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Roadside winter delicacies : Filled with taste of nostalgia

Roadside winter delicacies : Filled with taste of nostalgia

News Desk

There is hardly any person who has come to mega city Dhaka from a rural area but does not have a fond memory of eating pitha, steamed or fried cake, made by mother in the clay oven in the winter morning or evening with the new date juice!

Therefore, apart from the sweet taste of winter pitha, the seasonal food has a close connection with people’s nostalgia.

Modern day has snatched many things away from Bengali life and winter pitha made by mothers is one of those features for most city dwellers.

Since cold started spreading its paw, winter pitha has been available in all corners and alleys of the city, thanks to the seasonal pitha makers.

Reminiscing the good old days, people are happily eating pitha made on an oil stove or clay oven on the sides of busy roads in different neighbourhoods.

“Since I left my village home, tasting homemade pitha has become difficult. Though I can take pitha from roadside shops, the price has increased significantly,” Mojammel Hossain, a private company employee, said while eating pitha from a roadside shop in Badda.

The roadside pitha shops or carts offer varieties of pithas, ranging from the ever-popular bhapa pitha to the slightly lesser known puli pitha. The prices start from Tk10 but there are many carts which sell pithas for around Tk25 to Tk30.

With the combination of rice flour, coconut, and jaggery, bhapa pitha has a variety of textures, as well as a fusion of rich flavour. The fine rice powder and the aroma of coconut and jaggery make it a great pitha to taste.

The discussion of roadside winter pitha will remain incomplete if the name of chitoi pitha is not mentioned though it is one of the pithas that are not winter exclusive. Yet chitoi is probably the most popular roadside pitha during the winter season.

The fluffy and decently large pitha and a wide range of bhorta (mashed items), including morich bhorta, chepa shutki bhorta, chingri shutki bhorta, dhonia bhorta and the shorisha bhorta make it a perfect evening snack.

Another comparatively common roadside pitha is teler pitha. With moderate sweetness and soft texture, this fried pitha is greasy and so is its flavour.

Chapti pitha has also gained popularity in recent years. Amalgamation of rice powder and coriander leaves makes it unique in taste.

Asked about the increased price of pitha this year, Kuril’s roadside pitha maker Aklima Khatun said, “We are completely helpless. Price of kerosene oil has increased. Besides, other ingredients, including rice powder, have also become expensive.”

There are posh pitha shops in different areas of the capital where items are slightly expensive but have an impressive variety. Malpua, puli and patishapta are available there along with the aforementioned pitha.

An alternative to teler pitha is the malpua pitha. It is also fried in ghee. Technically similar to teler pitha, it has several extra flavourings like fennel seeds, pepper corns and even bananas.

Puli pithas have a large variety of fillings, including coconut, jaggery and sometimes even chicken, shutki or vegetable. When served hot, this pitha seems unparalleled in taste.

Patishapta is probably the tastiest among the winter pitha. The rolled-shaped pitha is made of rice flour, stuffed with kheer, coconut, date palm jaggery mixture flavoured with ghee and cardamom. Every bite of this delicate and soft pitha gives the foodies a celestial experience.

Shahriar Bin Shahadat, a pitha lover who along with his family members came to Pithaghor, a posh pitha shop at Bailey Road, said,

“It is difficult to arrange all necessary ingredients for making pitha due to the busy schedule of our family members. Pitha shops have reduced our troubles as we can taste a great variety of winter pithas here.”

Be it roadside pitha shops or posh ones, the seasonal business of pitha making is helping Bengalis remain connected with the tradition. And it gives the low-income pitha makers a good opportunity to make some money.

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