Makar Sankranti is one of the major harvest festivals celebrated in various parts of India, including West Bengal, where it is also known as Poush Sankranti - named after the Bengali month 'Poush'.
Poush Sankranti can never be complete for a true blue bangali without pithe and puli - the mainstays in every household in Bengal, as pishimas and mashimas raise a storm in the kitchen to dish out pithes and other sweet delights.
There are various types of pithe, some are steamed and some are fried, some are sweet, some are savory, and some need to be prepared in special earthenware; the major ingredients though, are always rice flour, coconut, milk and date palm jaggery.
Pithes are slightly different from the traditional pancakes common in the West, or the Maharashtrian puran poli, with doodh puli and patishapta being the most popular varieties, followed closely by other favourites such as gokul pithe, chandrapuli and rosbora.
One of the pioneers in offering pithes to clients down the ages is Bhowanipore's Balaram Mullick & Radharaman Mullick (estd: in 1885) as they organise a Poush Festival at their store on Sankranti each year, with every imaginable variant of pithe on offer and even a live pithe-making counter.
I love to make patisapta and treat my friends and relatives.
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