Pithlu/Besan ka sabji
THEME: #217 KHAALI FRIDGE
Does the theme title sound absolutely weird? It does but its one that Renu who blogs at Cook With Renu, decided that we should put on our thinking caps. As for me as soon as the theme was chosen, I knew that Pithlu or besan ka sabji is what I’m going to make. So what is the theme all about? Well, Renu wanted us to presume that we have no vegetables in the fridge or pantry and still are suppose to put a simple and yet filling meal on the table. In reality, getting or ordering take away is a much better option. Before I tell you more about the dish I prepared, my friend Renu has a wonderful blog with recipes ranging from bakes to Indian dishes. I recently tried out her Instant Tomato Rasam which turned out so delicious. It helped to clear up my achy throat. I want to try out her recipe for Ragi Mudde, a typical Karnataka breakfast and the healthier all lentil Split Green Moong Dal Idli.
Can one prepare a Vegetarian meal without vegetables?
Most definitely you can. In this text I will mainly refer to the Indian Cuisine. Years back when irrigation systems were not available, farmers depended entirely on the rains natural streams, wells and stored water for their crops. While rainy season and winters meant an abundance of vegetables in most parts of India, summer was another story altogether. Deserts and semi arid areas could not grow vegetables, and preserved, frozen or canned vegetables were not readily available. This meant that people had to depend on lentils, grains and pulses that were stored in cool parts of the house in big earthen pots during harvest time. I remember seeing those huge pots with rice, wheat and lentils at my maternal grandparents home in the village. Most lentils were prepared with vegetable during the dry season and served with rice or rotis. Pithlu, dal dokhri without vegetables, khatta moong, made with yogurt, vadi nu shaak made with sun dried lentil dumplings are some the dishes made when vegetables are scarce. These are served with bhakri, roti, paratha, rotla or rice to make a complete meal.
What is Pithlu?
Pithlu is a very easy dish that comes together in a matter of under five minutes. Its made from chickpea flour also known as gram flour, besan or chana no lot. This gluten free curry, sabji or shaak does not require much ingredients. Few spices like turmeric, mustard and cumin seeds are added along with fresh ginger and green chillis. Similar recipes exist both in the Rajasthani and Maharashtrian cuisines known as besan ka sabji and pithla respectively.
Can you add onion and garlic?
Most certainly you can if its available. Chop the onion and stir fry it in the oil after the mustard and cumin seeds sizzle. Stir fry till it becomes soft. Then add the flour.
Add garlic along with the ginger and chilli.
What if green chilli and ginger are not available?
You can add red chili powder and a bit of ginger powder.
Can I make a vegan version of pithlu?
Yes, you can, just omit yogurt from the recipe.
My recipe source
My hubby’s aunt, mamiji would make pithlu often. The first time she made it for us was when we decided to visit them one evening. She insisted that we stay for dinner. I was a bit hesitant as she had not prepared anything. “Let’s go into the kitchen and prepare the meal while the men talk”, she said. I was wondering when will we have dinner if we start cooking now. It was nearly 8p.m. She asked me to get the dough for the paratha ready while she took out the chickpea flour and began cooking that in a wide pan. As I watched her, I was wondering what she was making. I asked her and she replied “Pithlu”. What is pithlu I asked her and she simply replied that taste it first. Pithlu was ready in no time. We made the parathas and within 15 minutes dinner was served. This simple dish was the yummiest.
Ever since I learnt this easy recipe from mamiji, I make it sometimes to accompany a vegetable side dish. I’ve even made it with onion and garlic and it tastes awesome. It tastes best with paratha or bhakri.
So let’s get to the easy recipe for this gluten free, satvik or Jain Pithlu.
What is Jain food?
Whenever you read Jain food it means that the food is prepared without any vegetables that grow underground like potatoes, carrots, ginger, onion, garlic etc.
PITHLU / BESAN KA SABJI
½ cup chickpea flour (besan, gram flour, chana no lot)
2 tbsp oil
½ tsp mustard seeds (rai)
½ tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
¼ tsp asafetida (hing)
¼ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
½ tsp salt
1¼ cup water
½ cup plain yogurt (optional)
1 tsp ginger paste
½ – 1 tsp green chilli paste
1-2 tbsp fresh chopped coriander
- Heat oil in a wide pan over medium heat.
- Add mustard and cumin seeds.
- As soon the seeds begin to pop and sizzle, add asafetida.
- Add chickpea flour and lower the heat.
- Stir fry the flour till it begins to bubble and turns slightly pinkish.
- Add ginger, chilli pastes, salt and turmeric powder.
- Mix well and add the water.
- Keep stirring till the pithlu becomes thick.
- Add yogurt and mix well.
- Add chopped coriander.
- Serve immediately with bhakri, paratha or rotla.
- Make sure you let the flour roast well in the oil over low heat otherwise you’ll get a raw taste.
- Low heat is essential or else the flour will burn.
- Keep stirring the mixture after you add water to avoid any lumps.
- Add curry leaves in the oil along with the flour if you like.
A little request:
If you do try this recipe then please either
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