Happy Makar Sankranti to you all !! Makar Sankranti is the first day of 'Magh' . Makar Sankranti is celebrated all over India by majority communities with slightly different variations. I remember in many parts of our town the sky used to witness small, big varities of kites.
Yesterday my Mom told me over phone that our Dida ( Grandma) has invited all her daughter's family and friends over her place. On occasion of Sankranti she will be making Pathishapta, Gokul Pithey and Ranga Aloo'r Pithe. I scratched my head as how she is going to cater so many people alone. She is just 83 !! And she lives in her own house with just a maid who comes for an hour to clean the house.
For me she is Superwoman !! Hearing her stamina and courage to make so many dishes I also decided to prepare sweets which are trademark of Poush Sankranti.I made Ranga Aloor Puli ( or in colloquial term Sweet Potato Jamuns). This is a traditional sweet particularly prepared for an auspicious festival like the one we are celebrating that is Makar Sankranti (Harvesting Festival). However once the preparation is over had a feeling that all these efforts were worth it. By the way if pictures could speak for themselves, even they would have vouched for the fact that at a time when we welcome the new crops, such a preparation would always be welcomed.
For the outer coating you need:
1/2 kg Sweet Potato
3-4 tbsp All purpose flour
1/2 tsp Cardamom powder
1 tsp scraped Nolen Gur (OPTIONAL)*
Pinch of Salt
To make Filling:
1 1/2 cup scraped Coconut
1/2 cup Nolen Gur (Date Palm Jaggery)
3-4 tbsp Milk
1 cup Sugar
2 cups Water
Besides these we need parchment papers, cling film and Oil for frying.
Wash potatoes thoroughly and boil in cooker on medium flame for 2 whistles and immediately turn it off. If they get over cooked then binding step will be difficult so be careful.
Strain and peel off the skin (leaving them in hot water of cooker will make them soggy). Add flour, salt, cardamom powder and powder of Nolen gur* to the mashed potato mixture and mix properly to make a firm dough. Wrap it in a cling film and place it inside fridge for 1/2 hour.
|Mashed sweet potato mixed with flour, pinch of salt,cardamom and powder of Nolen gur|
Heat a wok on low flame and put nolen gur first, just when it starts melting add scraped coconut and keep stirring so that it doesn't stick to the bottom. Add little milk here and mix well. Roast till all the moisture from coconut gets evaporated and the color also turns brown. Keep aside and let it cool completely.
How to make Syrup:
Heat sugar and water, add cardamom pods in a pan. Bring to boil and cook till you get one string consistency.
To make Pithey:
Divide the sweet potato mixture into 12 equal parts and lightly grease your palm. Make round balls by rolling them in between your palms, fill with a tsp of coconut mixture and gently cover the filling with dough from the sides. Prepare all the dough balls like this and place them on parchment paper. Heat oil in a skillet and deep fry these balls on medium flame till nice golden color.
Remove the fried balls and place them on absorbant paper /kitchen towel. Now allow them to soak in the sugar syrup for 30 minutes. Once first batch of pithes are soaked well transfer them to a wide mouth container and dip the second batch. You can serve these pitheys in room temperature or you can also keep them in fridge if you want to enjoy them as chilled dessert. I like it warm.
- Don't overcook the sweet potatoes in pressure cooker for long. Soggy potatoes will be difficult to handle.
- Keeping the dough in fridge (for firmness) will make is easier for you to work later.
- You should cover the inner filling well from all the sides otherwise while frying coconut filling will burn.
- I just can't emphasis enough on Oil temperature. If too hot your pithey will get golden color as soon as you blink ! And you certainly don't want to enjoy half cooked pithey. Once you slid 2-3 dumplings in oil don't flip it until the submerged part turns light golden. Always fry these dumplings on low flame.
|I just couldn't resist myself ;-) This is how the the filling looks ..isn't it tempting?|