January 13, 2009

Ranga Alur Pithe (Sweet Potato Dumplings)

ranga pithe-5

You think this is gulab jamun? Well, this is like gulab jamun, except that it is made with sweet potato and coconut. And it's call Ranga alu pithe.

I was on the phone talking to my mom when she mentioned that Sankranti is this week. Sankranti is a harvest festival celebrated in many parts of India on the 14th or 15th of January.
And since this is a harvest festival, different parts of India make various delicacies with seasonal produce. In Bengal, this is the time to make pithes. Different kinds of pithes with rice, coconut, palm jaggery, sweet potatoes, milk, cream in different combination.

On phone with her, I remembered all the pithe I had when they were visiting. My mom had made Ranga Alur Pithe when she was here and there wouldn't be a better time to post the recipe. She had made them for diwali and the kids particularly enjoyed the little secret in the middle of each pithe.

This is sweet potato dumpling filled with coconut in the middle, fried and then dunked into a sugar syrup which has been flavored with cardamoms. I was eating them after ages, so they were a fantastic treat!

2-3 sweet potatoes
1-2 tspoon - all purpose flour
2 cups - grated Coconut -(frozen)
1 - 1/2 cup sugar (depending on taste)
3-4 cardamoms (ground)
1 - 1 1/2 cup oil for frying

For sugar syrup:
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1-2 cardamom pods (ground)
few strands of saffron (optional)

Boil the sweet potato till it is soft and mushy. Peel the potato once its cool and then mash it up. Add the flour to the potato mash and set aside in the fridge for 30 min to an hour to allow it to set.

ranga pithe-3

Coconut balls:
In the meantime, heat a thick bottomed pan and add the frozen coconut and sugar and cook on medium high heat. Let the sugar and coconut cook to a mix. Once the coconut and sugar are well combined take a tspoon of the mixture and make a small ball to see if it holds shape. If its holds shape, add the powdered cardamom to this mixture and set aside to cool slightly.

ranga pithe-2

Sugar Syrup
The syrup should be made earlier and kept warm. Add 2 cup of sugar to a cup of water and let it come to a boil. The add the cardamoms and the saffron strands and let it cook on medium heat for 5-10 min. It shouldn't be too thick.

Now get the potato mash out of the fridge. Divide the potato mash into equal small balls, make a depression in the center and place the coconut ball inside Then cover it into a round.

Heat the oil in a wok and deep fry the balls till they turn golden brown. Now, soak deep fried sweet potato and coconut balls in sugar syrup.

ranga pithe-1

Serve warm or cold.


  1. It has been ages since I had Ranga alur pithe ... I have never tried making it. Yours look so delectable Mandira! Too good. :-)

  2. And I must mention that your sugar syrup looks crystal clear ... quite a feat. :-)

  3. wow! yum! looks very delicious!

  4. I do love Jamun, this is new and yummy! :)

  5. I have never had this, it looks so yummy.

  6. That must be such a delicious variation to gulab jamuns.

  7. This is new to me but it looks and sounds very delicious. A good alternative for gulab jamun, I would say, which is a family favourite here :) but I am sort of bored of having the same again & again so this will definitely be made next time!

  8. Madira these are even better than gulab jamuns. onek bochor khayini ami. yummy pics.

  9. They look delicious! You sure know how to make delicious and appetizing food!

  10. Anonymous10:24 AM

    You made ranga Alur Pithe...wowwwwww. I didn't even remember that it is Sankranti :(


  11. First time am seeing such a recipe with sweet potatoes.. looks wonderful! :)

  12. You just reminded me of my mother’s Puli Pithe. She is asking me to make Pati sapta and Gokul pithe for this season. Seeing your pics I certainly will try.


  13. Dearest Mandira, I wish you and Aswin a most joyous New Year! I have been remiss not being in touch -- hope you will forgive me.

    Sweet potato pithe looks so delicious and your photos are gorgeous. I could have the coconut balls plain before frying, the way you pictured them!

    Also drooling over the potato and squash bhaji... have you ever tried sweet dumpling squash? It's a winter squash too and so sweet you don't need a drop of sugar.

    Hope you're doing well!

  14. hey Mandira, lovely dumpling! looks very tempting.

    Btw I am moving to michigan, do you live there too? I am going to be in Auburn hills, if you can help I need some details. pls email me at cookingforkidsevent@gmail.com
    Thanks and regards

  15. mandira,
    ranga alor pithe khob darun hoyeche ...prothome ami O bhabhlaam je eyi ta Pantua ..LOL...
    kinto sothi eyita dhekhe khob khete iche hoyeche ..
    hugs and smiles

  16. The last photo looks glorious. I've been reading about pithe on and off since I got to know more about Bengali and Oriya cuisine, makes me believe a rice pitha is the same as arisa which we Telugus make during Sankranthi, with rice flour and jaggery.

  17. sounds pretty sweet hehehe

  18. This recipe is quite new to me...and it looks deliciously sweet.

  19. this looks so yummy; you've got a beautiful blog. Lots of recipes to try and relish....especially the vegetarian dishes!!!

  20. First time here. Never had sweet potato dumplings, sure do look nice!

  21. Wow....this is totally new...amazing one.Never had this...will try this.

  22. Sharmila - thanks, I know what you are saying, I ate it after ages this time when my mom was here.

    Thanks SriLekha, Asha, Happy Cook, Laavanya, Bhagyashri, Foodista. I probably wouldn't have tried it if I didn't make it with my mom. And it tastes so good, I can eat several in one go :)

    Soma, Sandeepa, jaya- thanks, maa sathe eta baniya khub moja hoechilo. Learnt so many new things when she was here.

    Seena, thanks.

    SB you should totally make patishapta, ekhoni kabar ichhe hoeche.

    Linda - thanks, haven't talked to you in so long. You can eat the coconut balls as is, they're called nadu.

    Sra how interesting! I love hearing about these similarities. Are they also dunked in milk?

    ThanksArfi .

    Priyanka, Akal's Sappadu, Dershana, Nitya welcome to ahaar. Do try this and let me know how it turns out.

  23. pithe looks very delicious & mouthwatering

  24. Anonymous11:50 AM

    I have tried this pithe and came out like wonders. Reminded me of the times grandma makes these. Delicious. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you, this is how my grandmom made it and how my mom taught me. So glad you liked it.

  25. Anonymous4:29 PM

    Please tell us the approximate weight in pounds or kilograms of 2-3 sweet potatoes.
    Thank you!

    1. I think about a pound or a little more than a pound would work. Let me know how it turns out.


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