Makar Sankranti which is known as Poush Sankranti in Bengal, is an auspicious day in the yearly calendar. It is celebrated as the new harvest season is about to start and the Sun God will start his northward journey from Sankranti. This time a special type of jaggery also gets made from Dates, called Nalen Gur, which actually adds more taste to the sweets of this time. New Woman shares some authentic Bengali sweet recipes, which are made from this jaggery.
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Ingredients: (For the stuffing)
- Grated/desiccated coconut 1 cup
- jaggery/sugar/condensed milk ½ cup
(For the shell/puli)
- Rice flour: 1 cup [Traditionally boiled rice flour (sedhho chal) and non-boiled rice flour (atop chal) is mixed together in 2:1 ratio. But to make it hassle free use store bought rice flour
- Boiling hot water: ¼ cup + extra (if necessary).
(For the kheer/milk)
- Full cream milk 1.5 ltr
- jaggery 6 tbsp
- green cardamom: 2-3, crushed
Preparation: (For the stuffing)
Make tiny pieces of the jaggery. It will help the coconut to blend with it faster. Take a large pan and heat it on medium flame. Add desiccated coconut and dry roast for 2-3 mins on medium-low flame. Add jaggery/sugar/condensed milk into pan, whichever you are using. Try to mix it with the coconut flakes. Once you notice jaggery-coconut mixture is not sticking to the pan any more, increase the flame to medium and stir non-stop for 1-2 mins. Switch off the flame sprinkle and transfer immediately into a flat wide palate to cool off. When the mixture is cool enough to handle but still warm take 2 tbsp of the filling in your palm and give it the oval shape. Keep the prepared balls in a flat plate.
(For the shell/puli):
Take the rice flour in a large mixing bowl and add hot water in it. The water is too hot to cause damage on your skin so be careful on that. While pouring the water with one hand keep stirring the flour with a ladle from another hand. Now try to mix the flour and water with the ladle quickly. It is better to use wooden ladle as the water is very hot. Try to knead the dough with your hands if you can otherwise smash it with the ladle for few mins first. By the time the temperature will drop and then knead quickly before it dries out. Make small balls out of the dough quickly and keep them in the same bowl. Cover the bowl with clingfilm to avoid exposure to air. If the dough is not covered properly it will be hard and cold. Now take a ball at a time on your palm and press it gently between your two palms. It will shape like a circular disc. Press it with your fingers to make it thin. Place one oval shaped stuffing in the middle of the disc. Press the two opposite wings together. It will look like half-moon. Seal the edges by pinching with your fingers. Now roll the puli/dumpling in your palms and it will be shaped like the picture below. Follow the same with rest of the dough. While working with one puli/dumpling keep others covered.
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(For the kheer/milk):
Boil milk in a heavy bottomed saucepan and then simmer on very low flame until it reduces to half of the original volume. It is preferable to keep the milk on simmer before you start working on stuffing and shell. Thus you will save a hell lot of your precious time. Once the milk is reduced add puli/dumplings one by one into the milk carefully. Cook it on medium flame for 7-10 mins. Stir in between very gently because pulis are very delicate at this point. Soon you will notice puli/dumplings are changing color and also they have started to float on top one by one. This means it’s time to pull it off; your puli/dumplings are cooked. Remove the pan from flame and add the jaggery into the milk very gently and stir very slowly. Be careful not to break the puli/dumplings apart. When jaggery is dissolved place the pan back on the flame; sprinkle the crushed green cardamom and cook on medium low flame for another 5-10 mins or until the milk reached to your desired consistency. Don’t keep the milk and jaggery mixture on high flame, milk will curdle in that case. Switch off the flame and allow it to come to room temperature naturally. Transfer to serving bowls and serve at room temperature.
Some people like it warm too. But never serve cold, the puli/dumplings will be hard in that case. Though this Dudh Puli or Doodh Puli tastes best when fresh, it can be stored up to 2-3 days if refrigerated in air-tight container. Just microwave it for 30-60 secs before serving.
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