Rice cakes or ‘Pitha‘ in Bengali– although are more popular as winter food item- are equally enjoyed throughout the year. There are endless varieties of these sweet items- in fact, they are not sweet all the time. Many of the pithas are very spicy and even made with traditional meat or vegetable curries & fries.
I have been brought up in a family where I got the chance to regularly & frequently visit my village home and learned a lot of pitha making techniques from my grandmother herself. She was an incredibly amazing cook! Whenever me & my family visit our village home, we have a pitha evening at our home even today. This picture was taken when I visited the home of my cousin sister-in-law for the first time last month. She entertained me with different food items and the most charming was my all time favorite ‘Narikel Puli Pitha’ or ‘Coconut Stuffed Rice Cake‘. These are very light yet very delightful as snacks.
Many of you may already know the recipe and might have had it at home.
For those who are new to it, the simplest yet perfect recipe is here:
For the Rice Cake: Make a nice dough with rice flour, oil, a pinch of salt, milk, sugar and boiling water. (you can make it simply with rice flour, salt and boiling water). Make a tortilla and cut out palm size or smaller round shapes from the tortilla.
For the stuffing: Fry finely grated coconut in oil with enough sugar to make it really sweet and fry until a little brownish (you can adjust the amount of sugar) or at least 5-7 minutes. Add a very small amount of cinnamon powder and a few cardamom pods. You must use this stuffing while hot, otherwise it will be hard and impossible to stuff within the rice cake. After frying, take out the cardamom pods (you don’t want to bite them while enjoying your light pitha).
Now take one round shape cut out of the tortilla and in the middle, put about 1/4th (or more if required) of a teaspoon of fried coconut stuffing . Don’t take too much stuffing or it will pop-out of the folded rice cake. Fold the round shape into half, giving it a half-moon shape and close the ends making a zipper like line with your finger. (you can also buy dice in the market to make this type of rice cakes, I prefer hand- have been trained from my childhood 🙂 ) Complete stuffing all the round shapes and closing all the half-moon rice cakes.
Hope you like it. Share pictures with me when you try it at home.
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