Patishapta - Crepes with Cardamom Infused Coconut Filling - A Traditional Bengali Sweet
Growing up, I was a pampered child. My Ma did not encourage my presence in the kitchen and my Baba wasn't too keen on letting me do household chores. They just wanted me to concentrate on my studies. So all I could do was make tea, toast breads and scramble eggs. I got married while I was still studying. Right after my Masters final I flew to be with my husband who was already in the USA. That was when reality hit me. In a country that demanded all household chores to be done by self, both my husband and I were big misfits. The husband learned faster. It took me a long LONG time! It was only in 2006 I started understanding the basics of cooking & baking (I got married in '02 and moved to this country in '03).
It is just now that I am making the traditional things that I have seen my Ma making while I was growing up and Ma-in-Law make the couple of years that I have been in Kolkata after marriage.
Each year in January we celebrate Poush-Parbon in my part of my country. In other parts it is celebrated as Makar Sankranti. It typically falls on the 14th of January and celebrates the new harvest. Many people will take a holy dip in the sacred River Ganges. In most Bengali households, Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped and a variety of traditional Bengali sweets are made. The most common are 'Pithey, Puli, Patishapta and Payesh' - ideally made with rice flour ground from freshly harvested paddy, jaggery - date palm syrup, and coconut. Staying here also means I have access to limited resources. So I made Patishapta - Crepes with Coconut Filling - the way my Ma-in-law does. Typically the crepes are made with flour, semolina flour and rice flour, and the filling with coconut and jaggery. I made mine with just semolina and all purpose flour (maida) and my filling with coconut and sugar with a hint of cardamom.
Ingredients: For the Filling
- Shredded Coconut - 3/4 Cup
- Sugar - 1/4 Cup + 1 tbsp
- Cardamom - 1/4 tsp, powdered
- Milk - 1 1/4 Cup
Ingredients: For the Crepes
- Semolina Flour/Sooji - 1/4 Cup
- Milk - 1 1/4 Cup (more or less to get the runny consistency)
- All Purpose Flour/Maida - 1/4 Cup
- Sugar - 1 tsp
- Ghee or Oil - enough for frying.
In a bowl, soak the Semolina Flour/Sooji in the milk and keep aside for about 30 minutes. Then add the flour and sugar to it and let it rest for another half an hour or so. Whisk well and make sure that there are no lump but do not over mix. One easy way to get rid of the lumps is to strain the batter just before making the crepes. The batter will be slightly runny - just so that it spreads.
I ground the shredded coconut in the food processor to make it finer. In a pan, add the ghee and fry the shredded coconut and sugar till the mixture caramelizes. Add the powdered cardamom. Keep the heat on medium and do not forget to stir constantly or it will burn. Add the milk and and cook till all of it gets absorbed. Once again the key is to stir frequently. Keep aside.
Now, heat a small non-stick pan on medium heat add just enough oil or ghee once the pan is hot (I used a mixture of both) to coat the pan nicely. Add the batter to the pan (I used an ice cream scoop) and tilt the pan quickly and swirl the batter to create an even surface. Soon it will start to set. Now spoon in about a tablespoon of the coconut filling lengthwise a little away from the center - say about at the 1/3rd mark. .Now using your spatula, cover the filling with the crepe and keep rolling. Or you can just put the filling in the center and fold the crepe from both sides. Before you start rolling you might wanna take a tiny peek to see if it is turning golden brown.
Serve Warm. This recipe made about 4-5 crepes. But I had some filling leftover.
Note: You can use a paper towel to coat the pan evenly with oil.