(Lima) Beans and Delhi Cha(a)t

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Celebrating Harvest

January must be special. Not only does it herald a new year as per the Western calendar, it also brings cheer on the faces of farmers across many Indian states, mostly coastal. For this is the harvest season for paddy. In the middle of the month, farming communities in many states along India’s coastline celebrate the fruits of their labour, quite literally. These include states from Eastern, Western, and Southern India.

I have my roots in the Eastern Indian state of Bengal, and although I was born and bred in a city, I grew up hearing tales from my grandma about how she and her siblings would celebrate poush sankranti (as the festival is known in Bengal). She would tell me of the special types of desserts, called pithey and puli in Bengali, the older womenfolk of the house prepared to celebrate sankranti. The same desserts which titti (that’s what I used to call my granny) made with loving care for us. Patishapta pithey (rolled pancake stuffed with milk and coconut filling), shajer pithey (pancake steamed in moulds), gokul pithey (coconut pastry, dipped in flour, fried and dipped in sugar syrup), ranga alur puli (fried sweet potato dessert) , muger puli (made of moong dal or yellow moong lentil)…Notably, most of the preparations use the harvest produce—rice, coconut, date palm juice and jaggery.

Food is vital to our sustenance, and a good harvest is always reason for joyous celebrations. And so even in urban India, and indeed in Indian households across the world, the traditions are still honoured and these delicious specialty sankranti items prepared with reverence and joy.

Patishapta pithey
is a personal favourite of mine and I am glad I can share the recipe with you. It does require a bit of home grown skill, but don’t let that daunt you. With a bit of practice and a lot of passion, you can master the craft of making this wonderful sweet dish.

Patishapta pithey


I For patishapta batter:

Flour: 4 cups
Rice flour: 2 cups
Milk: ½ litre
Sugar: ½ cup

II For Filling:

Milk 1 litre
Coconut: 1 freshly grated
Sugar: 4-5 tablespoons

To make the filling:

Bring the milk to boil. Add the sugar and coconut and reduce the milk to about one fourth the quantity. Now add the raisins and stir some. Keep aside for cooling. The filling should be dry.


1. Make a batter using ingredients of I. The batter should be smooth, of an even consistency, neither too thick nor too thin.
2. Grease a griddle or tawa with a drop of oil. Swirl the griddle around for the oil to spread.
3. Spread 2 tablespoons of the batter on the griddle and swirl the griddle again to spread the batter evenly.
4. When the patishapta starts browning a bit around the edges, place a teaspoonful of the filling lengthwise at one end.
5. Fold the patishapta with the filling carefully from one end to the other.
6. Remove from griddle.
7. Serve hot or cold—it tastes equally delightful. Although when hot, the pithey has a softer texture and tastes just heavenly.

A slice of tradition; a moment to celebrate the tremendous hard work farmers put in round the year to bring us the food we so take for granted. Hats off to all those sons of the soil!


18 comment(s):

oh i absolutely LOVE patishapta :) made it for shankranti on saturday. yours looks Dee-lee-cious. mine turned out strictly OK though :p



By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:29 AM  

Hi Sury!

I rememeber eating these a long time ago when my best friend's mom (they are Bengali) made them for me. I loved it so much but had no idea what it was called. And haven't been able to find them anywhere after that!

Now I'll definitely try it out! Thanks a lot!! :o)

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:40 PM  

Omigod Sury. I loooooove patishapta. I spent 7 years in Calcutta as a kid and after we shifted to Mumbai my best friend happened to be Bengali. I love all bengali sweets but payesh and patishapta are ambrosial. I took almost all recipes from Aunty (jhinga malai, khichuri, dalna and poshto) but forgot about patishapta. Now I have it thanks to you!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:52 PM  

Wow, Sury! A new sweet dish that actually calls for me. I dont have a sweet tooth and eat very selective sweets, but I have a feeling that I'll like this one.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:29 PM  

Thanks for sharing this traditional, festival recipe with us.

Looking at the recipe and photos, I am so tempted to try these and I've one doubt. You mentioned the sugar, milk kova (the filling) must be dry.You mean like very dry like granules or somewhat sticky is ok?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:37 PM  

sury what an exotic treat! just love to have a bite :)I am adding this to my list to try..

Sury, I am tagging you to do 7 Meme! can do any number of your choice.happy blogging!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:53 PM  

Thanks, everyone. I am so delighted to see other patishapta lovers!

Parna, it looks and was delcious :) Why? Becasue Ma made it, that's why!

Meena, I hope you can try out this delight in your kitchen now :)

Ashwini, that's so good to hear about your taste for Bengali food:) I love tales of cultural exchange like that. And am very glad to be able to share the recipe with you.

Kay, like you, I don't have much of a sweeth tooth either, but I can vouch for this one. I am sure you will like it. Do try it out :)

Indira, the filling is dry (as in not watery), yet sticky. Another variation you can try is to use jaggery instead of sugar for the filling. Tastes even better that way :)

Lera, do try this at home and let me know how it goes. Thanks for tagging me too!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:34 AM  

Thanks for the reply, Sury.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:56 AM  

Another sweet recipe on my must-try list.I think I will use jaggery instead of sugar.And,yes,hats off to all those sons of the soil!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:23 PM  

You are welcome, Indira. I hope you make it in your kitchen. Do let me know how it goes!

, do try it; you won't be disappointed. And I thoroughly second the idea of using jaggery. The taste automatically becomes more delicious when gur is used.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:39 PM  

ok how about if i spread an extra layer of khir over them...hey i like it that way...more calories, more taste!!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:16 PM  

Hi Guest, Extra kheer = Extra yummy, no doubt. So go ahead and enjoy your delicious patishapta!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:02 AM  

something new to me. looks really good

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:58 PM  

Thanks, Rokh. I hope you can get to try it. I am sure you won't regret :)

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:03 PM  

I've never heard of this dish before but it does look good.

BTW, I love the new layout. Y'all keep up the good work.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:55 AM  

Thanks for the nice words, South! And so good to see you here. Do keep checking back often :)

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:18 PM  

hey suri
i searched and searched for it ....trying out various key words on google....pancake...bengali pancake...coconut...jaggery....since i had no clue what it was called and i had had this from a colleague who brought it a couple of times to the office....God...it's so heavenly....i just wanted the recipe so badly and i got recipes for malpua...cham-cam etc but not this one...this was a bumper prize for the hard search i did... and what u said is true....hot or cold...they 're just so goooooooood..they melt into your mouth.....am glad i finally found the name "patishapta pithey"...and am going to try making it today or tomorrow...Thanks a Ton..

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:12 PM  

Lovely recipe... would surely try it....how about topping it with some rabadi?... ummm... love it...

do visit my blog and gove ur comments..:D

By Blogger Unknown, at 6:00 AM  

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