Ah, talk about a long hiatus! I have been quite busy since my wedding—with all the moving and settling into my new life, which is out of the city and into the country! Even amidst the Southern hospitality, I have hardly had the time to update my social media as much as before. But that should not be an excuse and I will try to post regularly from now on…
During my wedding festivities, in particular, at my Mehendi Event, I remember my father bringing in a special customized basket full of a variety of Bangladeshi pithas (cakes, sugary pastries and/or crispy treats made of rice flour). I was so intrigued by it because I have always always always wanted to learn how to make them! I have watched my grandmother intricately make some teler pithas (তেলের পিঠা) and bhapa pithas (ভাপা পিঠা) some time ago and couldn’t help but wonder how many tries did it take for her to get the pithas just in the correct consistency, shape, texture, color, and taste! Kudos to her and surely, I have got a whole lot of learning to do from the women in my family.
Today, I wanted to give my cookie presses a little test by trying the “more simpler” of the pithas, fuljhuri pitha. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t as easy as it looks. The success of the pithas have a lot to do with the temperature of the frying oil, how hot the cookie press is, how quickly can the press reach the batter without getting stuck, and the consistency of the batter.
- 1.5 cups of rice flour
- 1/4 cup of all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup of sugar
- 1/4 tspn of salt
- 1/2 cup of water (add if additional needed)
- 1/2 cup of milk
- 3 cups of oil (for frying)
- 2 eggs
- In a frying pan (I used a 12″ pan), add the oil on medium heat. The temperature should reach about 280-325F for preferable frying temperature.
- Take a rosette cookie press and heat it on the pan with oil. The press has to be hot enough to hold the batter.
- In a bowl, mix the flours, salt, sugar, water, milk, and eggs.
- The consistency of the batter should be slightly thinner than a pancake or waffle batter. The thicker the batter, the harder it is for the cookie press to hold the mix or even for the batter to take the press’ shape.
- At this point, the oil in the pan should be hot enough.
- Remove the cookie press from the pan, lightly shake off the excess oil into the frying pan and quickly press into the batter until all the sides of the bottom of the press are covered. You don’t want to submerge the press fully into the batter because it will be difficult for the mixture to fall into the pan. The batter will begin to cook upwards and the batter will end up cooking within the press itself instead of falling off into the oil. Hence, submerge the press halfway into the batter.
- Take the press with the batter, and quickly submerge it into the frying oil. Lightly shake the press around so that the cookie falls off into the oil. If it does not do so on its own, take a wooden toothpick (I used a chopstick) and gently push the inside and/or outside of the press’ design. Fry the pitha or cookie until golden brown. About 3-4 minutes should be fine. The heat should be on medium the whole time!
- As the pitha or cookie is frying, leave the cookie press to rest in the hot oil again before repeating steps 6-7.
- Prior to putting the batter in the frying pan, if you notice that the heat from the press is cooking the batter itself once submerged and thickening it, you can add additional milk or water 1 tspn at a time.
I had to play around with the consistency to finally get a hold of the texture and color that I was looking for. At the same time, my husband came by to see what I was up to and he wanted to give the cookie press a try as well. How lucky of him, because it took him one attempt to get a hold of the whole process! Yes, Mr. Urban, I am giving you some credit as well!
Check out the final results…