are running. I'll visit back I guess.


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