Guest Post: Bhapa Pitha

Follow me on Twitter. Add me as a friend on Facebook . Visit my Flickr photostream.

While the entire world is busy dieting and maintaining a good figure, we Bengalis can’t just get rid of our sweet tooth. Come January and here’s another reason to celebrate the genetically transmitted sweet loving characteristics of Bongs. The reason this time is simple – Sun (Lord Surya) has come to visit the house of his son, Saturn (Lord Shani) – yes, you have guessed it right its Makar Sankranti held each year on 14th January. This day celebrated as Poush Sankranti (sankranti meaning end of a month). There is a whole range of sweets prepared especially for this occasion, named as pitha – these may be steamed, boiled, or even fried; the main ingredients being rice flour (rice grains ground to fine powder), jaggery (the golden harvest of winter in entire Bengal) and coconut.

This day is celebrated throughout India in different ways; it’s the time of harvest. You can search an array of recipes from throughout India in the Harvest the festival of rice event round up part I and part II.

Our guest, Dipanwita Sarkar was good enough to share a recipe of bhapa pitha with us. If you don’t like it that sweet you make it like savory dumplings.


Ingredients:

  • Rice flour 2 cups
  • Grated coconut 2 cups
  • 1 cup jaggery
  • Hot water for kneading the dough

Preparation:

  • Make a dough with the rice flour and boiling water [Boiling water is important otherwise pithe will break]
  • Heat a wok, and mix the grated coconut and the jaggery with continuous stirring till it becomes dry. Keep aside and let the filling cool.
  • Now make very small balls from the dough and press each ball with your finger to make a small bowl shape to put in the filling [The thinner the outer the tastier the pithe but be cautious that it should not break.]
  • Put the filling and close the bowl in whatever shape you like. [You can give a triangular shape with frills at the borders. Be creative give different shapes for different fillings].
  • Steam the pitha in a steamer/rice cooker or simply place the pitha on a sieved bowl and place it over boiling water.
  • It takes almost half an hour to be fully cooked. [So pour water accordingly. Make sure water doesn’t touch the pitha.]
  • Check at intervals. First it feels sticky, but when it feels dry, then it is done.
  • Remove and keep open for 5mins to evaporate touches of moisture on it. Then you can store in a casserole or enjoy steaming hot pitha then and there.
  • Serve pithe with liquid jaggery.

Hot Tips – You can prepare savory pithe similar to this. Just replace the coconut and jaggery filling with vegetables (Dipanwita has used potato and cauliflower) or even minced meat or chicken. If using vegetables cook the vegetables with ginger paste, chili powder and/or tomato puree and coriander leaf. Dry out excess water while preparing the filling. You can also use mashed peas for the filling. Cook the mashed peas with roasted cumin seeds and red chilies. Serve the savory pithe (steamed dumplings) with coriander dip.

 

Further Readings – Patishapta, Chaler Payesh

If you like this post, please consider linking to it or sharing it with others. I’ll love to hear your comments too. You can also Subscribe to BengaliCuisine by Email, or  Subscribe in a reader

Share

Remembering 2010 – A Year Gone Past Well

Follow me on Twitter. Add me as a friend on Facebook . Visit my Flickr photostream.

“Here’s to the bright New Year, and a fond farewell to the old;
here’s to the things that are yet to come, and to the memories that we hold.”

Here’s another new year and new hopes in mind. But, before we usher in the new year with new posts and recipes in our blog, its time for a little backward journey to the year gone past.

As we stepped into this new year, I would say the last year was another year of learning and gaining new experiences. The main aim for 2010 was to gain a niche in the blogging world, and yes we did it.

I would say 2010 was a good year!

In the kitchen there was definitely more to learn. I shifted from Bangalore to Kolkata, now I had the direct access to my mom’s kitchen and whatever she cooks, especially the authentic Bengali recipes. Be it the lotiya vada or the lotiya shutki, dim posto sorse or dimer malpua – 2010 taught me there’s definitely more to Bengali recipes than just panch phoron and posto.

We published our first e-book, Saradiya Rannabati – one that became an instant hit among the Bong food lovers with a first month download crossing thousand. The Cook Like a Bong Facebook page launched in 2010 nurtures a community of more than three thousand Bong foodies with thousands of active users each month who share their comments, recipes and feedbacks. The page has more than 270 recipes contributed by the users.

Nurturing the idea of the Top 7 Bengali Food Bloggers since the end of 2009, we completed the series of interviews of the masterminds behind the best Bengali food blogs on the web. Thanks to all the good ladies to share their valuable time and making our idea a fruitful venture. There were also guest posts from various bloggers and non-bloggers that we featured. We would love to receive more such appetizing recipes and ideas from you all. If you have any unique recipes in mind, cook it, click it and send it to us. A special thanks to all those wonderful people who found us worthy of receiving awards for our work.

For the first time, Cook Like a Bong got the opportunity to review the ready to cook products of Gits Food, a product review on Gits Karai Sutir Kachori was thus published. Next was a restaurant review idea when I won a voucher for a meal for two at Fava, the Mediterranean Restaurant from Food Lovers Magazine, Bangalore.  And of course the Mainland China Cookbook review, a book worth buying and archiving.

Professionally, I am in the verge of gaining a masters degree in Biotechnology, and had an incredible learning experience from my teachers, friends and family. One of my aims in the last year was to develop my photography skills. The stepping stone was 4 of my photographs getting featured in Bangladesh tabloid – Bhorer Kagoj, view more Kumartuli photographs. I started using more of natural lights to photograph my subjects rather than clicking photographs at night with a higher exposure to get the effect of sun light. 2010 gave me the first opportunity to have a taste of wild life photography in the jungles of North Bengal. Photographing tuskers with a search light at the middle of night in the dense forests of Hallong was an experience worth remembering.

Somebody quoted, “He who breaks his resolution is a weakling. He who makes one is a fool.” There aren’t any resolutions for this year, but of course there are some goals to fulfill in 2011, and much more to learn. We would love to know about your comments and feedbacks for our blog, please do comment on the post or write to us through email.

We would love to thank our readers, friends and family for the support they had ushered on us. Wish you all a very Happy New Year!


If you like this post, please consider linking to it or sharing it with others. I’ll love to hear your comments too. You can also Subscribe to BengaliCuisine by Email, or Subscribe in a reader
Blog Widget by LinkWithin
Share