Monday, January 18, 2010

Pithe Parbon - Poush Shankranti

Most belief systems have invented rituals, special days, legends, folklore, etc., to build a rampart or bulwark to defend, define, and preserve their belief systems.

The ancient religion of Hinduism is infested with so many bizarre tales, legends, and folklore that an entire 700MB of CD-R could be filled very easily with text, illustrations, and sketches to accommodate all the inanities that are rife in Hindu belief system. Some of these legends, folklores, etc., are so commonplace that they have become enmeshed in everyday life of many practicing Hindus all over India.

There is a saying in Bengal, "baro mashe tero porbon" meaning, 13 festivals in 12 months, which epitomizes the love for festivities by Hindus.

The Hindus all over India have just celebrated one such festival. Known as Makar Sankranti or Poush Sankranti in Bengal and Pongal in the southern parts of the continent, this religious festival has something to do with the position of the sun in sky. The Hindu astrologer believes that on January 14 every year the sun starts migrating to the north. Thus, it marks a new beginning for the sun's migration from the tropic of Capricorn (Makar in Indian languages) towards the equator. Because of the end of winter harvest, Makar Sankranti is also celebrated throughout India as a harvest festival. As someone wrote, "It is a way of giving thanks to the elements of nature that help man." In Assam, they call the festival Bhogali Bihu, and in Punjab, the same festival is called Lohri.

As a festival cannot be complete without food.. I share this age old recipe, which is a must on this day, with all of you. Patishapta is the most popular among all pitha (also, pithe), a bengali name for typical sweets prepared on this particular festival. In simple words, patishapta is actually a rice flour crepe with coconut and jaggery fillings. The softness of the crepe and the sweet filling inside makes it the best pitha and most commonly prepared. Though cakes, pastries and various other sweets are in vogue in almost every household, but I would say those who have at least tasted patishapta once will never say no to it .

Preparation time: 10min
Cooking time: 25mins
Makes 10 patishapta


For the filling-

■Grated Coconut (Narkel Kora): 3cups
■Jaggery (Gur): 1cup
■Cardamom powder (Elaich): 1/4 teaspoon
For the crepes-

■Wheat flour (Maida): 1cup
■Seomlina (Suji): 1/2 cup
■Rice flour (Chal guro): 1/2cup
■Milk (Dudh): 1cup
■Sunflower oil for frying

For the filling-

■In a wok heat the jaggery, as it start melting add the coconut
■Put in the cardamom powder and stir till the coconut mixes well with the jaggery
■Cook till the coconut feels sticky
■Take out of flame and keep aside
For the crepes-

■Add all dry ingredients together and mix well
■Pour the milk with constant stirring to avoid lump formation, the batter should be smooth and freely flowing (add excess milk if required)
■Heat a frying pan (preferably non-stick) and pour in 1 tablespoon on oil, spread it with a kitchen paper
■Take a small bowl of batter and spread it evenly on the pan to make a round shape, do it quick before the batter sets
■Place the filling lengthwise at the center of the crepe
■Fold the crepe from both sides and wait till it turns light brown

Hot tipsNothing beats having hot patishaptas with
notun gur er payesh!! (the above crepes are best accompanied with kheer
Posted By Sujata


  1. Never tasted this dish ever,but it is quite tempting.
    May be someday I may get a chance in Kolkotta.

  2. Looks tempting. Have to try it sometime. In Kerala, this day is the famous for the Makavillakku at the famous Sabarimala temple. The belief is that the Gods light a lamp across te hills from the shrine and millions gather to witness it.

  3. mukhee jol aishe galo....They look (and are) yummy...I am waiting for sarawati puja...

  4. Wow!! Looks like kakimoni's handiwork :) I am sure the pithe tasted as good as it looks here.
    I lack the courage and patience to make it, but this post sure is inspirational.

  5. welcome back, what a sweet dish to tempt us this monday morning in America. How did Santa Claus get on the Hindu celebrations book? I'm curious. Love to hear more about your traditions.

  6. Thank you for the interesting description of this festival. I love hearing about the traditions you describe!

    I have never heard of some of the ingredients in your recipe, but it looks very good and tempting.

  7. Hi Kavita Didi !! Sorry i am visiting your Blog after a Long time !! Hmm this festival is a real fun especially in Rajasthan.We fly kites for the whole day.Seriously i loved this post.Also the food recipe is great.Will ask my wife to prepare it once i get merry.:)

  8. Looks like it is very tasty. On the day I come to your part of the world - 2011, most probably, I will definitely taste it.

    Happy Shankranti to you and your family, Kavita!

  9. I LOVE Indian cuisine, but have never tasted this particular dish.

  10. Looks very nice. I saw it in an Indian restuarant, but I have never tasted, I should try next time...

  11. I missed you SO, Kavita!

    So glad you are back with us on the blogosphere. Thanks for your dear visit to my blog.

    Namaste & Aloha, Friend!

    Comfort Spiral

  12. @BKC you must try this, I believe its available even in the typical bengali sweet shops of the metros during this time of the season.

    @the Holy Lama Yah I know this is the time for Shabari mala, alot of my friends here have their brothers going to that trip, but did not know about the legend, sounds so beautiful.

    @Destiny's child thanks, it helps to have mom around sometime, shes visiting us.

    @Tarun Mitra thank you for dropping by. They look delicious and taste that way too. Saraswati pujo te to khichuri, bandhakopi ar chatni, and payesh!!

    @Aparna i have niether courage nor the stamina to stand and make so many of these, but i did try my hand on one or two of them and they came up well, but you really have to make lots because they keep dissapearing so fast.. it helps to have mom around!!

    @Lin Floyd thanks, am really glad you liked this sweetdish from our country, or atleast the description of it. the book cover says the festivals of india, and india has many practising christians who celebrate the festival in all fervour with santa clause!!

    @Clytie the ingredients are grated coconut(fresh), notu gur means jaggery, maida is self raising flour.

  13. Happy Shankraanti to you and your family, Sujatha!

    My sidebar says 'kavita-my room', so Kavita registers in my mind. Will make it a point to check the signed name in future, Sujatha.

  14. These dishes look very delicious. This is a good post. I love it!

    You really put a lot of thought into this post, it’s a very informative one. And it makes me go ummmm...

  15. Hey a very happy Shankranti to u
    too :)
    That recipe looks yum .. will try it out soon :)

  16. The pgm Festivals on NDTV gud times starts with an intro which says abt this 13 festivals in 12 mths ... never knew there ws a Bengali saying :) Thanks for sharing :)

  17. @Patty thanks

    @Sandhya wish you and your family a happy shankranti as well. You are welcome to our part of the world and am sure you will love the cuisine from bitter to sweet to tangy and sour..we got it all!!

    @gigihawaii thanks, this is still more of a home made dish, not easily available in shops and restaurants apart from a few that specialise in our cuisine.

    @Half Indian you must try it the next time you see it somewhere.

    @Cloudia thanks

    @dell girl thanks, i love doing these posts, makes me do a lot of research and helps me in gaining insights as well.

    @swaram thanks, this is a very common bengali saying.

  18. Nice post. Recipe is very tempting and yummy.

    I am surprised at the use of the word "infested" to describe the tales, legends and folklore of Hinduism. I thought that word is used to describe something that is not good. For example: Rats infesting the sewers. Streets that were infested with drugs.

    If I am wrong, I apologize in advance.

  19. @Chandrika Shubham thanks

    @SG the word infested was used deliberately and so was the word inanity.. there is too much of folklore, too much of legend, which most of the times make people superstitious..which brings in negetivity in the entire the usage. Good you pointed this out, gave me a chance to explain

  20. Of course, no festival is complete without its exclusive food! The dishes here look very tempting!! Yummy!!!

    Mexican Prickly Poppy [Argemone Mexicana, Satyanashi, सत्यानाशी]

  21. Wow...Nice description, Sujata. We have a similar dish called "Ada" in kerala. But the thick batter is shaped into a circle on a banana leaf, the filling is put in, folded and steamed.I used to make this version too...Never knew what is was called though! Thanks..

  22. aha aha ... jibe jol eshe gelo! spread a bit of milk maid on top of the patishaptas as a dressing .. yyummy!
    By the poush mash is happy time when your household is full with produce and probably the logic behind the saying ... karor poush mash ar karor shorbonash!!!

  23. Sujata...mukhe jol aisegelo is an understatement...i want to dip a spoon right into notun guror payosh shown here...aeito julum korcho keno...ummmm and pati shopta look suuu yummmy.

    Suman you are not the only one who adds milkmaid on top of too .

  24. All the festivals and rituals are a lot of fun and must provide special times with the family. The dishes look really delicious but time consuming to make.

  25. @Bhavesh Chhatbar thanks

    @Jyothi Oh is it! steaming sounds a good way, there are a few pithes that bengalis make on this festival which are steamed and almost shaped like momos, they are called chitoi pithes, the filling is of jaggery coconut and sweet potato...

    @SumanDebray yah helps to have maa around during festivals!! the kids were eager assistants. when alone its milkmaid as dressing when maa is around we can have rabri on top right?

    @Kavita julum kora tomar thekei shikhechi..what about all the yum recipes you keep posting..hmm??

    @sm thanks

    @Kay yah festivals are bonding times.

  26. interesting dish. Not sure if we can manage to get all the ingredients.. will try out sometime for sure :)

  27. Pitha is so tasty.I fail to understand why it is not easily available in the market.

  28. Very Nice Awesome Pics you have posted...
    Very nice