Winter is synonymous to celebration in Bangladesh including picnics, parties, Christmas eve, year-end vacation and many more.
In winter, every house, shop and even roadside shops are seen to be packed with winter special items.
Pitha (similar to palm-sized fritter, pancake, pastry or dumpling) is the most famous winter special among all. Pitha can be sweet or savoury that is usually made from dough or batter.
Here The Business Standard brings the popular winter special pithas that will keep your tummy happy and your heart full:
Bhapa Pitha is a type of rice cake which is considered to be the most famous traditional winter food in Bangladesh.
It is made out of freshly ground rice flour in discs and steamed after pouring fillings. The filling is made of coconut and date molasses. Instead of date molasses, brown sugar or jaggery can be used as a substitute.
During the autumn and winter seasons, Bhapa Pitha can be found in every street corner in Dhaka city.
Chitoi Pitha is also a type of rice cake. In Chitoi making process, the rice powder is converted into a thick paste with lukewarm water and salt to taste.
This famous winter dish is cooked commonly in iron pots over medium to high heat. Clay pots can also be used instead of iron pots.
Chitoi Pitha are eaten with different Bhortas, spices and pastes. Shutki bhorta (Dry fish paste), mustard paste (Shorshe bhorta), chilli-onion paste, molasses and can also be eaten with duck curry.
This classic pitha, Chitoi can also be turned into a sweet dish called, "Dudh Chitoi" by soaking in milk and sweetened with date molasses. Brown sugar or jaggery can be used as a substitute for date molasses.
Nokshi Pitha is a beautifully crafted traditional dessert which originated in the rural areas of Bangladesh.
Nokshi Pitha, commonly made in villages and urban areas of Bangladesh, is also made of rice flour. It is a kind of crispy rice cake made with rice flour dough and given various shapes.
The design in the dough is made with the help of date thorns or needles. After giving shapes, those pithas are deep fried in hot oil and soaked in jaggery or sugar syrup.
The profound designs on the pithas are traditionally made using the thorn of the date palm trees and is a culinary art and an important women's folk art.
Puli Pitha is another popular traditional pitha which is a desert version of dumplings.
It is a small pocket of coconut filled rice cakes which is boiled or steamed or fried after putting different flavours.
This pitha is made of rice flour and sweet fillings of coconuts, sugar or molasses in the small pocket.
There are different varieties of Puli Pitha such as Dudh Puli or Milk Puli, Bhapa Puli or steamed puli, Bhaja Puli or Fried Puli, Narikel Puli or Coconut Puli and many more.
By filling spices in the small pockets, Puli Pitha can also be eaten as a spicy item.
Choi Pitha is a popular gluten-free rice dumplings that can be steamed, fried or boiled after giving different shapes. Usually, it is made in small shapes.
People in different parts of the country call "Choi Pitha" by different names such as Chua Pitha, Semail Pitha and so on.
Choi Pithas are usually eaten with date palm molasses. However, they can also be eaten with duck curry, beef curry and different kinds of bhortas and pastes.
As those are steamed so they can be kept for a few days and can also be eaten by frying instead of steaming.
Patishapta Pitha is a very popular Bengali sweet dish.
Patishapta is thin crepes similar to pancakes made with rice flour. The thin crepes are stuffed with semolina mixed with milk boiled into a creamy thick concoction and sweetened with date molasses.
Though Patishapta Pitha is a winter special item however it can be found all year round. Patishapta can be found in almost every sweet shop of the country.
Tel-er-Pitha is a common and popular winter item in Bangladesh.
It is made with a mixture of rice flour powder and sweetened with date palm jaggery and deep-fried in hot oil.
Tel-er-Pithas are basically crunchy on the outside while sticky and soft on the inside.