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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Phenomenal Pati-Saptas, a dream folded in three


Amazing Rice flour pancakes from the heart of Bengal, stuffed with kheer n Aam-satto/Aam-papad


When it comes to pati-spatas , everything becomes clear water, there is no conflict or confusion, it is delicious like a dream, soft like love n slightly crisp at times like reality itself. I have loved it all through my childhood, love it dearly now and as I make them I get dissolved in their being. We can call them sweet pancakes generally but trust me they are so much more than that.

The batter is made from rice flour mainly, sometimes semolina and flour is added to the rice flour and milk is added to get to the desired thin consistency. When it comes to the stuffing we have very beautiful choices, one is freshly grated coconut cooked with date jaggery which is the supremely delicious ‘Nalen Khejur Gurr’ or sugarcane jaggery which has its earthy sweet magic, another is kheer which is milk simmered until it almost solidifies n then mixed with a little sugar. In my version I have created a new flavor for the stuffing and it was inspired by a gift- some days ago my friend gave me a beautiful gift-home-made dry mango cakes-‘AAM-SATTO’, a box full of them. Aam-satto is made from fresh mango pulp mixed with water and a touch of spices, then the batter is spread thinly over plates and sun-dried until the water evaporates and the rest settles as a thick layer of cake-the flavor intensifies and changes under the sun light and we get aam-satto.

Back home I softened the aam-satto with milk, then mixed them with kheer until a beautiful rich mixture was obtained- sweet n with a slight touch of tang and filled with that mango flavor. When I stuffed them inside the soft pati-sapta they made me smile, they taste exclusively delish and my friend found them refreshingly different delicious.


Winter is a good time for pati-sapta, in fact every time is a good time for them but in the winter it gets special for a number of reasons, one is it feels great to bite into the warm pati-saptas in a cold afternoon, second in the winter the majestic nalen gurr which is a type of jaggery made from dates, becomes available and that takes everything to a whole different level.

Pati-sapta is a pithe, pithe is a term used for deserts made from mainly rice-flour or a combination of rice-flour n flour or semolina made during a certain season or festivals in Bengal.

So now since I cant wait any more for the recipe, here you go.

For The Recipe: you will need

For the Pati-Sapta

Rice-flour- 2 cups
Plain flour- ½ cup approximately
Semolina- ¼ cup approximately
Milk (full fat/skimmed)- 500 ml approximately
Salt- a pinch
Sugar- 2 tbsp
Vegetable oil/ghee- ½ cup

For the Kheer

Milk (full-fat)- 1 litre
Sugar – about 2 tbsp

For the Aam-Satto stuffing
Aam-satto/dry mango cake/aam-papad- 150 gm
Milk- a little to soak them
Kheer-Half the quantity of kheer made above

  1. Begin by adding the rice flour to the milk at room temperature, the milk should not be cold, whisk in the rice flour with a wooden spatula or wire whisk until the batter is smooth, then add the semolina and whisk until smooth, then add the flour n whisk until the batter is smooth. The consistency of the batter should be thin n flow-y, like if you pour the batter from a ladle on a pan , you should be able to spread the batter relatively easily over the surface of the pan. If the batter is not thin with the given measurement above add some more milk to achieve that consistency, then add a pinch of salt to it, mix well, now let the batter rest for about 30 minutes.
  2. Making the kheer is a complete new recipe, for that take full-fat milk in a wok/kadai with a large surface area and let the milk come to a boil, then reduce the heat to lowest and keep simmering until the milk reduces to a solid mass where all the water component from it has evaporated, this will take about 30 minutes. Keep scratching the sides every 4 minutes and incorporate that into the milk as it is getting done, don't leave the milk and go away when this is happening, if you are not using a heavy bottomed wok the milk can burn at the bottom and ruin all your effort, so if you can, use a heavy bottomed wok and stay near the milk and stir it well every 3 minutes. When the milk has been reduced to a solid mass almost, stir continuously until it becomes a solid mass, then add the sugar and let it melt completely, then remove it from the heat onto a plate, the kheer should be sweet but not too sweet.
  3. For the aam-satto kheer, soak them in warm milk for half an hour until they soften, then smash them with a fork until uniformly mixed, after that add half of the kheer n a couple of teaspoon of milk to make a spreadable consistency mixture. When that is done, you have to do the same with the kheer, if the kheer is very solid , add some milk and lighten it up.
  4. Time to make the pati-sapta finally, so take a flat frying pan or chatu or pancake pan, keep it on high heat and let it get hot, then take any flavorless vegetable oil like soya bean oil or ghee, smear it over the surface of the pan, pour 1 tbsp of oil and heat it in the pan then pour it over the batter n mix it well. Now make the flame go to minimum, smear the pan again with ghee or oil and take a ladle full of the batter and lift up the pan in one hand and pour the batter on the pan, then spread the batter in a round form, you can do it with a spatula too, just work with a light hand, push the batter lightly to create a round shape, then increase the heat the medium and give it about 1 minute, with a spoon lift the pancake slightly to see if the surface has caramelized, if not give it some more time, then take and place one tbsp of aam-satto kheer mixture and spread it in the middle of the pancake , then fold the pan cake in three parts, then take it off the pan.
  5. So now smear the surface of the pan again with ghee or oil and lift the pan, mix the batter well and pour a ladle full of batter on the pan and do like before. Keep the initial temperature of the pan low so that when you pour the batter it doesn't settle immediately in the pan, when the initial temperature is low you have time to spread the batter easily either by rotating the pan or by gentle spreading the batter with the spatula, once the batter is spread increase the temperature to medium and let the caramelize, then fold it in three.
  6. Similarly make all the pati-sapta, fill them with aam-satto kheer and kheer. And then we are done.

So here we are, we have successfully made all the pati-saptas and I am sure you have tasted them already while you were still making them, that's what I do all the time, now tell me, don't they just taste out-of-this world, soft succulent inside, crispy outside and so soft, so now share it with your loved ones, eat them warm or cold, they are delicious in every stage, so now you have one more great recipe in your collection. So you know what! Bon Appetit.