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Patishapta Pitha

Today is Makar Sankranti, the day we celebrate the arrival of spring. It celebrates the oncoming harvest. Bengalis celebrate this day by preparing some special sweets known as “Pitha”. There are many types and I love all of them. My mom is an expert on these. I remember days of preparation in our home for the D-day. Most of the pithas had coconut as its main ingredient. My dad would buy lots of fresh coconuts and then he would grate them one by one. I loved to see him do this. He would break very small pieces and let me grate them too. I wish he were alive today and I could grate coconuts with me once more. He is the one person I miss most today.

Of all the pithas mom made, my favourite has always been Patishapta. It is a pancake with a coconut and kheer filling. It tastes awesome while served hot. But once refrigerated it is even better. I still remember a funny story mom loves to tell everyone about me and Patishaptas. I was around 5 years old and mom was on one of her Pitha-making marathons. Dad had grated around 10 coconuts and mom used at least 4 of them for Patishaptas alone because all of us loved them. She made a fresh batch of the filling and the smell was all around the home. She kept a potful of hot filling on the dining table under the fan to cool. She came back after half an hour and saw that I had devoured half of the pot by myself LOL. Mom was angry and amused at the same time. She actually prepared extra for that batch because she knew I would sneak in hehehehe.

Hope you like this recipe. There are multiple versions of this but here is the one I tried with mom 2 years back.

Patishapta Pitha - Sweet Pancakes with coconut filling
Patishapta Pitha - Sweet Pancakes with coconut filling

Ingredients

For the filling

  • Coconut - 1
  • Khowa - 200gm
  • Raisins - 50gm
  • Sugar - 1 cup
  • Small Cardamom - 6 (powdered)
  • Milk - as needed

For the pancake

  • Maida (Refined Wheat Flour) - 2 cup
  • Semolina (Sooji) - 1 cup
  • Rice Powder - 1 cup
  • Milk - 1-2 litres (or more depending on needs)
  • Sugar - 1 cup
  • Edible Soda - 1 pinch (you get it very less)
  • Oil (refined and clear oil) - as needed

Method

For the filling

Grate the coconut. Put all ingredients in a wok. Condense the mixture by constantly boiling and cooling. Keep stirring and let all ingredients mix together till it turns into a dough like mixture and the oil from the coconut goes out. Add more milk if Khowa is not available. You need to be patient as the time it will take to condense and get the dough mixture right will be a lot.

For the pancake

Pour milk on the semolina so that it is completely covered in it. Keep the mixture like this for half an hour.

In a container, add milk, maida, semolina and rice powder. Add water gradually (around 2 cups), add rest of the ingredients and stir for sometime to get a consistent thick mix.

Heat a non-stick pan. Brush the heated surface with oil (clear refined oil, do not use mustard or groundnut oil and sunflower oil is fine). Add drops of water on it and dry it gently with a soft cloth ball.

Add 1 ladle of the mix and spread it on the pan in a circular shape. Add 1 tablespoon filling in one side of the spread in a rectangular shape. Add oil on all 4 sides to give a soft fry. Roll the spread around the filling like a bread roll.

Keep frying and rolling it around every 5-10 seconds till the pancake turns brownish and you notice small holes on it.

Serve hot or refrigerate.

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