Choshi pitha are tiny rice-flour dumplings that are prepared usually at the time of Sankranti, a festival to mark the winter harvest. Besides new rice, this recipe uses another winter delicacy—jaggery from the sap of the date palm. The making of choshi is a skill that requires practice. Watching experienced cooks deftly produce tiny rice-like dumplings from the serpentine rice-flour dough can be hypnotic. It really does feel like watching a magic trick where these dumplings keep appearing out of nowhere from under the palm of the cook.
We are, of course, nowhere nearly as skilled. Nevertheless, we have attempted to break down the steps in hope that it will be useful to those, like us, new to the art of choshi-making.
- 100 g rice flour
- 150 ml how water
- 2 g salt
- 750 ml milk
- 150 g patali gur (date-palm jaggery in solid form)
- Set water on the boil with salt. Once boiling, add the rice flour.
- Mix roughly, and cover the pan to allow it to cook on low heat for 5 minutes, undisturbed.
- After 5 minutes, mix the dough again, on low heat, until it is cooked (about a minute).
- Transfer to a worktable or mixing bowl and knead well until smooth. Reserve it under a damp cloth, or in a storage container to prevent it from drying out.
- We can now start making the 'choshi', the tiny spindle-shaped dumplings.
- Take a small portion of the dough and roll it into a thin 5-mm snake.
- Starting at one end, pinch about a 5-mm portion of the snake. Using the 'thenar' part of the palm (the base of the thumb) tear away the pinched portion, at the same time shaping the free end into a spindle. Then shape the second side.
- Repeat until the entire dough is used up.
- Bring milk to a boil. Reduce it on low heat for about 10 minutes.
- Add the choshi and cook until the milk has thickened and the choshi are cooked.
- Turn off the heat before adding crumbled patali gur (date-palm jaggery).
- Mix well. Serve warm or at room temperature.