Lobongo Lotika Pitha
Well, this pitha has a special place in my heart. Among all the things I learned from Pishimoni, this is probably the very first one. As I said time and again that my Pishimoni was a gifted cook. Instead of terming her mere cook, I would love to call her an artist. Yes, an artist she was who might not had a great academic record but had food wisdom in abundance. Anything special I make, I remember my genius Pishimoni. What I cook today, probably more than half of the dishes I have learned from her. Pishimoni is no more, but, I can feel her every time I try to recreate her magic. I remember her words, her touch, her warmth and most importantly, her creativity.
I guess the first time I helped Pishimoni with making Lobongo Lotika, I was around 5 then. I got really fascinated by this wrapped sweet and make a big batch with her just a day before Bhaiphota. As long as Pishimoni was alive, Bhaiphota used to be really grand in our house and so is Makar Sankranti. Baba loves pitha and thus Pishimoni used to make various pitha for her brother the night before Bhaiphota. Among all the other delicacies, Lobongo Lotika was a must. I used to love assisting her with all these and doing so, unknowingly and unintentionally, I had my lessons from this genius lady.
Coming to Lobongo Lotika, this is an easy one but needs patience and skill. These sweet wraps are too fascinating and are too delicious to eat. With the usage of just a few ingredients you can make this pitha and can serve immediately or can store for 2-3 days easily. The taste and texture largely depends on how well you knead the dough. It should neither be too hard of too soft, just optimum. The more perfect the dough is, the more soft the pitha will be. With the below mentioned ingredients you should get 9-10 pitha. Here’s the recipe for you all.
For The Dough:
- 2 cup maida (all purpose flour)
- 3 table-spoon ghee
- 1/2 tea-spoon salt
- Water at room temperature (as required)
- 1 cup grated coconut
- 1/2 cup date palm jaggery (nolun gur/patali gur)
- 1/2 tea-spoon cardamom powder
- 1 table-spoon ghee
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- a handful of lobongo (cloves)
- refined oil for deep frying
- Mix all the ingredients as mentioned in For The Dough section together and knead a smooth dough – neither too tight nor too soft. Cover with a damp cloth and let it rest for sometime.
- Meanwhile, heat a pan and add all the ingredients mentioned in For Stuffing section (except ghee). On a low flame, stir until the ingredients mix properly and the coconut is little fried.
- Now, add ghee and stir for 1 minute. The stuffing should be sticky such that if you compress it should bind together. Once done, remove it from the flame and keep aside.
- Cut medium sized balls from the dough. Roll them to make thin roti/chapati.
- Place coconut-jaggery mixture in the centre of the roti and rub little water at the edges. The water will act as glue and support your wrap to bind properly.
- Fold any two side of the roti keeping the stuffing in the centre. Press the edges with your finger.
- Now, turn it and fold the other two edges to give the wrap the shape of a square patisserie. Refer to the picture below.
- Now, pierce the middle of the patisserie with a clove. The clove should be pierced in such a way that it holds all the edges of the patisserie together.
- One by one, make the entire batch ready. Lobongo (clove) enhances the beauty of this pitha and your Lobongo Lotika Pitha batch is ready to go to the oil.
- Heat sufficient oil in an wok and deep fry all the pithas until they are golden brown in colour. Remove and keep aside. Let them come down to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, mix the ingredients mentioned For Syrup section and put it on flame. Stir until the sugar melts properly and the syrup gets a semi-thick consistency.
- Once the syrup is ready, drop the pithas one by one to the syrup and take out immediately. Remember, the syrup is thick here and you don’t need to keep the pithas dipped in the syrup for long.
- Take out all of them and keep on a serving tray. Your Lobongo Lotika Pitha is ready to be served now.
Serve these beautiful Lobongo Lotika Pitha to your friends and family and enjoy your Makar Sankranti to the fullest. Do drop me a comment giving your feedback about this recipe. You can also tag me on Instagram using the handle @when_a_bong_cooks.