I love making Pitha, decorating them, styling them and offering them to God – somehow, I feel divine, I feel enlighten. No, I am not a religious person, but the beauty of these cultural rituals fascinate me and I participate with all my heart and soul – may be, that’s spirituality, atleast for me.
Makar Sankranti or Poush Sankranti (as Bengalis call it) is basically a harvest festival and celebrated in almost every part of India, though, the customs may vary. I am a Bengali, whose origin is rooted in Bangladesh, born and brought up in the beautiful and green Northeastern part of India. My customs are a little different from those of Bengalis in West Bengal. In Poush Sankranti, we have a custom of burning Meramri Ghor (a hay hut) early in the morning – chilling winter morning, setting fire on the Merameri Ghor, dancing beside that, eating Pitha – that’s how I remember my early days of Sankranti. I miss those days badly.
Talking about Pitha, Dudh Puli has a special place in the menu. Soft and savory rice flour dumpling stuffed with date palm jaggery infused coconut, boiled in thick flavourful milk and kept drowned overnight – it’s not cooking, it’s poetry. Like many other Bengali households, my house too, has decked up with flowers and my kitchen, with the aroma of boiled milk, grated Patali gur (date palm jaggery), fried coconut and what not. I feel so complete 🙂
Last night, I prepared Dudh Puli / Kheer Puli and this morning I offered the same to God. My sister, as she tasted the prasad, has given me a thumbs up. Happy me 🙂
I mostly prepare Pitha at night and keep them drowned in the syrup (or milk/kheer) overnight. This way, the Pitha becomes super fluffy and juicy, as it gets enough time to absorb the syrup (or milk/kheer). After Gokul Pitha, this is the second in the row for this year’s Poush Sankranti, and a lot more coming up 🙂 With that said, here is the Dudh Puli recipe for you all.
For The Dough:
- 2 cup rice flour
- 1/2 tea-spoon cinnamon powder
- 1/2 tea-spoon salt
- hot water (as required to knead a soft and smooth dough)
For The Stuffing:
- 1.5 cup grated coconut
- 3/4 cup grated patali gur (date palm jaggery)
For Boiling Milk (Making Kheer)
- 1 lit full fat milk
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 tea-spoon cardamom powder
- 1/2 cup grated patali gur (date palm jaggery)
- Pour milk in a heavy bottom vessel and add bay leaves. On a low to medium flame, bring it to a boil. Simmer the milk gently until reduced to half by stirring frequently. This should take roughly around 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, make the stuffing by adding ingredients mentioned in For The Stuffing section. On a low flame, stir until the two 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, remove it from the flame and keep aside.
- For the dough, mix all the ingredients as mentioned in For The Dough section together and knead a smooth dough.
- 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.
- Check the milk, once it is reduced to half, remove the bay leaves from it with the help of a spatula.
- Now, slowly drop the dumplings in the milk. On a low flame, cook it for 20 minutes.
- Add grated patali gur and cardamom powder to the milk and stir slowly and carefully by not hampering the dumplings. The patali gur should melt well.
- Once it’s done, turn off the flame and cover the lid. Let it come to the room temperature.
- The Dudh Puli / Kheer Puli is ready now.
Have it immediately or cover and keep it overnight. This way, the dumplings will get more time to absorb the milk well. You can also keep them in refrigerator for atleast 3-4 days – each day, the taste will get enhanced.
Enjoy Dudh Puli / Kheer Puli 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!!!