Get creative with pithas this winter

Photo: LS Archive

Pithas have always been a Bengali household favourite. This winter, I tried to make creative versions of traditional pithas. The results came out, well, in varying degrees of success.

Cream Cheese Patishapta

Kheersha patishapta has always been a personal favourite. When I switched its filling to cream cheese, it made the pitha less sweet but tasted perfect. I made crêpe and homemade cream cheese which I made a little thinner with a hand mixer.

I think this would pair well with blueberry or strawberry puree as well. This version would definitely be a better alternative for those with diabetes or for those who simply aren't fans of flavours too sweet. I recommend this ten on ten.

Cheesy Chitoi Pizza

First, the sauce I made was the same I make for homemade pizzas. I mixed chili sauce and chili garlic sauce to a one-on-one ratio and added a bit of sriracha with a pinch of black pepper. The chitoi took the most time to make. I spread the sauce on top of one and added mozzarella on top.

To melt the cheese, I heated it for just about 30 seconds. I was honestly a bit sceptical after they came out of the oven. I carefully took a bite and strangely the taste drew me in. But it of course did not top the classic flavour. I would say this rather failed. However, if you have an adventurous palate, I would say try it just for fun.

Savoury Patishapta

Giving a twist to the conventional sweet pitha, I excluded the kheer and instead added shredded smoked chicken with julienned veggies. I mixed it with a bit of oyster sauce and soya sauce. If you want a spicy kick, you can add hot sauce.

Till this point, it was just a normal filing. I then rolled up the crêpes with the filling to make a savoury roll. I'll say this is a fail proof recipe given that making this is pretty easy.

Chitoi Pitha with Dalgona

Ditching the thick jaggery syrup, gur, I went for dalgona. No, not dalgona coffee. I followed the original dalgona recipe except I didn't harden it into the typical circular shape. Melting down sugar to a caramel consistency, I quickly added a bit of baking soda.

The catch here is to not burn the sugar and maintain constant low heat so this turned out harder than I thought it would be as I was a beginner. After letting the dalgona cool down in a bowl, I dipped the chitoi pitha into it. The taste was impeccable as it had a slight smoky aftertaste and the consistency was just right.

While making these innovative pithas for a week, I learnt a lot. One, there are no limits when it comes to experimenting with food. Two, there are some things which should maintain the beauty of tradition.

Ayra Areeba Abid's favourite word is 'serendipity' and she's a linguistics geek. Connect with her at [email protected]