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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Potali Pitha

Potali Pitha is traditional prasad or offering at the Shri Baladev Ji Mandir in Kendrapara. If you are a nature lover of sorts, then you must be aware of this nondescript district of Odisha. It houses the famous Bhitarkanika National Park, home to the endangered Saltwater crocodiles and quite a few other species of animals. This region is also home to a lush and thriving mangrove population, which covers an area of 650 square kilometers on the delta formed by rivers Brahmani and Baitarini.

This was the first time I got a chance to savor this delicacy and i quite liked it. It has quite a familiar flavour ( sweet with notes of edible camphor) that most of our pithas ( especially ones made for prasadam ) have. More specifically, I would say it tastes like a cross between a sweet atta chakuli and a kakara. While I haven't tried making it at home, I got the recipe from one of the regular visitors to this temple ( the same person who got the Pithas for us ). Read on for the recipe ( Loved the original packaging very much...have clicked the picture in the same...a leaf basket ):

















For the pancakes (outer layer of the Pitha):
2 cups maida ( all purpose flour )
1 tsp ghee (warm)
a pinch of salt

For the stuffing:
1 cup chenna,
1 cup freshly grated coconut,
5-6 tsp sugar
1 pinch of camphor
2 green cardamon powdered
2 tsp ghee

2-3 tbs whole wheat flour
2-3 tbs molasses (this is a form of liquid jaggery)
More ghee for frying.

Preparation - Take the maida, salt and warm ghee in a mixing bowl. Add enough water to make a pancake batter. Mix carefully to remove lumps if any.

Mix all the ingredients for stuffing (except for ghee in another bowl). Keep aside.

Mix the whole wheat flour, molasses and a little water in a separate bowl. Keep aside.

Cooking - Heat a wok. Add 2 tsp ghee. Add the stuffing mixture and roast on medium flame for 2-3 minutes. Remove from flame and allow to cool down.

Heat a tawa or frying pan. Rub in a little ghee for greasing the surface.

Take a ladle of the maida batter and pour on the tawa. Roll the tawa or use the ladle to spread the batter evenly into a circle about 6 inches in diameter. Drizzle with more ghee.

Spread some of the stuffing on one half of circle. Fold the circle into half and apply gentle pressure to close the pitha ( Or one can use some of the batter as a glue ).Flip over and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Remove from flame and allow to cool down a bit. Make more such stuffed pancakes with the remaining batter and stuffing.

Now dip each pancake/pitha in the wheat flour-molasses mixture and place on a heated tawa/frying pan. Drizzle and fry each side with more ghee to get a lovely deep brown color.





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