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Friday, November 21, 2014

Biri Gojja ( A Steamed savoury delicacy )

Biri Gojja is one of the very few savoury pithas that I have ever tasted/tried. While most of the Odia pithas are more or less on the sweeter side, some like the saru chakuli, poda pitha (the Western Odisha version), sada enduri (without stuffing) and biri gojja fall into the exceptions category. Since I do not have a sweet tooth, I am naturally inclined towards the latter and love to have then with a nice curry like Ghuguni, alu dum or even Mutton/Chicken curry.

The biri gojja can be described as similar to a sijha/sukhla manda with an steamed 'biri bara' kind of stuffing. Biri or black lentil is ground into a thick batter and seasoned with various spices before being stuffed into the pitha. This recipe belongs to the Salepur/Padmapur region of Odisha and not many people know about it. However my in-laws belong to that region and my  MIL's sister churns out the most lip-smacking gojja's ever. Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 1 hour

Ingredients -

  • 1 1/2 cups raw rice 
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ghee

For the stuffing -

  • 2/3 cup black lentil/biri (skinless)
  • 1-2 finely chopped green chilis
  • 1 sprig curry leaves (finely chopped)
  • coarsely crushed black pepper
  • salt to taste

Preparation: Soak the rice for 10-15 mins. Wash and drain all the water ( Use a colander, do not dry under the fan or the sun ). Put in a grinder and grind into a fine powder.

Wash and soak the black lentil for 2-3 hours. Grind into a smooth and thick paste. Season it with salt, pepper, curry leaves and green chilis.

Cooking: Bring the water to boil. Add salt. Add the rice flour in small batches and mix continuously so that no lumps are formed.

Stir the mixture on a low flame for about 15 minutes till it takes on a softer consistency than the dough used for making rotis. Sprinkle the ghee and mix in . Switch off the flame at this stage.

Allow the dough to cool down a few degrees till it is tolerable. Rub ghee all over your hands and knead the dough for 5 mins to make it smoother.

Rub some more oil over your hands. Pinch small lumps out of the dough. Roll each lump into a ball and gently pat it to flatten it out into a circle. Put some of the black lentil dough on one half of the circle and fold the other half over it. Press it gently to close on the sides but keep the middle portion slightly open. (This ensures that the batter gets cooked thoroughly during steaming).

Boil water in a idli maker/steamer. Spread some banana leaves/thin cloth over the idli plates. Put the gojjas/dumplings over the leaf/cloth. Close the lid and steam 25-30 mins. Allow to stand with lid covered for 5-10 mins.

Take out of the idli vessel/steamer and serve warm.

Note: When adding the rice flour to milk and water, pass it through a sieve to avoid any lumps. It is important to work with the dough while it is hot else it loses its elasticity .


  1. Do we fry the Biri stuffing with chillies and other items before stuffing it inside the dough or just use it raw by mixing the other ingredients?

  2. Do I use the Biri stuffing raw or fry it with salt, pepper, curry leaves and green chilis before putting the stuffing in the dough?

    1. You do not have to fry it. Just mix everything like we do when we make bara/vada and then put about a spoonful of the biri batter inside the flattened circle made from rice dough. When you steam it, the biri stuffing gets cooked along with the outer layer .

  3. Thank You. Will try this on Sunday. I have been searching for this recipe for so long...finally got it here :)


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