For us , the Bangali , winter is the season for “pitha-Puli ” . We have at least hundreds of different varities of pitha. Most of the pithas are either seasonal or occasional. Some are associated with harvest festival (nobanno) in winter while some others are prepared for any special occasion like wedding, eid or puja. Some are crunchy, some are steamed and some are so delightfully soaked in sugar syrup, molasses syrup , milk or date palm sap . Most of them are sweet, though there are some savory pithas too.
Bhapa pitha is one of the most popular pitha in Bangladesh , made of rice flour , coconut and jaggery stuffed inside !! Surely the piece of happiness !!
1 cup parboiled rice ( I took parboiled basmoti)
2 tbl spoon store bought rice flour
Pinch of salt
Liquid milk+ water mixed (around 1/3 rd cup)
For the filling :
Grated fresh coconut
Jaggery ( I prefer khejur gur , molasses from silver date palm)
You can use any savory filling too , instead of coconut and jaggery , like meat , fish , or even veggies)
1. Soak the rice overnight or at least 5/6 hours .
2. Drain the water and let the rice drained out well .
3. Now grind it in a grinder or coffee grinder . add the store bought rice flour with it .
4. Mix some water and milk . Don’t take too much . Around 1/3 rd cup . Add salt and sprinkle water+milk in a way that the flour must seem wet , not dry at all .Neither it should look like batter. Don’t add the liquid at a time . You may not need that much liquid . If the flour binds together if you hld some of them in your palm , the flour is ready . It must not be dry that it doesn’t hold together . If the flour is dry, the pitha will break apart .
5. Now sieve the flour through the stariner . Take two pieces of clean cotton cloth and two small bowls .
6 . In the bowl spread some flour , then add the coconut and jaggery . Cover it with another layer of flour . Even it . Don’t press too much or else ,it will break down while placing it for steaming . Cover it with a piece of cloth and put in the steamer. Tap the bowl slightly , so that you can remove the bowl easily . Remove the bowl and cover the pitha with the remaining ends of the cloth .
7. Steam for 4/5 minutes . Prepare the same way using the the other bowl and cloth . You remove one pitha and place another . For steaming I don’t have that specific utensil for making bhapa pitha . Any steamer will do . I sometimes use
the Chinese bamboo steamer . You can do more than one at a time . Some times I just take a small saucepan with water and place a large metal strainer or large slotted spoon over it , so that it covers the face of the utensil . Boil the water and steam the bhapa pitha on it . But you must put the lid on while steaming .
These are the utensils , I used for steaming . You can use any of the method .