Being Indian, I am very proud of my rich heritage and blend of different cultures living and celebrating each and every festival together. No matter how different our food and languages are, but the colors, zest, love and bustling joy on any festivity bring us together as one. The names of our festivals might be different but there is a fine thread in the stories and traditions that unify us as a whole. I love traditions and the traditional formulas used in old school culinary creations. I wish if I can learn every forgotten delicacies and techniques from all the grandmothers and great grandmothers of our country. Our mothers and grandmothers are real culinary geniuses with years of experience in technicality of this art. There are no fancy gadgets, utensils or exotic produce (from todays world) in their kitchen but the food defines their love and sincerity for the family. They like to cook in seasonal or available produce in that region. Their recipes are classics, might be little tedious for todays generation but lot more healthier and tasteful.
The instant food, recipes and equipments makes our life comfortable and happy but unknowingly we are compromising on authentic taste and healthy living. We all are working so hard in our own ways and the least we can do for ourselves is having a healthy lifestyle. Food is important because not only it provides nutrients for our body but also prevent sickness and heal from it.
I will continue this topic in my other post but now I like to introduce my recipe of the day. First, wishing you all a very happy Lohri, Makar Sankranti and Pongal. These festivals are celebrated in specific regions with the different names but the rationale behind the celebration is to welcome warmer long days and the first harvest of the season.
Doodh Puli is a traditional Bengali sweet prepared to enhance the festivity on Makar Sankranti. I love all Bengali sweets but this name is quite new and unique to me. As for me, its a rural sibling of our vey popular rasmalai. It has a distinct flavor of jaggery and the crescent shaped rice dumpling gives an exotic feel to the dish. The beauty of the recipe is it requires minimal available ingredients of the season. Pithe made with freshly pounded rice flour are more soft and flavorful.
I read many blogs and watched lot of videos and confidently entered the kitchen with the recipe. But very soon I realized its not just the recipe but also technique how and when that gives the taste to it. Being a girl from north, handling rice flour was not easy for me. But later, experience I get from making makke ki roti and wet finger tips worked for me. I have to add little milk powder in the stuffing so that its easier to stuff the mixture in rice flour dumplings. Its an awesome few hours in the kitchen with many new lessons to remember. Oh! how I wish if I can serve it to a Bengali grandma to know where I can improve and work on..!
- 1 cup Rice Flour
- Pinch of Salt
- 2 tsp. Rose Water
- ½ cup or more hot Water
- ½ cup Coconut, shredded
- ½ Palm Jaggery (substitute with sugar or any jaggery)
- 2 tbsp. Milk Powder
- ½ tsp. Cardamom Powder
- Crushed Dried Rose Petals
- I Liter Milk
- ½ cup Jaggery
- Few strands Saffron soaked in warm milk
- Mix salt and 1 tsp. of rose water in the rice flour.
- Add hot water slowly as needed, mix it together with a wooden spoon to make a dough.
- when it cools down, knead it well in to soft smooth dough.
- Cover it with a wet cloth and give it a rest for some time.
- Take a pan and dry roast coconut for few mins.
- Add grated jaggery or sugar with milk powder.
- Cook for another 5 mins until jaggery melted and its all mixed together.
- Add cardamom powder and rose petals.
- Mix it well and keep it aside to cool down.
- Make small balls out of the rice flour dough.
- Flatten out each ball with the help of wet finger tips in to small disc.
- Stuff the filling inside, fold and pinch the edges in the shape of crescent moon.
- Mix ½ cup jaggery and 3 tbsp. of water, cook until it thickens in consistency.
- In a heavy bottom pan heat the milk.
- When it start to boil, simmer on low flame and until it thickens and reduce in the volume.
- Add jaggery syrup and saffron in the milk.
- Taste it and add little sugar if needed.
- Mix it well and now its time to add rice flour dumplings in the milk very gently.
- Cook it for another 15 mins , stirring very gently with the wooden spoon.
- When they start to float on top switch of the flame.
- Add 1 tsp of rose water. Mix it.
- Garnish and serve warm.
- Happy Makar Sakranti.