Friends, 14th January is a very special day for Indians. While whole of India celebrate it as ‘makar sankranti, the harvest festival celebrated under many names across India.Punjabis celebrate it as Lohri, in the night of 13th January. They light bonfire and dance ‘gidda’ and ‘bhangra’ around it and savour sweets like rewari, laddus and chikkis. South Indians celebrate it as Pongal, Assamese as Bihu and Bengalis as Pous Parbon. The main aim of the festival is to thank the Sun God for good harvest.
Makar Sankranti, marks the end of chilly winter when the sun starts its journey northward. People take holy dip in Ganges or any river and worship Sun God, early in the morning. Biharis eat curd and pressed rice(chura) and have ’tilkut’, a kind of sweet made with beaten sesame seeds and sugar or jaggery. Being a Bengali, I celebrated it by preparing a special Bangla sweets called ‘Peethey-puli,payesh’which is specially made for this auspicious occasion.
We Bengalis have the tradition of preparing kind of the dessert such as dudh puli, roshopuli,gokul pithe, bhaja pithe etc. The easiest and most sumptuousof them is’patisaptas’ and about which I mentioned in my earlier blog.
Today I will tell you about another traditional sweet ‘dudh puli peethey’. Its made with rice flour dough balls, stuffed with date jaggery, condensed milk and dessicated coconut stuffing, then boiled in milk. I want to inform you that if we add some boiled sweet potatos and refined wheat flour(maida) in the rice flour, while preparing the dough , the ‘pitheys’ would become extra soft and very delectable.
Friends, for ‘doodh peethey’ the stuffing is very important. It is prepared by mixing date jaggery, dessicated coconut in a frying pan and stir it in low flame for five minutes or so then condensed milk is added to it. When the mixture take sticky consistency, it is removed from fire and let it cool. Now take small balls of rice flour dough, fill in the stuffing in the middle and give it any shape we like, just like momos. Then they are boiled in milk untill the peethey strart floating on the surface, the finishing touch would be the addition of date jaggery into the milk.
I wanted to acquaint you about the Bengali traditional food, which is getting scarcer with each passing day. Today the younger homemakers just don’t bother to go through the chores preparing dishes at home and simply prefer to buy them readymade from the sweetshops. But it would be really sad if children don’t get to savour homemade pithe puli and the fun and excitement in the house during their preparation.
In our childhood days we used to wait for the festival to gorge on the delicacies prepared by our elders. It’s indeed our responsibility to keep the traditions alive and thriving. Never allow the light of it, getting extinguished, it would then be really unfortunate.
Traditions are succor to human race and the society, which keep them rooted to their culture. It should be duely passed on to the next generation. Otherwise everybody would turn into rootless entities. We must avoid the scenario by making some sincere efforts on our part.
What do you think about it, do tell me in the comment box.
Happy Makar Sankranti to all of you
Adieu for now