Sunday, January 12, 2014

Poush Parbon - Chira'r Puli - Traditional Bengali Sweets

This time of the year brings back a lot of fond food memories. Makar Sankranti is always celebrated with a lot of fanfare and loads of traditional sweets - pithas in my family. Pithas are not made on a regular basis and is mostly made during makar sankranti and it is prepared by the ladies of the house using seasonal ingredients like 'notun chaal'(new rice),  gur(jaggery), milk and cream. In Assam, it is celebrated at Maagh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu and there is food all around! So I have kind of grown up amidst both the cultures and have adapted to both with all my heart and soul.
The recipe that I am sharing belongs to my paternal side of the family and I have loved this particular pitha as a kid and even now and I make it every year.It looks a bit complicated to make but once you have tried making will make them every year. And with the easy availability of ingredients these days its all the more required that we make pithas at home to keep up with the tradition.So here's presenting Chira'r Puli - Flattened Rice dumplings filled with coconut and soaked in jaggery syrup.


Chira/Chiwda/Flattened Rice - 2 cups

Grated coconut - 1 cup

Gur /Gud/ Jaggery - 2 cups + 1 cup - grated

Flour/Maida - 1 tbsp

Refined oil - for frying

Water - 1 cup


The very first step is to prepare the coconut filling. Take a pan and put the grated coconut and 1 cup jaggery in it. Keep the flame low and mix well till the jaggery melts and gets incorporated into the coconut well. Keep stirring continuously so that it doesn't burn or stick to the pan. In a while you would see coconut leaving oil on the side ,take the mixture off the heat and let it cool.

Next we make the jaggery syrup. In a pan add the 2 cups jaggery and 1 cup water and put it to a boil. Once the mixture boil , take it off the heat and strain it through a sieve. Put the syrup back on low heat. Remove from heat after 1 boil.

Now we move on to the real thing - making the pithas! Take 2 cups of chira/chiwda/flattened rice , wash it well and soak in warm water for 5 mins. Strain the water and mash the chira well, add 1 tbsp flour and make into a dough.

Make small balls of the dough and flatten it out in your palms. You could grease your palm with a little oil to make it easier. Fill in a little of the coconut mixture,fold it over and give it a shape. I have given a gujiya shape.You could make it into round balls as well.

In a pan heat some oil and fry the pithas till light brown in colour. Remove from oil and dunk it into the jaggery syrup.

Let it soak in the syrup for few hours before you serve it out.

It gives me immense joy when i recreate recipes that are a part of family traditions.These are the little things that make us who we are and keep us rooted -atleast that's how it is for me. Wishing all my readers a very happy makar sankranti /Lohri /Pongal - after all its all about good food!

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