12 January, 2017
Chandrapuli with patali gur : moon cake using date palm jaggery
The first harvest has a special place in all cultures. Paddy is the most important crop in most part of India. Bringing the first crop home is celebrated with a lot of fanfare. Among other seasonal speciality that become available are a jaggery that is made from the sap of the Date Palm tree, called Patali gur. In fact it has a striking similarity with Maple syrup that is available here in Canada.
Patali gur has a distinctive caramel like flavour, and has a special place in the heart of every Bengali. You can find more recipes with Patali gur, here.
Small wooden molds are available with folk motif. A dough is made out of milk, rice powder or coconut, which is then pressed through these molds to obtain a variety of delicacies.
The transition of earth from Sagittarius to Capricorn or Makar Sankranti is important in many ways. Days start to get longer, the first harvest coming home, it is a time to forget our differences and make a fresh start. Read more about the importance of this day here.
Chandrapuli derives its name from the half moon shape.
Exchange of these sweets between friends and families is common, something like we have ‘cookie exchange’ during Christmas here in the west. Flying kites and drawing beautiful designs in front of homes, Rangoli , is another tradition of Makar Sankranti.
The weather here in the prairies are far from mild. We are reeling under an arctic front plunging the temperatures to thirty celsius below freezing. No kite flying here for sure, but the sweets, bring it on!
Wish you all a very happy and blessed Makar Sankranti on the 14th of January friends.
Recipe: made 26.
Grated coconut 1 cup
Khoya or milk solids 2 cups
Date palm jagerry 1 cup
Ground almonds 1 Tbsps
Cardamom powder 1/4 tsp
Ghee 1 tsp
Grate the khoya and set aside. Dry roast the grated coconut, add the cardamom powder to it.
Take a tsp of ghee in another non stick pan on a low flame. Add the khoya and and the jagerry syrup. Keep stirring until all the liquid evaporates about 12-15 mts. The aim is to obtain a smooth and firm dough. Put the gas off and then add the above coconut powder to it. Knead the dough to bring everything together. It has to be warm to touch at this point. Check the sweetness, adjust to taste.
Divide the dough in small balls. I had about 26.
Grease the inside of molds if you have them. Place a pinch of the ground almonds and one raisin inside the mold.. Take a ball, press them in the mold and carefully remove them.
Let them sit in the refrigerator for about half hour. Enjoy.
It stays well in airtight container in the fridge for about 10 days.
Khoya or Mawa is milk concentrate, available in Indian grocery store. If unavailable, milk powder can be substituted.
Brown sugar can be substituted for date palm jagerry.
In absence of mold it can be left as small balls.
Local factors can sometimes affect the time taken for the dough to come together.