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Indian Sweet Crepes (Patishapta)


Indian Sweet Crepes (Patishapta)
The Sankranti festival takes place every year in India on January 14. A Hindu celebration of the harvest, Sankranti is an occasion on which sweet and savory rice flour crepes known as pitha are eaten. Patishapta are a particularly popular form in Bengal and Bangladesh. They’re slightly browned and feature a coconut and ricotta filling. Plan ahead to make this recipe, as the pitha (crepe) batter must sit for an hour before it is cooked. These are best eaten the same day, preferably when still warm, as a snack or dessert.
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FILLING
  1. ½ cup brown sugar
  2. 1 tablespoon water
  3. ¾ cup coconut powder or flakes
  4. Chhana cheese base or ricotta
PITHA
  1. ½ cup flour
  2. ¼ cup Cream of Wheat
  3. ¼ cup rice flour
  4. 1 tablespoon sugar
  5. 1 cup milk, plus more if necessary
  6. 1 teaspoon cardamom powder, optional
  7. ¼ teaspoon vegetable oil
  8. Pistachio, almond, or cashew pieces, optional, to garnish
FILLING
  1. Heat a small frying pan for 15 seconds on low. Add in brown sugar and water. The sugar will quickly dissolve. Once melted, fold in coconut and chhana. Mix well, and cook for 2 minutes. Stir regularly to ensure it doesn’t clump. The mixture will be thick. Remove from heat, and allow to cool.
PITHA
  1. In a medium bowl, mix flour, Cream of Wheat, rice flour, sugar, milk, and, if desired, cardamom powder. Let it sit for an hour. The texture should be smooth and much thinner than pancake batter. If the batter is too thick, add milk to thin to desired consistency.
  2. Add oil to a frying pan, 4 to 6 inches across. Heat over medium-low heat. When warmed, quickly ladle 2 ounces of batter into a circle. If necessary, pick up the pan and swirl around so that the bottom is completely covered with batter. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, until edges have browned slightly. Flip, and cook other side for 30 seconds.
  3. Remove from heat, and place on a plate. Add 1 tablespoon of filling down the center in a line for each crepe. Fold over each side and flip. Serve hot. For garnish, top with pistachio, almond, or cashew pieces.
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Raj Chakraberti

Raj Chakraberti grew up in the Southern US (Tennessee, Alabama), and is of Indian ancestry. His interest in cooking grew after he moved to New York City in 2002. Being away from his Mom’s Indian homecooking resulted in furiously looking for ways to replicate the foods he grew up with. It was during this time he came to appreciate the books of Madhur Jaffrey and Chitrita Banerji among others. Raj has written for Alimentum Journal, a Literary food journal, Little India Magazine (NYC), Khabar (Atlanta), and India Abroad (NYC).

Photographer Mark Ferri

Mark Ferri is a graduate of Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, Calif. He believes in a simple, direct approach that captures the natural beauty and appetite appeal of food. Mark celebrates a life-long passion for food by frequently exploring new restaurants in New York and in Europe, and loves to cook and entertain at his home in the Hudson Valley. Learn more about Mark on his website: http://www.markferriphoto.com/

Stylist Leslie Orlandini

Leslie Orlandini is a chef and an accomplished food stylist in print and television. She has been nominated for both James Beard and Emmy awards and is a veteran of thousands of cooking shows and segments. You can learn more about her through her website: http://leslieorlandini.com/