Duration: 45 mins
In Bengal, the blend of seasons and festivals create a multi-coloured melange, that throb with the life pulse. One such season is ‘Poush’ – the first month of winter. There is usually an influx of visitors to Shantiniketan in Bengal – the land of folk art and culture – for the Poush Mela (a cultural fair) dating back to 1894.
However growing up, I would identify Poush with one of the following (blame the foodie me!):
1. My Thamma (paternal grandmother) visiting us with boxes of ‘Joynagarer Moa’ (seasonal Bengali sweet) and ‘Patali Gur’ (date palm jaggery).
2. My Didu making all the traditional delicacies – pithes, patishaptas and malpuas.
I try to make these sweets at home every year during the winter and it warms up my old soul. It is my attempt to get a whiff of nostalgia. This year I tried my hands at making a savoury version. Try it out and let me know if you liked it.
- 200g peas
- 4 potatoes
- 2-3 tbsp rice flour
- 2 tbsp mustard oil + for frying
- 1-2 green chillies
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 cloves
- 1/2″ cinnamon stick
- 3 green cardamoms
- 3 cloves
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp black peppercorn
- A pinch of asafoetida
- Salt to taste
- Make a smooth paste of peas and green chillies.
- Heat a pan with the mustard oil.
- Add a pinch of asafoetida along with the peas paste. Keep stirring until it is bit dry and then add salt. Continue to cook.
- In the meantime, take a separate pan and dry roast rest of the spices and grind them to a fine powder.
- Once the peas have been cooked well, throw in the freshly ground spices. Mix well and keep it aside.
- Boil the potatoes and mash them well.
- Add rice flour and salt to the mash, mix them well to form a dough.
- Take a little potato dough, flatten it out and stuff it with the cooked peas mixture. Seal it well and roll it in little rice flour, to avoid breaking during frying.
- Repeat the process with the remaining dough to make the pithes.
- Heat mustard oil in a pan.
- Fry all the pithes until golden, one at a time.
- Enjoy them hot with tamarind or coriander chutney.