Monday, February 25, 2013

Gokul Pithe

I wanted to post the recipe of Gokul Pithe on Poush Sankranti only but in the frenzy of pithe making euphoria, the snaps clicked then didn't come out presentable and I couldn't post the recipe without appetizing snaps, can I? After all, we feast with our eyes first. So there I was waiting for an occasion to make the batch of gokul pithes again and the chance came when one of the colleagues of my husband especially requested me to cook and send him 'Rosh Bora'. Now Gokul Pithe is quite akin to rosh bora taste wise, the filling apart. So instead of Rosh Bora I planned of cooking Gokul Pithe, that way both his craving and my need of a good photo will be met and anyway, he is not Bengali so I don't think he will be able to distinguish much of a difference between the two :D

For people, not acquainted with Bengali way of cooking, let me give a prelude about pithe before I start narrating the recipe. Pithe is a kind of sweet cake prepared usually from a batter of rice flour, semolina and all-purpose flour stuffed with sometimes savory fillings made from a mixture of coconut, jaggery and the like. Pithes are deep-fried, steamed, soaked in syrup or cooked with milk. The variety is humongous, depending on region to region within India. So rest assured the pithes made in Bengal will be unheard of in other states of India among non-Bengalis, though different versions of the same pithes known in different names in other states of India might be prevalent.

Ingredients :( for about 30 dumplings)                    Cooking time: 1 1/2 hrs approx.
For the filling:
ü  2 1/2 cups of grated coconut, collected from 2 medium size coconuts
ü  3 tbsp sugar
ü  2 tbsp grated khoya kheer or mawa
ü  1/2 cup of condensed milk
ü  1 small size piece of date jaggery
ü  A pinch of salt
ü  White oil for frying
For the batter:
ü  1 cup of semolina or suji (240 ml)
ü  1 cup of all-purpose flour
ü  2 1/2 cups of warm milk (the amount might vary according to need)
For the syrup:
ü  3 cups of water
ü  2 cups of sugar
ü  1 cup of date jaggery(powdered or melted)
ü  2 green cardamoms (crushed)
ü  3-4 cloves
1) Heat a non-stick skillet and add grated coconut. Shallow fry the coconut, stirring continuously, till coconut becomes slightly brown in color.
2) Add a pinch of salt, sugar, jaggery, condensed milk and khoya kheer. Mix in and continue cooking the coconut mixture, stirring continuously, till all the ingredients assimilate and the mixture dries up and turns sticky in texture for about 15-20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool down to normal temperature.
3) Meanwhile, prepare the batter by mixing all the ingredients together and whip well to get batter of semi-thick consistency. (Keep it covered for 20-30 minutes before using)
4) Get the syrup ready by mixing in all the ingredients and bringing the mixture to a boil cooking on medium slow heat. Sugar will dissolve completely and check with the help of a spoon if the syrup has formed one string consistency. Turn the heat off and toss cardamoms and cloves in and cover the syrup. (The steam built inside will help cardamoms and cloves infuse a beautiful aroma into the syrup.)
5) When the coconut mixture has cooled down, take a spoonful of the mixture in your hand and with the pressure of your fingers, shape into a ball. Following the same technique, make small size balls out of the coconut mixture.

6) Coat the balls evenly in batter and deep fry in hot oil. Drain on an oil absorbent paper.
7) Soak the fried pithe or dumplings in sugar syrup for an hour or two before serving. (Pithe will taste best if soaked overnight for 5-6 hours)
8) You may refrigerate the pithes but in that case don't forget to warm it for few seconds in the microwave or on stove top before serving.

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