Pithla – humble, easy and quick dish from the Maharashtrian cuisine.
Pithla is a staple food of rural Maharashtra and is often referred to as a farmer’s meal. It is a smooth, creamy curry made of gram flour (besan) and is traditionally served with bhakris. The dry version of pithla is called zunka, which also pairs excellently with bhakri.
Pithla is a simple, quick and easy dish that is made when one is in a hurry or when one runs out of vegetables or when one wants something simple to eat. All one has to do is make a paste of besan, make a tempering of oil, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, hing, green chillies, curry leaves, onion, add besan paste and cook till done, stirring continuously to attain a lump free, creamy consistency. Pithla-bhakri or pithla bhaat with mirchi thecha and onions are comfort food to most Maharashtrians.
Though traditionally served with bhakris, it tastes great with chapatis and rice too. Here is the recipe for the humble Pithla.
1 cup gram flour (besan)
1 large onion, finely chopped (pyaaz)
4 green chillies (hari mirch)
4 to 5 cloves of garlic (lehsun)
2 tbsp oil (tel)
1 tsp mustard seeds (rai/sarso)
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1 tsp asafoetida (hing)
few curry leaves (kadi patta)
1 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
salt as per taste (namak)
½ cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped (hara dhaniya)
- In a mixing bowl, add besan and a cup of water.
- Mix well to make a smooth mixture without any lumps. Keep aside.
- Into a mortar and pestle, add garlic and 2 green chillies. Crush them well. Keep this aside.
- Heat a pan. Add oil, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, hing and curry leaves.
- Saute it for few seconds.
- Now, add chopped onions.
- Saute and cook till the onions turn soft.
- Add garlic- green chillies paste and mix well.
- Now, add the besan mixture while simultaneously stirring the mixture, on a low flame.
- Add around 2 cups of water and mix well.
- Add turmeric powder and salt.
- Keep stirring the mixture continuously on low flame to avoid any lump formation.
- Cook until the mixture starts thickening.
- Cover with a lid and cook for 8 to 10 minutes on a low flame.
- After 8 to 10 minutes, open the lid and mix well.
- Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot with jowar bhakri/ bajra bhakri or rice
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