Few years ago I had got motivated to start a separate food blog along with my existing personal, travel and photography blogs. But I couldn’t come up with a spicy blog name and then the idea fizzed out. Thankfully it did. Another blog to maintain! No need.
So, in one of my earlier posts I was talking about how having kids make you social and interactive with people having kids. We were pleasantly surprised when last year both of our Tamil neighbors gave us different delicacies on the occasion of Pongal. Thankfully I too had prepared the Bengali specialty of Makar Sankranti – Patishapta and Gur er Kheer (condensed milk sweetened with date palm jaggery) which I could give to my neighbors.
Once again Makar or as we Bongs call it Poush Sankranti is upon us. It is the time to rejoice the new harvest, the end of cold dreary winter and the start of sunny longer days. It is one of the few Hindu festivals which is based on solar cycle and hence is usually on the 14th or 15th of January. Different regions call the day by different names such as Lohri, Pongal, Bhogali Bihu, Uttarayan etc. and celebrate differently by flying kites, making delicacies using sesame and jaggery, taking holy dips in rivers etc.
In Bengal, this is the time for Patali Gur Or Khejur Gur Or jaggery made from the sap of Date palm trees. It infuses a very different, not too sweet and heavenly taste in sweets and other delicacies prepared using khejur gur instead of sugar. Nolen gur is the liquid version of the jaggery whereas patali gur is the solid version. So the union of this jaggery and Sankranti special dishes is just awesome.
Here is my recipe for the Sankranti special – Patishapta and Kheer.
So patishapta is a crepe type thing which is stuffed with a coconut and jaggery mixture filling. It is a traditional food eaten on Sankranti day on my in-laws side and it is eaten with kheer (sort of condensed milk) prepared with jaggery. Since both the items are time-consuming it is better to prepare kheer and the filling for the patishapta one day before the festival day.
Kheer (Condensed Milk) Recipe
Ingredients for Kheer:
- 2 litres of full fat milk
- 1 cup of patali gur (may require more depending upon the desired sweetness). If you are using the solid patali gur, break it into pieces so that it melts and mixes well.
- 1/3 teaspoon fine cardamom powder
- A wide heavy kadai
- Pour the milk in the kadai and boil the milk over medium high heat. When the milk comes to a boil reduce the heat to low medium and let it simmer.
- The milk will start to thicken slowly and cream from the milk will settle on the sides and bottom of the kadai. Keep scraping down the cream and adding it back to the milk.
- Keep stirring the milk mixture intermittently until it is reduced to three fourths of its original quantity and becomes viscous.
- To check the right consistency of the milk mixture, take a spoonful and pour it on a flat plate. The viscosity of the milk should be such that it does not flow. It takes approximately one hour or so using low medium flame setting.
- Add the patali gur pieces and keep tasting to get the desired sweetness. You may use 2-3 tablespoons of sugar instead, keeping the gur in major quantity. Also add the cardamom powder and stir it in well.
- Switch off the flame and don’t let the condensed milk burn.
Ingredients for Filling:
- Grated coconut: 3 cups
- Patali gur: 1 cup (may require more depending upon the desired sweetness. If you are using the solid patali gur, break it into pieces so that it melts and mixes well with the coconut)
- Cardamom powder: ½ tsp
- Khoya: 1/3 cup (If frozen then thaw it before use)
- Take a large pan and heat on medium flame. Add the grated coconut and dry roast for 2-3 mins on medium-low flame.Coconut tends to get burnt so keep a watch and stir fast and continuously.
- Add the patali gur pieces and mix it with the grated coconut. If you are using solid patali gur, wait for it to melt and then mix.
- Keep stirring. The mixture will appear wet and sticky but will start drying.
- When the mixture stops sticking to the pan, add the khoya and keep stirring continuously.
- Once the khoya is mixed completely, add the cardamom powder and stir continuously on increased flame for 1-2 mins and switch off. Overall it takes 20-25 mins maximum. The end result should be a brown moist sticky mixture.
Ingredients for Batter for Crepes:
- Maida: 2 cup
- Rice flour: 12 tbsp
- Semolina (Sooji): 10 tbsp
- Powdered sugar: 2 tsp
- 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
- Milk: 3½ cup (more may be required to achieve the required consistency).
- Refined oil
- A non-stick flat pan or dosa tawa. It should not be too heavy as you need to rotate it to spread out the batter like a dosa. If it is heavy you can use the back of the ladle to do so.
- Sieve and sift maida and the rice flour to mix both well.
2. Add sooji and powdered sugar.
3. Add little milk at the start to avoid lumps. Break the lumps while mixing. Make the batter by adding milk little by little and keep mixing. The batter should be neither very thick nor very thin. It should be able to cover the back of a spoon.
4. Keep the dosa tawa on low flame and add few drops of oil on it.
5. Pour a ladle full of batter on the pan and rotate the pan to spread the batter in a circle. This needs to be done quickly as the batter starts setting fast. The crepe should be on the thinner side.
6. Once the crepe becomes light golden, carefully flip it and allow the opposite side to cook.
7. While the other side is still cooking, put the stuffing gently.
8. There are two ways of placing the stuffing. You can either place it lengthwise at the center of the crepe or place it on the nearer round edge of the crepe. If you put it in the center, fold the open sides of the crepe alternately. If you put the stuffing on the edge, then turn the edge inner wards and roll the crepe away from you until you reach the other edge. Press it gently with the spatula. Flip it and press gently again. Remove immediately.
9. Make other crepes similarly. You should have atleast 20 patishaptas with that amount of batter.
10.Serve with the Nolen gur kheer drizzled on the patishaptas.
This time I am also thinking of trying my hand at making Gur er Roshogollas.
P.S. Excuse my food photography and the shape of my patishaptas. It was my first attempt!! I hardly write recipe posts or do food photography. My food photography is limited to Instagram :-D.