Back home, this Pitha is a must during Poush Sankranti (Makar Sankranti). Believe it or not, this is my Baba’s specialty. Maa usually prepares all other Pitha, but when it comes to Cholar Daler Puli Pitha, no one can beat Baba. From very childhood, I have been making this Pitha with Baba and learned all about it from him. Even today, if I get confused with the proportion, I just call Baba and ask him – he never fails to give the best advise.
Poush Sankranti is always a grand celebration for us. My otherwise not-doing-household-work Baba becomes hyper active at this time of the year. Recently Baba was diagnosed with heart blockage and had to undergo Angioplasty. Since then, he has many restrictions in his diet and he literally bid adieu to his very favourite Pitha-Puli. But, this could not stop him from celebrating Poush Sankranti. Keeping the tradition intact, Baba still prepares Pitha and welcomes guests with full zeal. Always positive and always active, Baba brings smile to everyone and has great skill of hospitality.
This year, I made so many Pitha and Payesh – Gokul Pitha, Kheer Komola, Patishapta, Dudh Puli, Patali Gurer Payesh, Manda Pitha, but, Poush Sankranti is incomplete without Cholar Daler Puli Pitha. This is the last Pitha for this Sankranti that I made it on the very day of Sankranti.
The recipe may sound very easy, but all it needs to have a good understanding of the proportion and that comes from practice. Cholar Dal (Bengali split chickpea) being the main ingredient, does the magic and all purpose flour acts just as the binding agent. So, while mixing these two, just make sure that the proportion is correct – too much all purpose flour will make the Pitha hard and will effect the taste. Here’s how I made it.
For The Stuffing:
- 1.5 cup grated coconut
- 3/4 cup grated patali gur (date palm jaggery)
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
For The Dough:
- 1.5 cup split chickpeas (cholar dal)
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour (maida)
- 1/2 tea-spoon salt
- As required refined oil for deep frying
For The Syrup:
- 1 cup sugar
- 2.5 cup water
- Soak the chickpeas overnight. Pressure cook it for 2 whistles. Let the pressure cool down completely.
- Meanwhile, heat a pan and add all the ingredients mentioned in For The Stuffing section. On a low flame, stir until the ingredients mix properly and the coconut is little fried.
- The stuffing should be sticky such that if you compress, it should stick together. Once it’s done, add ghee and give a quick mix. Remove it from the flame and keep aside.
- Now, take out the boiled chickpeas for the pressure cooker. Drain the water and rub the chickpeas with a clean cloth to absorb the extra water. The more you absorb the water, the less you need to mix all purpose flour. The dumplings will become super soft this way.
- Make a fine paste of the boiled chickpeas. The paste will be thick and tight and that is ok.
- Add all purpose flour and salt with the chickpea paste (as mentioned in For The Dough section) and knead a smooth dough.
- Note: don’t use extra water to knead the dough. The moisture present in the chickpea paste is sufficient enough.
- Once the dough is done, cut small balls from the dough. With the help of your fingers, press the balls to make bowl shapes.
- Now, stuff them with coconut stuffing and seal the edges to make half moon shaped dumplings. If possible, make design on the edges by curving them with your fingers.
- Once the dumplings are ready, keep them aside.
- In a pan. heat sufficient oil for deep frying. Pour the dumplings and deep fry till they turn golden brown.
- Remove them to a tissue paper spread vessel and keep aside. Allow them to cool down to the room temperature.
- Again, in a heavy bottom pan, add the ingredients mentioned in For the syrup section and bring it to a boil by stirring it. Lower the flame and cook it until the sugar gets dissolved and the consistency is little thick.
- The syrup should be rather runny and not too thick.
- Turn off the flame and cool it down to the room temperature.
- Once, both the dumplings and the syrup cool down to the room temperature, submerge the dumplings into the syrup and keep it for 2-3 hours.
- The Cholar Daler Puli Pitha is ready to be served now.
This is a melt-in-mouth Pitha and tastes great with or without syrup. Traditionally, it is made with sugar or jaggery syrup, but, if you don’t like syrup, you can have it dry as well – it tastes great both the ways. A little understanding of the proportion and a little trick and you will make it like a pro 🙂
Enjoy Cholar Daler Puli Pitha with your loved ones and don’t forget to drop me a comment telling how you like it. You can also tag me on Instagram by using the handle @when_a_bong_cooks. Happy winter and Happy festivities!!!