Pitha
Pitha-display-on-the-table.jpg
Various pithas on display at Chittagong, Bangladesh
CourseWhole meal, snack or dessert
Place of originAssam, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bengal region, Bihar
Associated national cuisineAssamese cuisine, Odia cuisine, Bengali cuisine, Jharkhandi cuisine
Main ingredientsRice flour or wheat flour

Pithas are a variety of food similar to pancakes, dumplings or fritters, originating from the Indian subcontinent, common in Bangladesh and India. Pitha can be sweet or savoury, and usually made from a dough or batter, which is then steamed, fried or griddled. Very few varieties are oven-baked or boiled, and most are unleavened and cooked on a stovetop (or equivalent). Some versions may have a filling, garnish, or sauce. Few may be set or shaped after cooking. They are typically eaten as a snack with chai, or as treats during special occasions (similar to mithai).

Pitha is especially popular in Bangladesh and the eastern Indian states of Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, the South Indian state of Kerala, and the Northeast Indian states, especially Assam. Pithas are typically made of rice flour, although there are some types of pitha made of wheat flour. Less common types of pitha are made of palm or ol (a local root vegetable).

Preparation

Pithas are primarily made from a batter of rice flour or wheat flour, which is shaped and optionally filled with sweet or savory ingredients. When filled, the pitha's pouch is called a khol (literally "container") and the fillings are called pur.

For stuffed vegetable pithas, ingredients such as cauliflower, cabbage, radish, or potato are usually fried, baked, or steamed, and then mashed, cooled, and formed into small balls to stuff into the pithas.

Sweet pithas typically contain sugar, jaggery, date juice, or palm syrup, and can be filled with grated coconut, fried or roasted sesame seeds, cashews, pistachios, sweetened vegetables, or fruits. Sweet pithas are also often flavored using cardamom or camphor.

Depending on the type of pitha being prepared, pithas can be fried in oil or ghee, slow-roasted over a fire, steamed, or baked and rolled over a hot plate.

Pithas are often eaten during breakfast, as a snack with (often with tea), and in dinner or lunch. Although there are many sweet varieties that are reserved for desserts or holidays.

Different pithas from each region

Pithas vary considerably across the regions of the eastern Indian subcontinent.

In Assam

Main article: Assamese Jolpan

Til pitha
Til pitha

In Assam, pitha is a special class of rice preparation generally made only on special occasions like Bihu. Assamese pithas are often made from bora saul, a special kind of glutinous rice, or xaali saul, or sun-dried rice. Some pithas commonly found in Assam include the following:

In Bangladesh, West Bengal, Tripura

Puli Pitha
Puli Pitha
Taal Pitha
Taal Pitha
Bhapa pitha
Bhapa pitha

While some pitha can be made at any time of the year in Bengal (Bangladesh and Indian states of West Bengal, Tripura, Assam, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur, Orissa, Jharkhand and Bihar), there are special pitha strongly associated with harvest festivals such as Nabanna (Bengali: নবান্ন nôbanno, literally "new rice" or "new food") and the Poush parbon or Makar Sankranti, celebrated on January 14 every year. During the autumn and winter seasons, festivals dedicated to pitha called pitha mela or pitha utshob are held locally all over Bangladesh.

Some common ingredients in pitha are rice flour, milk, coconut and jaggery. It is often served with sweet syrups such as date tree molasses (Bengali: খেজুরের গুড় khejurer guṛ). A few of the most common pitha found in Bengal include the following:

There are thousands of different pithas in every region of Bengal, these are just a few examples.

Gallery

See also

References

  1. ^ "Anguli Pitha from Babita's Kitchen - Assamese Sweet Dish". 28 August 2019.