Firstly a belated Poush sankranti, Lohri, Pongal and Bihu to all my co bloggers and readers from all across the world. I was away to Goa for a much needed vacation and could not post a recipe for quite some time. However wanted to start with a sweet dish for this occasion.
Now coming back to the sankranti festival, it’s that part of the year when the farmers harvest the winter crops throughout India and celebrate in various ways depending upon which part of India you are from. For instance in Bengal we people celebrate Sankranti by preparing a kind of sweet pancakes with coconut mixed with jaggery fillings called Pitha /Pithe. And since market is full of palm jaggery this time around so couldn't miss it adding in today's preparation. This day also signifies the receding of the winter and proceeding towards spring. So by praying to the Almighty that wherever you are, you have a prosperous and happy outcome in whatever endevour you take up.
There is a saying in Bengal that you can take a Bengali out of Bengal but you can never take Bengal out of a Bengali. More so in two occasions once during Durga Puja and another during Poush Sankranti. Since many times I have narrated about Pujas so let me write a bit about the cuisines that are part and parcel of Sankranti. The main dessert is the Pithe or rice cake which forms a sweet delicacy of the celebration. I remember that during my childhood days we eagerly used to peek inside the kitchen to check out when the sweet is ready. Pithe / Pitha are of different types: Puli malpuas etc. But the best part is to savour them in a winter evening with family and friends and have a great time chatting together.
Some more Sankranti Special Sweets from past are
2 ripe Bananas
1/2 cup All purpose flour
3 tbsp Palm Jaggery /Nolen Gur
Handful of Cashews
1/4 tsp Baking powder
A pinch of Salt
Little bit of water
Oil for frying
Cut a mixing bowl and roughly chop the bananas, add jaggery and mix thoroughly. Pour flour, salt and baking soda and mix well with your hand. Make a nice batter by mixing all the ingredients and add cashews. Though we have added jaggery but still taste for sweetness, adjust if you need more.
Now heat oil in a pan and add a drop of batter in hot oil, if it floats on top as soon as you drop it then the oil temperature is correct.
Drop a little batter into hot oil (maximum 2-3 at the same time), deep fry, flipping them after about 30 seconds until golden brown. Fry the rest of the batter and place on paper towel. Serve hot.