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I am a professional and a cook,rather a cook by choice and passion.Cooking is something I fantasise about.When I first thought of starting a blog,a thousand ideas coursed through my mind,albeit,none stood the sands of time.Except for the thought of a food blog accompanied by subtle nuances from daily life and from the world around me!

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Exotic Chandan Pithe - and festive wishes for all!

This post goes out to the lovely 'Monthly Mingle' event originally started by Meeta on her lovely blog ' What's for lunch Honey?'.For the month of March,it is being hosted by Sarah of 'Maison Cupcake'.
It also gets posted to Torview's awesome event 'Food palette series pink'
So just as I had promised in my last post,I am back quite early!

Well in my part of the world,spring has slowly started breezing in.Its feels nice to feel the peppery flavor in the air - a rustic smell of nascent pollens and fresh new leaves.The newborn twigs peep through the stout branches while the wizened ones try to shake off the remnants of the last few frozen dewdrops.I just love to plunk down by my window with a tumbler of freshly squeezed out orange juice and sip on it while penning away my thoughts! 
With this,my thoughts turn to the present,and yes,its festive time again.For the uninitiated, Holi or 'The festival of Colors' is an Indian festival that does have a religious connotation to it - like most festivals usually do- but it also has a celebratory camaraderie about it which appealed to us and set our hearts aflutter more, as kids.

For me,Holi would be the time when my Maa would make some typical Bengali sweets at home along with some savories.The hullabaloo  about all this would ensue a good couple of days before the actual festival day,since the goodies actually required elaborate arrangements. Somehow,I would always derive an appeasing pleasure from all these exotic arrangements and would be more than eager to pay a helping hand.The 'Nimki' or crispy diamond-shaped fritters made from spiced flour flavored with Nigella seeds and deep-fried in hot oil would be made just the day before - lest they turned damp on D-Day - while the 'Ranga Alu'r Pantua' or rounded balls fashioned out of boiled and mashed sweet potato,deep fried in piping hot oil and dipped into sugar syrup would be prepared days earlier for the sweetened syrup to soak in nicely into the soft,fluffy balls.

 I remember last year,I was far away from home and was trying desperately to make myself feel that it was Holi!In that melee,I tried to rustle up 'Malpoa' which is an authentic Bengali homemade sweet.This time around,I planned to be a bit more extravagant and made arrangements to try my hand at making 'Chandan Pithe'. 'Pithe' is the Bengali name for a sweetmeat and this sweetmeat is an exotic and rich flavorful item which gets made only on special occasions.
Although Holi is still a couple of days away,I did not want to procrastinate and miss out on the opportunity to post something for Holi.So here goes my recipe for 'Chandan Pithe'.

Wish everyone a very happy Holi and have fun with Colors!~Happy Holi~

Chandan Pithe

You will need:
Gobindobhog rice grains - 200 gms; It is a special aromatic variety of rice grain used in many Bengali preparations and lends it subtle flavor to the item.It is easily available in Asian/Indian stores.
Sugar - 150 gms
Full fat Milk - 150 gms
Date palm jaggery or 'Gur' - 150 gms 
Khoya Kheer - 100 gms
(The date palm jaggery and Khoya Kheer are also available in Asian/Indian stores)

Sultanas or Raisins (for garnish)
Ghee or Clarified butter

How I made it:
1. Wash the Gobindobhog rice grains very well under running water and allow the grains to dry up completely. If possible,toast the washed rice grains on a heated skillet to have the grains fully dried.

2. Once the grains are dried, use a grinder to grind the rice grains to powder.Now take a bowl and add in the powdered rice grains,sugar and Khoya Kheer and give it is a mix.Crush the Khoya roughly between your fingers before adding it to the powdered rice.

3. Heat up the milk to make it slightly lukewarm and next add it slowly into the dry mixture while constantly stirring with a spatula.

4. In the meantime,melt the jaggery or 'Gur' to bring it to a pouring consistency and add very slowly to the mixture of powdered rice grains,Khoya Kheer,sugar and milk.Keep on stirring gently till the liquids are blended well with the dry ingredients.

5. Now take a deep-bottomed pan and put it on heat. When slightly heated, pour the viscous mixture into the pan and start folding everything gently with a spatula.Take care not to heat up the pan too much otherwise the heat might cause the milk in the mixture to curdle and ruin the consistency.

6. When all the liquid has evaporated and the mixture turns a tad pinkish and heavy,turn off the heat.Smear a plate with Ghee or Clarified butter and shift the now cooked mixture onto the greased plate.Use the bottom of your spatula to smoothen out the mixture and form a square block.Garnish with raisins of Sultanas on top.
7.Allow it to cool down a bit and then stash the plate into the refrigerator to set for about 3 to 4 hours.Once set,take out the plate and cut out the block into even squares.Your Chandan Pithe is ready to serve!Treat yourselves and your guests and hope you have a very happy Holi!

8 thoughtful musings left behind...:

notyet100 said...

mithai looks delicious,..

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

Hi there! Thanks for telling me about this festival, I always like to learn about food being a part of things like this. Thanks for taking part in the Monthly Mingle.

Wit,wok and wisdom said...

Thanks a lot dear notyet100!:)

Glad that you liked the recipe Sarah!And yes,it really feels nice to let others know about the traditions that you have:) Wishes for a happy St.Patrick's Day!

Cheers!

Hamaree Rasoi said...

Pithe looks awesome. Happy Holi to you in advance.

Deepa
Hamaree Rasoi

Wit,wok and wisdom said...

Thanks so much for coming Deepa!And Happy Holi to you too:)

Jaya said...

W3,
Delicious preparation and wish you a very happy holi..I will be spending less time on net due to real life things happening , in the meantime will hop on here whenever i will have time ..congrats on completing one year of blogging ..hugs and smiles

Wit,wok and wisdom said...

Thanks for the kind words Jaya!Thats the reason why I've been seeing very less of you these days....but do hop in whenever you have time!:)Keep posted!

Torviewtoronto said...

Thank you :) for linking
this looks really yummy with the jaggery delicious

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