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Showing posts with label Raja Parba. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Raja Parba. Show all posts

Monday, June 12, 2017

Sugarfree Lau Poda Pitha

Pithas are the mainstay of Odia festive food. And Raja is just another occasion to reinforce the fact that we Odia's love our pitha . From the sweet to the savory, and from the frugal to the opulent, there is a pitha for every budget and every occasion.

Though I personally prefer the savory ones over the sweetened variety, the Lau Poda pitha is one of my favorite Pithas. And according to a story that dates back to my childhood days, I ended up burning my forearm trying to get it out of the hot oven, In fact I still have a burn mark (though it has lightened considerably over time) to vouch for the authenticity of this tale.

In those days, it was my grandmother who prepared the pitha and she used to make this one in a round electric oven with a glass window on top. The whole contraption used to glow red during the time it was being operated. And it was a real magnet for a curious kid like me. You can very well decipher the rest of the tale.

Quite easy to prepare and with the additional health benefits of bottle gourd puree, I opted for a Sugarfree version this Raja as my MIL is diabetic. But one can use sugar or jaggery as one pleases.

[ IMPORTANT - For more Pitha recipes, click HERE ]

Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 1 hour

Ingredients -
  • 1 3/4 cup Chaula chuna (rice flour)
  • 3 cups Bottle gourd chunks
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut slices
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 tsp freshly pepper powder
  • 1/5 tsp salt
  • 6-7 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp ghee

Preparation - Peel and cook the bottle gourd pieces for 1 whistle. Once steam escapes, drain off the water and puree the boiled bottle gourd.

Cooking - Take the bottle gourd puree in a wok and cook it on a low flame for 4-5 minutes before adding the milk.

Once the mixture gets bubbling, add the rice flour, salt and sugar. Cook till it gets to a dough like consistency.

Remove from the flame before adding the cardamom powder, pepper powder, ghee and coconut slices. Mix in and keep aside till it reaches a bearable temperature.

Rub ghee on your palms and start kneading it thoroughly for 5 mins.

Grease a baking dish. Press the dough into it and drizzle some ghee on top.

Preheat for 10 mins at 180 degrees.

Place the baking dish in the oven and bake at 180 degrees till a reddish crust forms.

Remove and keep aside till it cools down. Cut into pieces.

Serve cold. Tastes best the next day and can be refrigerated for up to one week.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Celebrating Raja Day 1 : (with) Janta Poda Pitha

Raja Sankranti ( or Swing festival) or "Mithuna Sankranti" is the first day of the month of 'Asadha' from which the season of rains starts. It augurs the start of the rains which brings joy to the farmers.The first day is called "Pahili Raja" , second is "Raja" (Raja Sankranti) and third is "Basi Raja" or "Raja basi" (Basumati Snana). It is more popularly celebrated in the Coastal districts of Orissa.

As per the popular legend, all three days of the festival are considered to be the
menstruating period of Mother Earth. During this festival all agricultural operations remain suspended. It is a festival mainly for the unmarried girls. They observe all the restrictions prescribed for a menstruating woman as in olden times. They take a oil-bath on the first day and wear new clothes. For the rest 2 days bathing or combing the hair is a taboo. Married women also observe the same rules for Raja during the first year of their marriage.

Swing are put up on Mango & Banyan trees at different places in the villages and cities. These days one can see the swings being put up in different clubs or colonies in BBSR or cuttack. 'Poda pitha' is the main delicacy prepared during Raja . Other varieties of pithas are also prepared and distributed among relatives and friends.

This year Raja is being celebrated from 14th to 16th June. Please do visit this space for a new pitha recipe everyday.

Here goes my delicacy for day 1 :

Janta Poda pitha

Cooking Time Required: 1 hour
Cost of Preparation: 60-70 Rupees

Ingredients: Broken Basmati rice ( 1 1/2 cups ), 1/2 cup thinly sliced coconut, milk ( 3 cups ), water ( 1 cup ),
pepper powder ( 1/5 tsp ), cardamon powder ( 1/4 tsp ), sugar ( 4-5 tsp ), salt ( 1/4 tsp ).

For the pura : Coconut ( finely grated, 1 no ), fresh chenna ( 1 cup ), sugar ( 3 tsp ), raisins ( 1/2 cup ), ghee ( 1 tsp ).

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.

Grate the coconut.

Cooking: Bring the milk and water to boil. Add salt, sugar, cardamon and pepper powder. Add the rice flour in small batches and mix continuously so that no lumps are formed. Finally add the coconut slices.

Stir the mixture on a low flame for about 10 minutes till it takes on a softer
consistency than the dough used for making rotis . 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 still warm dough for 5 mins to make it smoother.

Heat a pan. Add ghee followed by the raisins and stir fry for 1 minute. Add grated
coconut and sugar at this stage. Fry for 5-6 minutes and remove from the stove.

Line a baking tray with foil. Spread a little ghee on the foil and add a layer of the dough about 1.5 cm thick. Spread a layer of the pura or coconut stuffing over it ( 0.5 cm thick ). Cover it with another layer of the dough ( 1 cm thick ). Spread about 1/3 tsp of ghee over it.

Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees. Put in the baking tray and bake at a temperature of 150 degrees for 40 minutes. Do not overdo it as the pitha should remain soft and should not harden .

Remove from the oven and allow to cool down for 1 hour.

Serve with kheer or alu dum/ghuguni/dalma. ( The poda pitha is not overly sweet and
hence it goes well with the curries.)

Note: The rice flour should be used within 2-3 days.

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