Wish you all a Happy Makar SankrantiAs New Year approaches, it is the time of harvest in India and this phase is celebrated with lot of excitement and zeal. This is known as Makar Sankranti or Poush Sankranti in West Bengal, as it is celebrated in teh last day of Bengali month of Poush. It is called by different names in all over India – Magh Bihu, Makar Shankranti, Pongal, Uttarayan etc. are just a few to mention.
Makar Sankranti, apart from a harvest festival is also regarded as the beginning of an auspicious phase in Indian culture. It is said as the 'holy phase of transition'. It marks the end of an inauspicious phase which according to the Hindu calendar begins around mid-December. It is believed that any auspicious and sacred ritual can be sanctified in any Hindu family, this day onwards.
To celebrate this harvest festival, in all bengali homes, mothers and grandmothers get busy making a special kind of sweet named 'Pithe', which is made with rice flour. Another special thing is needed is Palm Jaggery(khejurer Gur), which is only available in winter season. Once you taste this, you will never forget the taste of this special sweet. There are many kinds of Pithe, namely Puli Pithe, Gokul Pithe, Dudh Puli, Patishapta Pithe and many more.
Last month, when I was visiting my parents, my mother made this special sweet for me, as I was leaving before the sankranti comes. Nothing comes closer to the taste of my mother's hand made pithe. I took the recipe from my mom so I can prepare this myself, thought to share the recipe with you on this auspicious festival time.
Doodh puli has a outer shell made of rice flour and an inner filling made of Coconut and sugar. The shell is commonly made into half-moon shape, this is called puli. After these pulis are prepared, are either boiled in thickened milk/doodh, sweetened with jaggery. So got the name, "Doodh puli".
Ingredients : (makes around 25-30 Pulis)
Milk : 1 litre
Palm Jaggery : 250 gm.(approx.) or Sugar : 1 cup
For outer shell
Rice Flour : 500 gm.
Salt : a pinch
Lukewarm water to make the dough
For Inner fillingGrated Coconut : 2 cups
Sugar : 1 cup
Cardamom Powder : 1 tblsp.
- Making filling : Take coconut in a wide pan. Add sugar little by little and keep stirring in low flame. Cook this mixture until the mixture comes together and sticks together. Remove from heat when the mixture leaves the sides of the pan. Flavor it with cardamom powder. Let it cool.
- Making Outer shell : Take rice flour, add salt and mix. Add enough lukewarm water to make a soft dough. Cover the dough with a cloth.
- Making Puli : After sometime, make small balls, size of a lemon from the dough. Flatten each ball with your fingers in the shape of a bowl. The shell would be medium thin. Stuff small amount of filling mixture into it. Bring together both the edges and it will get the shape of half-moon, press and seal with your finger. Your puli is done. Make other pulis the same way.
- Making the thickened milk/doodh : In a big wide pan, heat milk, Once it starts to boil, let it cook for 10 minutes. Then lower the heat to low, add jaggery according to your taste(you should always add jaggery in low heat, as in high heat it can curdle the milk). Mix, add all the prepared pulis now, cook for another 15 minutes or until pulis are soft and the milk has thickened. Take care not to break the pulis. The milk shouldn't be too thick nor too thin.
- Serve Cold...and relish this speciality.
This is going to Ramya's ABC series-dessert