Pitha is a popular delicacy in Bihari Cuisine. Pithas are rice flour dumplings stuffed with sweet or spicy filling. There are different varieties of Pithas. This recipe, the ' Dal Pitha' is prepared using fresh rice flour and spicy masala lentil filling. The speciality of this dish is that it is vegan, gluten free and steamed. High in proteins, this is an anytime snack , loved by all age groups. Pithas served along with Hari Dhaniya ki Chutney , Tomato Chutney or Mint Chutney can be a delightful starter or a speciality dinner option. This "guilt free snack" can, not only replace the "fried starters" that many people gorge during parties, but can also satisfy the taste buds when you pop a whole dumpling in your mouth and dig into the yummy spicy filling.
Bihari Dal Pitha :
Preparation time : 4 hours
Cooking time: 1 hour
1 cup = 250 ml cup
Special Vessel/equipment : mixer, steamer
Serves : 6
For making the rice dough:
1 cup raw rice ( I use sona masoori ) Or 1/2 cup rice flour
2-3 cups water ( approximately, adjust )1 teaspoon of oil( optional)
pinch of salt
For the dal stuffing ( to be ground ) :
3/4 cup channa dal/split bengal gram
2 green chillies( chopped)
1 " ginger piece ( peeled and chopped)
1 garlic pod
1/2 teaspoon jeera/cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon kali mirch /peppercorns
1/8 teaspoon ajwain/carom seeds
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon oil ( optional)
salt to taste
For garnish :
finely chopped cilantro/coriander leaves
For greasing :
1 teaspoon oil
To make the rice flour dough :
1. Wash rice and soak it for 4 hours.
2. Grind the rice to a smooth paste using water ( approximately 1/2 cup)
3. Dilute the ground batter by adding water ( approximately 1.5 - 2 cups) to make get a thin batter consistency .
4. Add salt and oil to the batter and mix well.
5. Transfer the batter to a heavy bottom kadai or vessel and start cooking over low heat.
6. Keep stirring the batter to prevent lumps and cook the rice flour batter till it turns into a soft dough.
Note: It might look as if the dough is turning lumpy and sticking to the ladle, but keep stirring till the entire batter cooks . This step will take at least 12 -15 minutes over low flame.
To make the dal stuffing :
1. Soak the channa dal for 3 hours.
2. Drain the excess water and grind the dal along with green chillies, ginger, garlic, salt, carom seeds cumin seeds and pepper corns to a coarse paste.
3. Heat a kadai/wok over low flame, with 1 teaspoon of oil and add the ground paste.
4. Keep stirring till the dal cooks well and they get a powdered/crumbly texture. This step will approximately take 7-10 minutes.
5. Switch off and add the chopped cilantro leaves.
Your stuffing is now ready.
To shape the pithas :
1. Grease a steamer vessel with oil.
2. Grease your hands with oil and take lemon size portions of the rice dough and using your hand shape them into balls.
3. Taking one ball at a time, pinch the corners and shape the balls to make a cup and spoon the dal stuffing.
4. Seal gently by pinching the ends using greased fingers.
5. Repeat the same for the entire batch.
6. Place the pithas in the greased steamer and steam them for 8-10 minutes.
You can also use the gujiya moulds to shape the pittas.
Your delicious, healthy pithas are ready to be served hot along with your choice of chutneys or sauces.
Chef Tips :
1. You can also use gujiya mould to shape the pithas.
2. You can use ready made rice flour to make the pithas.
3.Adjust water quantity depending upon the type of rice that you are using.
4. You can also cook the pitha by dunking them in boiling hot water. Cook till they rise up to the surface, drain and serve. Make sure to seal the pithas properly to avoid leakage.
5. You can also shape the pithas like dimsums/wontons /kozhukattai .
6. You can avoid cooking the dal if you are going to cook the pithas in boiling water.
7. Keep the rice dough covered with a damp cloth or a lid to keep it moist.
Happy Cooking !