I mentioned in my last post, how exciting, the festivals are, but, was unaware of the importance of each, when I was young.
After the uruka feast which usually ends late at night, I used to dread the thought of having to wake up early next morning. But, no matter how hard I tried to prolong the inevitable, being tucked in my blanket with utmost cozyness, there wasn’t any respite from Maa on top of her voice asking us to wake up and get ready for our prayers to fire God.
In the misty winter morning on the auspicious day of Magh Bihu, with the exotic fragrance of night Jasmine lingering all over, Harikai was ready at our frontyard with holy fire and things needed for the puja. Once the fire is lit and rituals are done, Maa and the neighbour ladies would arrive with cups of steaming hot tea and pithas (traditional assamese sweets) for all. That is the beginning of what used to be always an unforgettable day, to be followed by Jolpan( breakfast), lunch, snacks and endless cups of tea and pithas throughout the day.
Thousands of miles away from home, the celebrations, and the excitement of sitting beside the kerosene stove watching Maa making pithas with the willingness to try my hands on; I succeeded in bringing out the same magic, in making those pithas and other snacks, to near perfection, with endless number of trials. I am happy and proud in being able to give my small family the feel of Magh Bihu almost the same way that Maa gave us. The only reason behind my endless trials is to keep my daughters rooted with Assam and our culture.
I gave a delicious twist to our very own traditional Patisapta pithas with the soft ricotta cheese, cashews, coconut and date palm jaggery filling.
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup grated date palm jaggery ( khejur gur)
- 1/4 cup grated coconut
- 1 cup soft ricotta cheese
- 2 tbsp condensed milk
- 1/4 cup finely chopped cashews
- 1 tsp cardamom powder
- A pinch of salt
- Melt the jaggery with a little water on the stovetop over medium heat. Keep aside the melted jaggery to cool down completely.
- In a bowl add the rice flour and all purpose flour. Whisk in one part of the melted jaggery into it and add water gradually to form a batter like consistency nither to thick and nor too thin. Keep the batter aside resting for 3 -4 hours. We can add water if needed later.
FOR THE FILLING
- In a pan on low to medium heat, add the grated coconut and saute for 3-4 minutes, once it starts realising oil, transfer to a plate and keep aside.
- In another pan over medium heat cook the ricotta cheese and rest of the jaggery. Keep stiring until the ricotta and the jaggery mixture thickens. Now add the cooked coconut, chopped nuts, and the condensed milk and keep stiring for about 3 to 4 minutes. Finally add the cardamom powder and give a good mix.
- **NOTE If the filling becomes too thick, add a little milk to make a paste kind consistency.
TO MAKE THE PANCAKES
- Heat a griddle over low to medium heat and brush it with ghee( clarified butter) and wipe it with a tissue paper.
- Pour a ladel full of the batter into it, then lift and turn the griddle so that the batter evenly spreads forming a round thin pancake.
- Once the pancake starts turning slightly transparent, it time to put the filling and then roll it with immediately with a slight press at the ends for it to stick. Leave it for a second and then transfer into a plate.
- Repeate the process until you get all the pithas( pancake rolls ) done.
Enjoy them warm.