Sankranthi, or Sankranti (Sanskrit: मकर संक्रान्ति ), Makar Sankaranti marks the transition of the Sun into Capricorn on its celestial path. This is significant considering the Winter Solstice marks the beginning of the gradual increase of the duration of the day. Traditionally, this has been one of many harvest days in India.
In West Bengal, Sankranti, also known as Pous Sankranti after the Bengali month in which it falls, is celebrated as a harvest festival Pous Parbon (Bengali: পৌষ পার্বণ). The freshly harvested paddy along with the date palm syrup in the form of Khejurer Gur (Bengali: খেজুরের গুড়)and Patali (Bengali: পাটালি ) is used in the preparation of a variety of traditional Bengali sweets made with rice flour, coconut, milk and khejurer gur and known as Pithey (Bengali: পিঠে). All sections of the society particpate in a three-day begins on the day before Sankranti and ends on the day after. The Goddess Lakshmi is usually worshipped on the day of Sankranti.
I am going to post some of my favourite PITHE recipes for this month to mark the POSH PARBON usually celebrated by Bengalees.
- Milk - 1 litre
- Semolina ( sooji ) - 1 cup
- Grated coconut - 2 cups
- Date Palm Jaggery Liquified ( Khejure'r Gur ) - 2 cups
- Date Palm Jaggery Solid ( Patali Gur ) - crushed
- Ghee - 1 teaspoon
- Flower ( Maida ) - 2 teaspoon
- Boil the milk in a flat pan (dekchi ) for about 30 mins to "thicken" it somewhat ....
- Meanwhile, knead the semolina with hot water and 1 teaspoon ghee to make a soft dough
- Boil the liquified date palm jaggery (khejure'r gur ) and add the grated coconut. Stir continuously until the mixture attains a consistency thick enough to be made into balls that can be stuffed into a shell -- to be made in the next step
- Make 12 small balls from the semolina dough and after dusting it with the flower, make them into flat discs that can be converted into shells to hold the stuffings made in the previous step.
- Make the "pooli" by placing the stuffing (step 3) inside the shell (step 4) and sealing it
- Place the "pooli"s one-by-one into the pan of boiling milk ... do not stir, simply let them simmer for about 5 minutes
- Add the crushed Patali Gur, to the "pooli"s in the boiling milk and simmer for another 5 minutes
- Remove from the heat and allow the pan of "pooli"s to cool down to room temperature before serving.