At the end of the Bengali month of Poush in mid-January, Poush sankranti is celebrated the winter solstice festival of Bengalis. Sweet delicacies called pitha and patishapta are made with rice, palm jaggery, sugar and milk. On this day, our mothers and grandmothers spend all day making some special homemade sweets, which is called the Pitha.
The festival of Nabanna, is also celebrated in West Bengal. Pithas are cooked to the delight of gourmets. Pithas are made from rice flour, which can sometimes be replaced with wheat flour, palm or a flour made from a local root vegetables. The pithas are basically a kind of sweet bread mainly formed from a batter of flour rice or wheat then be filled with other sweet or savory ingredients.
Inside pithas you can find vegetables, around which the dough, soft but slightly toasted. A drug, especially when served alongside steaming jaggery. The ethereal beauty makes them more like the clouds of something to eat, but we assure you taste them, in fact, has something to do with the sky. Makes you want to eat them just for the shape created when the dough is still raw, before being boiled.
The pitha is usually stuffed with vegetables, such as cauliflower, cabbage, or potatoes, which are cooked or fried and then smashed, cooled and filled, until they take the form of a small meatball, to then be inserted inside the pitha as a filling.
The pithas instead include sugar, jaggery, a type of local sugar, or palm syrup and dates stuffed with coconut, nuts and vegetables flavored with spices, natural ingredients that whet the appetite of those who love sweet flavors and intense.
Preparation Time: 30 mins
Cooking time: 50 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Calories per serving: 25 calories per 100 gms
500 gm rice flour
100 gm grated coconut
200 gm molasses
Wash and soak rice in 6 cups of water overnight. Drain water and spread rice in the colander, keep for 30 minutes, pound and grind rice to make flour. Keep aside.
Prepare the stuffing by mixing coconut and molasses in a separate bowl and keep aside.
Add salt to the rice flour and sprinkle some lukewarm water just to moisten the flour. Sift the flour again and make a round dough. Do not make it too soft. It should be hard enough to roll it without using any flour or oil.
Make balls with the covering dough. Flatten them on the palm into a circle with the other hand's thumb make a hole in the center. Use your fingers to make a shape like a muffin cup and put the stuffing in it. Cover it completely with the dough and fold the edges.
Assemble a small but deep saucepan or steamer with a lid and a strainer that can be fitted on the saucepan. Boil some water in the saucepan placing the strainer above it.
Put 10 stuffed doughs on the strainer according to the size of the pan and cover it with the lid and let it cook for 10 minutes.
Holding the cloth remove pitha from the strainer. Serve hot.