Chiruni Pithe or Jhinuk Pithe

8:29 PM


This year I had big plans for Poush Sankrani. So I made sure that I have my supply of freshly milled rice flour from Dhenki (a traditional wooden rice mill), Asked the house help to scrape all the coconuts the previous evening and got a huge batch of fresh, pure Notun gur (date palm jaggery). 
I even washed and sun dried my precious earthen pithe moulds, combs and picks for creating textures on the pithe. 

But things dint turn out the way I envisioned. Some emergency took place and we were busy in taking care of the situation and a houseful of guests.

Thankfully things got settled over the last few days and finally today it started to feel like a normal day again. Hopefully today, I can make a small batch of Dush puli for the family. While I do so here are some Chiruni Pithe that I made the day before Sankranti.

Chiruni is the Bengali word for comb. These pithes are shaped using a comb and hence the name. No, Maa never made this and I learnt it from a book and then from some youtube videos. This is a Bangladeshi specialty where sometimes they are deep fried and then dipped in thick sugar syrup or simmered in thickened milk. My kids love this crunchy crispy pithes and their shell like shape hence I try to make small batched of them all through winter for them.

Traditionally only rice flour is used to make it but I always make it with the mug pakon dough, where dry roasted yellow lentil is boiled and mashed with the rice flour. The resultant pithe is fragrant of roasted mung dal and very very crispy and tasty. Am writing down both the recipes here for you to try out. Also I have added one small video for you to understand the shaping correctly.

Make sure to buy two new combs, The thicker tooth ones, wash and sun dry it before use.

Chiruni Pitha
(Moong dal dough)

Ingredients:
Yellow lentil: 6 tbsp
Water: 12 tbsp
Rice flour: 12 tbsp
Green Cardamom: 1
Ghee: 1 tsp
Salt: a pinch
Plenty of patience

White Oil for deep frying

For the sugar syrup:
Sugar: 1 cup
Water: 3/4 cup

Method:
Dry roast the yellow lentil on low flame till its aromatic (approx. 8-10 minutes). Wash and pressure cook with the water, ghee and cardamom powder. Cook for 4-5 whistles on medium flame. Let the steam dissipate in itself and then whisk to make it smooth. The lentil should be of paste consistency by now. You can cook it in a pan and boil it for 1.5-2 hours to get to this stage.

While the water is still warm add the salt and the rice flour. Using a sturdy spatula start mixing it till you see no loose rice flour. Cover it tightly and let it cool down. Then knead it to get a smooth yet soft dough. If its very sticky add more flour.

Cover the dough with a damp cloth. Keep a small bowl of melted ghee or white oil nearby.

Oil your hands and the combs. Pinch out small portion of dough (Say half of a lime size) and roll it between your palms to make it smooth. Then shape it like a cone. Using the two combs shape it as shown in the video. The beautiful part is you can practice first with a small dough untill you get the hang of it. 

Follow the video for instruction and you would be good to go but make sure not to press it too much or it will break.

Keep the shaped pithe under cover or the surface will dry out. Finish shaping them.

Heat enough oil to fry them. Once the oil is hot put the flame on it's lowest and place one batch of pithe in the hot oil. It will take close to 15 minutes for them to fry to a golden crispy perfection. 

In the meantime you prepare the sugar syrup by mixing and heating the sugar and water. Once it starts to bubble switch off the flame. It will result into a very thick syrup and you might have to reheat if it starts to crystalise.

Once the pithes are fried take them out with a slotted spoon and cool them on some kitchen paper. Dip them in sugar syrup when they are at room temperature and place them on a greased plate. Once the syrup dries out save them in air tight container. 

It keep well for a couple of weeks.

Rice flour dough

Ingredients:
Rice flour: 1 cup
Water: 3/4 cup
Salt: 1/2 tsp

Method:
Bring the salt and water to a boil. Switch off the flame and add the rice flour to it. Mix and cover it till it cools down enough to handle.

Knead the dough to make a soft, non sticky mass.

Proceed to shape as mentioned in the above recipe.

A Homemaker's note:
different rice flour will absorb dofferent amount of water so I would suggest to start with less water to start with and always keep more rice flour handy to make the consistency right.

Make sure that you fry them on the lowest heat or you will end up with raw in the center pithes. That wont be crispy.

Also cooling them before dipping in sugar syrup is important for them to stay crisp for a long.

Enjoy!

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