Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Chaulachuna Poda Pitha | Rice Flour Cake - Raja Festival Celebration



Raja Festival - celebration of womanhood is finally approaching which is a three-day-long festival in Odisha, normally falls upon 14th, 15th and 16th June ! The term Raja has come from Rajaswala which means a menstruating woman. In villages of Odisha, some mythologies still present that the mother goddess Earth undergoes menstruation during the first three days. So this is a festival to celebrate womanhood. Raja or swing festival is basically celebrated for a long three days and the second day signifies beginning of the season of rain. This festival basically welcomes the agricultural year all over Odisha state of Indian subcontinent. While menstruating women are isolated and forbidden to enter temples in many parts of India these day too, but this is a matter of great pride for Odisha where the Raja festival celebrates this integral aspect of womanhood.




Well, I always get bit more excited particularly for this festival among rest because, this festival comes by starting my birthday first ;) yes, for me the Raja festival is a four-day celebration as my Birthday, Pahili Raja, Raja Sankranti (Mithuna Sankranti), Bhu Daaha / Basi Raja :). The next day of Bhu Daaha is called as Vasumati Snana, on which the ladies of house bath the grinding stone (sila or silbatta) as a symbol of Bhumi with turmeric paste and adore with flower, sindoor etc. All type of seasonal fruits are offered to mother Bhumi. Generally various pithas are made for celebration like poda pitha, muan pitha, chakuli pitha, kakara pitha, arisa pitha and lots more varities too. Among all, the Poda Pitha is one of my most favorite pitha. 





Poda pitha is the most authentic and the must-to-be-prepared dish for Raja festival in all Odia households. The odia word 'Poda' means Burnt and 'Pitha' means Cake. The authentic traditional way uses the soaked rice and split urad dal mixture which is flavored with jaggery, crushed ginger, cardamom and pepper. Then that whole mixture is wrapped in banana leaves, topped with burnt charcoals and cow dung cakes and finally baked slowly in earthen wares on clay oven overnight. And in the morning, ahaaa, the whole house is filled with the smoky sweet flavor of the Poda Pitha !!! 





Now-a-days, poda pithas are being prepared in micro-oven or simply on kadhai wrapped in banana leaves. But here is a version I have come up with where there is no need of any banana leaves or any micro oven, still the authentic crust will be formed all over the pitha or cake. Also I have not used any lentil in the cake dough. Simply only the rice flour is used. The whole process is cooked over low heat. The outer crust is slightly burnt, while the inside is so soft and delicious. This dish is also offered as prasad to Lord Jagannath in the Jagannath Temple, Puri. 


So do try this Chaulachuna Poda Pitha / Rice Flour Cake for celebration soon. If you tried my recipe and enjoyed fully, then please share some pictures of your creation with me. Also kindly give your valuable feedback either in the comment box below or tag me as #firsttimercook on Instagram. You may also follow me on FacebookPinterestTwitterGoogle+Instagram and can subscribe for free to get new recipes directly into your inbox 😊




Preparation Time : 15 mins  |  Soaking Time : 4 hrs  |  Cooking Time : 1 hr


Ingredients :        

Ingredients
Measurements
Rice
2 ½ cup
Jaggery
1 cup
Coconut (grated)
¾ cup
Coconut chunk (small)
¼ cup
Bay leaf
1 no
Cardamom
3-4 no
Fennel seed
1 tbsp
Black pepper powder
½ tsp
Ginger (grated)
½ tbsp
Cashew
Few
Raisin
Few
Ghee
2-3 tbsp
Water
3 ½ cup + for soaking
Salt
½ tsp

Method :
  1. First soak rice in a mixing bowl with enough water for 4-5 hours.
  2. Then drain and spread in a plate to dry for 1-2 hours.
  3. In a blender jar take all the soaked and dried rice and make a smooth powder. Keep aside.
  4. Now in a kadhai or broad pan, heat 3 & 1/2 cup water along with jaggery.
  5. When jaggery starts to melt, add rest ingredients to the pan (press the cardamoms slightly) and allow to boil for 3-4 minutes.
  6. Next add 1-2 tbsp rice flour first and give a quick stir.
  7. Then add rest rice flour slowly while stirring continuously.
  8. A dough will form soon which will be neither thick nor thin consistency but of a smooth texture.
  9. Turn off heat and allow the dough to cool a bit.
  10. Then take a nonstick pan of 3-4 inch depth (like a kadhai / wok) and put the dough into it.
  11. Gently press the dough and make a smooth top surface using a spatula.
  12. Cover the pan with a lid tightly and allow to cook over low heat for 45-50 minutes.
  13. Then flip the pan gently over a nonstick tawa and allow to cook the opposite side (the top side which is now over the nonstick tawa) to cook for 10-15 minutes.
  14. Turn off heat and insert a knife in the center of the pitha or cake, if comes out clean then its done otherwise cook for some more minutes.
  15. Allow to cool down completely.
  16. Slice and serve these deliciously authentic Chaula-chuna Poda Pitha or Riceflour Cake from Odia Cuisine !




Notes :

  • After the dough cools down, you may knead the dough. But I have not kneaded as my dough comes out of much smooth texture after stirring.
  • Adjust the sweetness of pitha by the amount of jaggery as desired.
  • Jaggery is the authentic source of sweetness here, but sugar can be used too instead of jaggery.
  • Chhena can also be added too the dough.

PIN for later :

13 comments:

  1. Very different dessert .. would love to taste it.Looks nice.

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  2. Wowwing here, this chaulachuna poda pitha looks absolutely fabulous. Quite a new dish for me. Lovly share.

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  3. Lovely write-up on the festival and the traditions related to it Sasmita ! The recipe sounds so interesting..I wish I could taste it sometime

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  4. I loved reading about the tradition from your part of the world. India is full or traditions, rituals and beliefs. Chaulachuna poda pitha looks so delicious.

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  5. This is new to me never tried, would love to try this.

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  6. Firstly happy bday to you😋 the recipe is something new to me. Love your post!

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  7. It's good to know about the different dishes here by blogging. This is totally new to me and on my to do list.

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  8. Happy birthday Sasmita. Loved knowing about this tradition. I can imagine the taste of this rice flour cake since we use similar ingredients in Goan sweets. It looks yum :)

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  9. Looks amazing. This is very new to me but sounds so delicious.. Lovely post !

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  10. There are so many festivals in India which are unheard off. Thanks for sharing details of the festival and this unique pitha

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  11. A very unique recipe, one of it's kind...looks so tempting and delicious dear:) Would love to give it a try sometimes soon...

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  12. I have heard of this ... but never seen one in full. so happy to see this

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  13. Such a unique and interesting sweet with chenna. I can not even think of doing so much efforts you dis to make this amazing sweet.

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