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.
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
- ¾ cup coconut powder or flakes
- Chhana cheese base or ricotta
- ½ cup flour
- ¼ cup Cream of Wheat
- ¼ cup rice flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 cup milk plus more if necessary
- 1 teaspoon cardamom powder optional
- ¼ teaspoon vegetable oil
- Pistachio almond, or cashew pieces, optional, to garnish
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.