Explore pitha paradise
By Gulnaz Najam
Pitha is a popular food in many parts of India, including Assam and West Bengal. Pithas can be both sweet and savoury and are popularly made in winter and during traditional festivals. This time, we bring to you two sweet pithas, which are easy to make and can be a great Sunday dessert.
For coconut filling
1 cup date jaggery (gur); 1 cup water; 1 cup desiccated coconut.
1 cup rice flour; 1½ cups of water; 1/8 teaspoon of salt.
Steps to make coconut filling: Boil water and add the gur. As the gur melts, add coconut to the pan. Stir until the mixture is sticky. Switch off flame.
For the dough, boil water. Add salt and rice flour to boiling water and keep stirring with a spoon to form a soft and not sticky dough. Adjust flour accordingly. Knead well for about 3-4 minutes. Take a portion of the dough and make a lemon-sized ball and turn it into a thin flat disc by pressing it with finger tips. Now, put a teaspoon of coconut filling in the middle of the disc. Seal the edges of the flattened disc and give it a spindle shape by rolling its end between your palms. Repeat the process with the remaining dough.
Now grease the steamer with oil and place the pithas on it. Steam for 15-20 minutes. Serve with liquid date jaggery.
For the dough
200gm of maida; 1 teaspoon of oil; ¼ teaspoon of salt; water to knead.
For the filling
2 cups of scraped coconut; 100 gm of date palm jiggery; 1 teaspoon of ghee; 250 ml of oil for frying the pithas.
Add oil and salt to maida and knead a smooth dough by adding water to it. Let it rest for some time. In the meantime take a pan and put it on low flame. Put the ghee in it and add the scraped coconut. Stir it for few minutes making sure it does not burn. Now, crush the jaggery and add to the coconut. Stir for some time till it mixes nicely with the coconut and the consistency is not flowing. Take it off the flame and let it cool. The filling is ready to use. Make lemon-sized balls with the dough. Next, roll the balls into small discs with the help of a rolling pin.
In the next step, fill the discs with the coconut filling and give it the shape of a semi-circle by bringing the two ends together and sealing it by pressing it either with your fingers or with a fork. One can also use a cookie cutter for this. Take oil in another pan and fry the pithas on low flame to have crispy pithas. Place them on a tissue so that it absorbs the excess oil. It is ready to be served.