We celebrated harvesting festival Sankrati recently.Now in Bengal, during this time people make pithe and puli to mark the harvesting festival or poush paban (poush is the month which coincides with the month of Dec-Jan, approx 15 Dec -to- mid Jan or 15 Jan).
In Punjab people celebrate Lohri ,in down South Pongal .There is a well known ritual of taking holy bath in Ganges/river Ganga on Makar Sankranti . Weather it is in Haridwar or Allahabad or Ganga Sagar near Kolkata. This time it was more auspicious as it coincided with a solar eclipse.Now according to well known ritual or myth whatever that is -after the solar eclipse,if you take a holy bath in Ganges, it wipes out all your misdeeds.With a dip in Ganges, all your misdeed is washed away by the holy river water.(Well ,that I don’t know if it’s ture or not).
[[According to a legend ,King Bhagirath began his hard penance to please River Ganga to revive his ancestor from ashes.Seeing Bhagirath’s sacrifices and ordeal , River Ganga was pleased and came down to earth from the heaven for the benefits of his people.But the force with which she was coming down to earth was uncontrolable and it would flood the earth also.King Bhagirath then again meditated and prayed to Lord Shiva this time.Lord Shive in return, began to control the force by placing river Ganga in his long coiled ,thick and matted hair called jata/Jota in Hindi/Bengali ,visit here for the full legendary story - Here .From then onwards ,it started flowing from Gangotri .River Ganga/Ganges never stopped giving her blessings to the people of this particular area from then onwards.Scientifically it’s proven that the water from this point at Gangotri is pure and can be kept so for many years.It’s sacred water is very fertile ,good for crop production etc and that’s why the northern part of India is ofetn called as the green belt of India.It supports livelihood of many families.That was mythology and picture the real scene now .
With the increase in pollution level in river Ganga from industrial waste and from tanneries ,isn’t , would be great if we can think how we can eradicate the pollution form the river itself without adding all our misdeed to it!! .And also it will help all those poor families ,whose livelihood depends on the river water, weather it’s from fishing,agriculture or from tourism.We should be planning appropriate actions to stop toxins getting into the water anymore.Visit near a river bank and it’s pathetic to see the sewage and industrial wastes dumping down into the river in one corner and in another people blindly drinking that water and having a bath in it thinking it to be holy and pure.We have to act before it is too late for us.Somehow I do think these issues need our attention sooner or later.]]
Anyways Visit any home in Bengal during poush paban and you will be offered sweet made from patali gur,parboiled rice and specially all sorts of pithe and puli or sometimes Payesh also.
Pithe is made from grounded rice and sometimes even sweet potato(ranga aloo) also.Last time we made shoro chakli .Shoro chakli is made from moong dal+parboiled rice powder.If you want the recipe then visit this old post – Shoro Chakli
This time I tried to make sedho puli in a foreign land .I didnt get parboiled rice(sedho chaal) here.So used ground rice packets instead of that.They turn out OK ,not the kind of things we make back in home.May be I should have used rice flour instead of ground rice for a better result.I will leave upto you to decide which works well for you.
Chal goron/ground rice- approx 2cups
Maida/plain flour-3-4 tbs
Semolina/sooji -3-4 tbs
Little bit of oil for making the dough and the small disc in which the filling will be added.
Dessicated coconut-1 cup
Milkmaid/carnation condensed milk-4-5 tbs
Sugar- ¼ cup or less depends on how much sweetness you want
In a saucepan, cook dessicated coconut and sugar together at low flame.This is called as paak deva.Sprinkle some water while keep working on the filling in between.
Add some condensed milk if you want some richness into the filling.Usually Khoya/kheer is added,I didn’t had any so thought of adding condensed milk.Stir/fry it for some times,till the mixture starts to collect.Take out in a separate bowl.
You can make other filling as well.I had some bhaja mooger dal(in fact any vegetables or cholar dal can be made into a delicious puli filling)so thought of making Nonta Puli(savory puli) also.Dry the dal while stir/frying it in a saucepan.Add 1-2 tsp of ghee to it.
Mix in well all the dry ingredients like ground rice, plain flour and semolina to a smooth dough.Let it sit there for sometimes before you start making puli.
Oil well your hands and roll into a long log and then cut it into small pieces.Make the small round rolls out of each piece.With some more oil , gently press and roll into a small disc with the help of your fingers.Fill in the coconut sugar filling or the dal filling ,and close each disc.
Apply little water on the border of each disc and close with your fingers, press it to form a puli shape ,it will be quite like a gujiya shape( a north-Indian sweet made during holi ).
Steam it for 30 mints in a pressure cooker.Fill the pressure cooker with water and place a microwave/oven safe bowl/steel vessel into it .Place the puli inside it and make sure water doesn’t get inside the bowl.Cover the cooker with the lid ,taking out the whistle/weight.Steam this way for 20-30 mints. Just the way you would steam Idlis.
Make each batches of sedho puli this way.
Enjoy with nolen gur or honey or maple syrup.
Sometimes baking powder is added into the dough mixture to get a soft puli.It would be better to add as this may help in to get a soft puli.
You may use rice flour instead of ground rice/chal goron for a smooth and soft puli.
Traditionaly sedho chaal/parboiled rice , is soaked in water for 3-4 hrs and then it is grounded and used to make sedho puli.I don’t get sedho chaal/parboiled rice here.Instead of that I used ground rice available in packets here.
Have heard molasses goes well with sedho puli, I am not sure about that ,but if you feel you may have it with sedho puli instead of gur/jaggery/honey/maple syrup.
Happy Cooking Friends