Sankranti means transmigration of Sun from one zodiac sign to the other. Due to the geography and size of India, this festival is celebrated for innumerable reasons depending on the climate, agricultural environment, cultural background and location. In West Bengal, Sankranti, also known as Poush Sankranti after the Bengali month in which it falls, is celebrated as a harvest festival Poush Parbon. The freshly harvested paddy along with the date palm syrup in form of jaggery is used in the preparation of a variety of traditional Bengali sweets.
One such sweet is the famous Pithe. After many years all the members of my family were together on Sankranti and it was decided to make pithes to celebrate the day. [My interests were solely getting a new thing to blog about and to eat 😀 :D]
Pithes are of various types: Ranga alur pithe (made of sweet potato), chandrapulli,puli pithe (made of coconut), gokul pithe and patishapta (sort of pancakes). The recipe I am going to describe is a stuffed kind of pithe, Puli Pithe. Puli basically signifies the shape of the sweet.
Rice flour (made from a 1:1 mixture of par boiled rice and the regular Indian rice)
Jaggery made of date palm
# Making the shell
1. Knead the flour into tight and smooth but not very soft dough using hot water (as rice flour is very sticky).
2. Make small balls from the dough and spread each ball with fingers into a small shallow bowl shape.
Here is a video guide for the same.
# Making the filling – we made two types of pithes – one with kheer (kind of condensed milk) filling and one with coconut filling.
1. Boil milk while stirring continuously till the volumes reduces and starts to thicken.
2. Add sugar according to taste and stir a little more to a thick creamy texture.
It looks like this
1. Add grated coconut, jaggery pieces and chopped cashewnuts in a pan and stir.
2. Jaggery will melt. Keep stirring till it becomes nearly dry.
It looks like this
# Making the puli pithe
1. Stuff the coconut filling or the kheer filling into the shells.
2. Fold them and seal the edges so that filling doesnt come out.
Here is the shape of the puli pithe
And here is a video guide to make them
3. Arrange the pulies in a steamer and steam for about 30 minutes. In absence of steamer a vessel with pores in its base can be used. Arrange the pulies in the vessel, pour some water in a handi and put the vessel with cover over that and let the water boil.
4. Serve the pulies hot.
It was such fun making them, with every one doing something and mom scolding me for taking photos instead of doing anything 😀 😀