If we are going to talk about the culinary specialities of each and every state of India, Odisha is a class apart when it comes to Pithas (Pithas are made from a batter of rice flour or lentil flours, and then shaped and filled with sweet ingredients). None of the festivals or celebrations are completed without trays and trays of homemade rice dumplings shaped into various shapes and sizes and usually offered as a libation to God.
The best part about traditional recipes are, they are not only extremely healthy, but also they take you back to your roots. They scream home and they are as comforting as your mother’s touch.
This Patishapta with Rabdi dish, got originated on a fly, as I was in a deep conversation with my Ma over phone about “what to make for dinner”. That’s usually my standard question to her, every time I talk to her. I would ask her first what she made for dinner and then I would ask for ideas for my own dinners. 🙂
When I told her that, I have some homemade paneer sitting in the refrigerator and I better use it before they go bad, her immediate response was to make some sweet stuffings out of it for pithas. Her idea was spot on. Two reasons 1) I needed to use the paneer 2) since October is packed with festivities, I wanted to make something traditional.
All I need a small hint and off I go. I decided on making Patishapta with Rabdi. The best use of coconut and paneer.
Patishapta is a traditional Bengali sweet made during the winter season., but I used the Manda Pitha (Rice Dumplings with Coconut Filling) Coconut-Paneer mixture as a filling for it instead of going wit the traditional filling that’s used in patishaptas. I was on a roll, alright.., because, and then I thought about going two steps ahead and top the Patishapta with Rabdi (Reduced Cardamom Cream Milk). It was brilliant. 🙂
I couldn’t come up with a right name for it though. I talked to one right person (Indu Nani), who not only has a vast knowledge on different cuisines but also a culinary expert as well. So proud of you, Indu Nani. She suggested, since we can’t mess up with traditional names, I decided to call it Patishapta with Rabdi. In other words, Sweet Coconut Filled crepes Topped with Cardamom Cream Milk.
The recipe is not complicated. There are three steps to it for sure – 1. Filling 2. Batter. 3. Reduced milk to top, but trust me when I say this, once you are done and you serve it, each bite will leave a distinct taste in your mouth. The rabdi or cardamom flavored reduced milk is the star in this recipe. If you are crazy about cardamom like me, then you might like this cake – Cardamom Cream Cake
For the batter:
- 1 cup refined flour
- 1/2 cup sooji or semolina
- 1/4 cup milk powder
- 2 cups water
- a pinch soda
- 2 TBSP sugar
- Ghee (or, butter), to cook the patishapta
For the filling:
- 1 cup fresh coconut or frozen sweetened coconut
- 1 cup homemade paneer. Use cottage cheese if you can’t make paneer. Check this recipe out to make homemade chena or paneer http://foodomania.com/how-to-make-chenna-cheese/
- ¼ cup sugar1 tsp ground cardamom powder
For Rabdi (Cardamom Cream Milk)
- 2 cups half and half or full cream milk
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- ¼ cup condensed milk
- 1 TBSP ground cardamom powder
- 2 TBSP Ground almonds
For the Sweet Coconut filling:
- In a non-stick pan over low heat, heat the ghee or butter
- Add grated coconut, crumbled paneer and sugar
- Keep stirring until the mixture gets well mixed. Be careful with the heat. You need to cook the mixture in low to medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add cardamom powder and turn off the heat. Let it to cool.
For the Patishapta or The Crepes:
- Take Flour, Semolina and Milk powder, sugar and soda in a bowl.
- Add water and whisk it carefully to avoid making lumps. The batter should be lump free and the consistency of the batter should be runny (Little thinner than pancake batter)
- Keep aside the batter for 30 minutes.
- Heat a non-stick pan and add a little ghee.
- Pour a thin layer of the mixture on it and spread it quickly with the ladle.
- The size of the crepes should not be a very big nor small.
- Add a couple of spoon of the Sweet Coconut filling in the center and roll the crepes length wise.
- The crepes should have that nice light golden brown color on them.
For Rabdi or The Reduced Cardamom Cream Milk
- Heat all the ingredients except cardamom powder and almonds in low heat until the amount of the mixture is less than half.
- This effort will take probably 45 minutes to an hour.
- You have to stir the mixture from time to time to avoid the issue of milk sticking to the bottom of the pan or getting burnt.
- Add the cardamom powder and almonds in the end.