This is a yummy savory snack from Eastern India. It can be a healthy GFCF snack, as it is steamed and uses up very little oil. My kids love to eat this snack in the evenings or after school as it is quite filling for their tummies. I am sharing the traditional method here, as my mother used to make, but there can be many variations, depending on your taste. The filling can be altered in many ways and even made sweet if you want. I will leave that creativity to you all and continue with my recipe…..
Raw Rice flour – 2 cup
Water – 3 ½ cup
Chana daal – 1 cup (soaked in water for 2-3 hrs)
Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
Garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Chilli(green or red as desired) paste – 1 tsp or as desired
Salt – as per taste
Oil – as required for greasing hands and steaming vessel + 1 tbsp for seasoning
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp or as desired
1) Coarse grind the soaked chana daal and add salt, 1 ½ tsp cumin seeds, garlic paste and chilli paste. If it has excess water, you can heat the chana daal mixture in a kadai/skillet stirring continuously. The resulting mixture should be such that you can fill it in the pithas easily,and should still be moist.
2) To prepare the pitha dough, boil 3 ½ cup of water in a skillet, add salt and ½ tsp cumin seeds.
3) Add rice flour to the boiling water slowly, stirring it continuously, so that there are no lumps.
4) Gather the dough thus formed and knead it thoroughly, with oiled hands. Let cool.
5) Divide the dough into desired number of parts and make smooth balls.
6) Flatten each ball, with hands and fill the daal mixture.
7) Fold it to make gujiya like shape (the shape shown in the picture). Work the seam with oiled hands so as to get smooth edges.
8) Steam these pithas in a greased steamer till the filling gets cooked and an inserted knife comes out clean.
9) Take out the pithas from the steamer and let cool.
10) Cut these pithas in tranverse sections of ¾ to 1 cm thick slices.
11) Before serving, you can either add a tadka of 1 tbsp oil and mustard seeds or simply stir fry the slices in 1 tbsp oil . Serve this with green chutney.
I know it is a lengthy process and takes a lot of practice to get to perfect Pithas, but I can assure you, its really worth the effort. Just a small tip…..try to make small batches first. This will minimize any wasted efforts!!
P.S. On a different day, I had made the sweeter version using a mixture of Date palm jaggery, grated coconut and cardamom powder, as the filling and NO SALT in the rice flour dough. They are called Puli Pithe or Sheddho Puli in Bengali They came out really yummy, but I could not serve them to my Autistic kid as he is off all forms of sugar. Others enjoyed a lot though. You can serve them with melted jaggery or Jhola gur.