Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Cultural Adaptation

ক্রাম্পেট দিয়ে দুধের পিঠা
Crumpets with Jaggery Laced Milk

This is our New Year meal!

Most of us who travel have things that we miss and can't have from the place(s) we consider home. In Bangladesh, we have various types of 'cakes' called 'pithas'. One of these is the chitoi pitha, made by frying a gelatinous dough of rice flour in oil. This is then soaked in jaggery laced milk to transform it into dudher pitha, or milk pitha. The right kind of rice flour is hard to come by in Europe, and many Asian families have adapted by substituting chitoi pitha with crumpets. This is probably because chitoi has a similar feel to a crumpet - imagine something a little tougher with smaller holes. 

My mom first made this dish with crumpets in Hong Kong, and it has been one of my favourites since. I personally don't miss the traditional dudher pitha, simply because it wasn't what made my childhood memories. Instead, I give you here the very simple crumpet version I grew up with, and also wish you a very Happy New Year.

  • 600.00 ml of milk
  • 3 crumpets
  • Sugar, to taste
  • Jaggery, to taste
Jaggery - nowadays this should be available
in most Asian stores. 

  • Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat
  • Add the sugar and jaggery to the saucepan, and continue heating until both have dissolved into the milk 
  • Leave the saucepan on the stove for a further 10 minutes on low heat, and allow the milk to thicken slightly
  • Take the saucepan off the heat and pour the milk into a serving bowl
  • Cut the crumpets into quarters and add to the milk
  • Cover and leave to soak for 45 minutes before serving warm

The end result left to soak

Additional Info:
Experiment with various levels of sweetness or add further spices. Traditionally this would be served warm but no harm in trying it cold. Jaggery is now common enough in Asian, Bangladeshi and Indian supermarkets in various parts of the world, but if you can't get your hands on any try dark brown sugars instead. 

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