EVENT: SHHH COOKING SECRETLY
THEME: ODIA PITHA
RECIPE: CHANDRAKANTI PITHA
Chandrakanti Pitha is a delicious dessert which is traditionally made in the Ganjam district of Odisha. Made from soaked moong dal and rice batter, the outer part is crispy and the inside soft and not too sweet.It tastes like moong halwa but with a crispy coating. One has the option to cut the cooked and set batter into any shape one desires. I stuck to the traditional square pieces. Alternately one can shape them into balls before deep frying.
A bit about Pitha
Pitha is not restricted to the state of Odisha only. One can find different kind of pitha in Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Assam. Pitha is a type of food which can be sweet or savory. It can be like thin pancakes, dumplings or fritters. They are either fried, steamed, baked or made like pancakes. I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy steamed Bihari style pitha which my neighbor in Bangalore loves to make for breakfast. There is a very wide selection of Pitha that one can enjoy. However, as per the theme, this time we are sticking to Odia Pitha.
When Sasmita suggested the theme Odia Pitha, I immediately got in touch with my daughter’s BFF and asked her mum for help. So many suggestions poured in, leaving me in a total state of confusion as to which one to try out. As Sasmita rightly put it “BARA MASA RE TERA PARBA” which means for 12 months we have 13 festivals. For each festival pitha is prepared.
I jumped from chakuli pitha, to poda pitha and finally settled for sooji kakara pitha. However those didn’t turn out too well, don’t know where I went wrong so changed to Chandrakanti Pitha. I haven’t given up on the sooji kakara pitha. I am sure one of my blogger friends from the group will make it and I will just follow their recipe.
For Chandrakanti Pitha yellow moong dal and rice are soaked in water for at least 6 hours. Then both are ground into a batter using little water. The batter is then cooked in a pan with little ghee, sugar and cardamom powder till it becomes thick. This thick batter is then allowed to set in a tray or plate. The set batter is then cut into pieces and deep fried. I followed the recipe as shown on Mrunalinee’s You Tube.
Chandrakanti Pitha is especially made during Diwali.
Check Out The Type Of Odia Pitha My Blogger Friends Made For the Theme:
Khira Gaintha by Jayashree is where rice balls are cooked in milk and served chilled.
Nadia Pura Chakuli Pitha. Seema suggests that you enjoy this pitha with some dalma.
Enduri Pitha which Shobha made are steamed in turmeric or banana leaves.
A bit about the group:
Every month a new theme is chosen by members. Then the participants are paired up. In turn, they give each other 2 secret ingredients to use in their recipe which is prepared fitting the theme. As soon as their dish is ready, the photo is shared on our Facebook group and other try and guess the secret ingredients. Finally, towards the end of the month the recipe is shared on the group. Furthermore, this way members get to know each other and interact with each other.
This Month’s Theme
For the month of May we approached Sasmita who blogs at First Timer Cook to suggest the theme. Being an Odia, she has so many Odisha recipes on her blog which are worth checking out. She suggested Odia Pitha and we were thrilled that we got the opportunity to out a totally different kind of cuisine. I’ve had the opportunity to taste Budha Chakuli from the Jagarnath Temple as prasadam. I sure would like to try the pitha out following Sasmita’s recipe.
My partner this month is Seema who blogs at Mildly Indian. What I like about Seema’s blog is how she is able to sometimes use some rarely heard of ingredients to create a delicious meal like wattle. She makes molasses wattle seed cake. Give her a bitter ingredient and she will sweeten it like in the Mango Bitter Melon Salad.Don’t you think that is amazing?
With rice and coconut that I suggested to her, she made yummy and tempting Nadia Pura Chakuli Pitha. With my first disaster recipe where Seema had suggested semolina, I had to ask her to change the ingredient. She gave me moong dal and ghee which worked out perfectly well for the Chandrakanti Pitha recipe.
Ingredients Required For Chandrakanti Pitha:
- Moong Dal – the yellow variety, without the skin.
- Rice – any of your choice. I took normal basmati rice.
- Ghee – clarified butter. Try not to replace the ghee as that gives it the distinct flavor. To add to the batter and also for greasing the tray.
- Cardamom Powder – elachi powder.
- Salt – to balance the sweetness.
- Sugar – normal white sugar.
- Water – enough to soak the moong dal and rice. Also just a little for grinding the rice and moong dal. And some for cooking the moong dal rice mixture.
- Oil – for deep frying.
- 1 cup moong dal
- ¼ cup rice
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tsp cardamom powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 1½ cup water
- oil for deep frying
- ½ cup water for grinding
- extra ghee for greasing
SOAKING AND GRINDING:
- Soak rice and moong dal separately in water for about 6 hours.
- Drain out the water from the moong dal using a sieve and wash the dal.
- Do the same with the rice. Don't mix them.
- Add the soaked moong dal to a blender jug with about ¼ cup water. Grind to a paste which is not too fine or too coarse.
- Pour out into a mixing bowl.
- Add rice to the blender jug with some water. Grind to a fine paste.
- Add it to the moong dal paste. Mix well.
COOKING THE BATTER:
- Add about 1½ cups water in a wide pan. Bring the water to a boil.
- Add salt, cardamom powder, 1 tbsp ghee. Mix till the ghee melts.
- Add sugar and mix. Simmer till the sugar melts. We don't want a syrup so don't over boil the mixture.
- Add the moong dal rice paste to the simmering water.
- At this stage you must constantly stir the mixture for about 5-8 minutes till the batter begins to thicken.
- Add remaining tablespoon of ghee and keep on mixing till the mixture begins to leave the sides of the pan.
- Grease a steel plate with rim or a tray with some ghee.
- Transfer the moong rice batter to the plate or tray.
- Using a spatula, make a layer about an inch deep.
- Grease your fingers with ghee and pat the moong rice mixture evenly.
- Allow it to set and cool down.
- Grease a sharp knife with some ghee. Cut the set paste into squares.
- Heat oil for deep frying in a wok or kadai over medium heat.
- Add a small piece of the pitha to the hot oil. If it sizzles and comes up immediately then the oil is ready.
- Add a few pitha squares to deep fry. Lower the heat and allow the squares to fry for a minute or two without disturbing them.
- Using a spoon or slotted ladle, turn the pitha over carefully.
- Deep fry them till they are golden brown in colour.
- Remove from the oil onto a plate which is lined with kitchen towel so it can absorb the excess oil. Use a slotted spoon or ladle to remove the pith from the oil.
- Repeat the process with the remaining squares.
- Serve hot Chandrakanti pitha.
- Use minimum amount of water to grind the rice and moong dal. If the batter is too watery, it will take longer to cook.
- Allow the cooked mixture to set well before cutting into pieces. Can cut them in any shape you like. Can also shape them into balls.
- When you add sugar to the hot water mix till the sugar melts. Don't over boil the mixture as we are not preparing a sugar syrup.
- Some people add fresh grated coconut to the mixture.
- Don't be tempted to fry the pitha over high heat.
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