Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Patishapta – A Hidden Delicacy of West Bengal

Written By Atreyee Banerjee (Grade 6)

Food makes all the states of India unique and different from each other. Every dish has a story behind it. I have one such story too. 

Lounging in the dining room, I was reading a booklet about the famous dishes of West Bengal. Suddenly, I smelt a delectable aroma from the kitchen and I headed in and found out that my mother was baking pancakes. I was in seventh heaven. “Wait, let me serve you properly. She stuffed something in it and made a wrap of it. Without any further discussions, I quickly took a bite but it tasted different. Looking at my puzzled face, my mom chuckled and told me that it was not a pancake but a special dish from West Bengal called patishapta. The filling tasted like semolina and caramelized shredded coconut. She told me that Bengal and its love for sweets is no fiction. 

Even though this dish is made occasionally at homes, it is mostly made during a special festival called Poush Sankranti in Bengal. Once, in a food fest, my family and I went to eat patishapta, but the menu left my mom shocked as there were mango and chocolate-flavored patishaptas too! When I asked my mother how she learnt to make it, she said that she had learnt it from my grandmother. The recipe of patishapta has been passed from generation to generation in my family. She showed me an old, rather torn sheet with the full recipe of patishapta. After every meal, I had always looked forward to eating this dessert but never thought that I would have to make the dessert on my own.

One day, I decided to make the dish as the recipe looked simple enough. I started to bake it, but in the process, I spilt milk everywhere. My mother came and started laughing on seeing the sight. I served my pancake and it turned out to be triangular. Luckily, the way the jaggery was dripping from the top of the patishapta made it look mouth-watering. I also wondered what a patishapta with a filling of cheese would be like. I tried to make it and it turned out to be lip-smacking. The way the melted cheese was dripping from the top reminded me of the jaggery. 

Patishaptas are normally made of rice, milk, semolina, caramelized, shredded coconut and jaggery, but some people have made patishaptas with insane recipes like with fillings of mango and chocolate. My grandmother also told me that we add ghee to the patishapta while frying it as it creates a tempting aroma.

My grandma’s patishapta always has a special place in my tummy. It is simply scrumptious andmarvellous, and there are many other pleasant adjectives to suit it. The moment I eat a patishapta, I dream of a vast mountain of patishapta and jaggery dripping from the top and flowing like a river. Only if this dream would come true. Only the thought makes my mouth water.

Featured Image Courtesy – Times Food


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