Cosmopolitan Currymania wishes you all a very Happy Poush Sankranti!
Makar Sankranti or Poush Sankranti is that time of the year for the Bengalis when even the sweet-haters turn optimistic. For a Bengali, food takes centrestage in the Makar Sankranti harvest festival. Bengalis love to spend this time by singing, dancing and eating the traditional Bengali sweet dishes: the Pithe, Puli and Paayesh. The sweet dishes made on this day use the common ingredients such as rice, rice flour, sweet potato, lentils, coconut, Nolen Gur (date palm jaggery), Jhola Gur (liquid jaggery), sugar, milk, etc. For more on Poush Sankranti or Makar Sankranti Bengali sweets, do check out this post.
বসন্ত অনেক দূরে নয়, বন্ধুরা, এবং বাঙালী “শীতের পিঠা” সিজন আনুষ্ঠানিকভাবে শুরু হয়েছে!
Patishapta is perhaps the most popular Bengali Pithe made during Poush Parbon. The crepes are made out of a batter of rice flour and milk, though refined flour and semolina (non-roasted) are added for enhanced flavour and texture.
Adding refined flour, milk and semolina do the following improvements to the crepes of Patishapta:
- The batter is easily spreadable.
- The Patishapta crepes have a smoother texture because of the refined flour and milk.
- Refined flour eases the removal of the cooked Patishapta crepes from the pan.
- Semolina gives a bit of crispiness to the Patishapta, if you like it that way. It is, therefore, an optional ingredient. However, if using, do remember not to use roasted semolina.
Also, while making Patishapta, always keep in mind the following TIPS AND TRICKS for the batter:
- The batter has to be of smoothly flowing and should be easily spreadable. The consistency is heavier than that of milk.
- After you make the batter, check for any lump in the batter. It should be totally lump-free. If needed, pass the batter through a muslin cloth.
- The sweetening agent in the batter (sugar or jaggery) should be completely dissolved before cooking.
- The batter has to rest at room temperature for atleast 30 min for best results.
- Before making each crepe, mix the batter well.
- For lactose-intolerants, milk can be replaced with water.
- There is a general tendency to add a generous amount of filling in Patishaptas. According to me, don’t overstuff the Patishapta crepes with the filling, as the filling is quite sweet. On overstuffing, you will get more of the filling in each bite, rather than the ideal crepe-to-filling ratio. It really does affect the experience, as you would want to taste the crepes as well in each bite you take. Also, the extra filling is bound to fall down from the Patishapta and become messy while eating. But since food preferences can never be generalised, go for it if you like more stuffing in your crepes.
- Frying the Patishapta crepes to your or your guests’ liking is important. Some like the outer covering white, while others like the covering a bit brownish. The white colour can be achieved as a result of less cooking time and less or no semolina in the batter. There’s nothing wrong in keeping the cover totally white or brownish (takes more cooking time) and both will yield tasty Patishaptas. It is really about individual liking!
- Have patience and loads of it. Making Patishaptas is no hurried affair, especially if you are going to make atleast a dozen of these beauties.
- Use a small non-stick pan.
- For better spreadability and thinness of the crepes, as soon as you pour a ladleful of batter into the hot ghee-smeared pan, take the pan off the heat immediately. Spread the batter quickly by tilting the pan in a circular fashion. Now, put the pan on fire and continue cooking!
- For neatness and uniform-looking Patishaptas, use two tablespoons to roll the crepes with the filling. The spoons really help!
Poush Sankranti Recipe: Patishapta (Bengali Sweet Crepes with Filling)
- Ingredients for the Crepes:
- Rice flour or -Chaaler Guro:_ 1 cup
- Refined flour or Maida: 1 cup
- Fine semolina or Suji non-roasted: ½ cup
- Salt: ¼ tsp
- Sugar: ½ cup
- Milk: 3.5 cups or little more, if needed
- Cow Ghee: Less than ½ tsp for each Patishapta
- Ingredients for the filling:
- Freshly grated coconut: 1 cup
- Sugar: ¾ cup
- Milk: ¼ cup
- Khoya: ½ cup
- Make the filling first. My special filling is made by cooking 1 cup of freshly grated coconut with ¾ cup sugar, ¼ cup milk and ½ cup Khoya, until the contents are golden-brown in colour and leave the edges of the pan. The mixture should be semi-wet. Remove the filling mixture in a bowl and proceed to make the Patishapta crepes after that. The filling can be made days in advance, though it has to be refrigerated in that case.
- Make the batter by dissolving all the ingredients for the crepes, except the Cow Ghee. Let the batter rest at room temperature for 30 min.
- Heat a small non-stick pan. Add less than ½ tsp Cow Ghee for each crepe. Let it heat up a bit.
- Give the batter a good stir after the resting period. Add a ladleful of the batter to the pan and take the pan off heat.
- Spread the batter as thinly as possible by tilting the pan slightly in a circular motion.
- Put the pan on a medium heat again. When the edges look cooked, add the filling at one corner, as shown in the picture.
- With the help of the back of two spoons, roll the crepe uniformly around the filling.
- Press the Patishapta slightly from the top.
- Remove into a plate.
- Make all the Patishaptas in this manner, making sure that you stir the batter once before adding to the pan.
- Enjoy with homemade Khoyakheer or even sweetened condensed milk. You can even eat the Patishapta just like that!