Now you might be wondering what this dish is, right?! Well, ghila pitha is a sweet dish made during Bihu festivals in Assam. When I searched for traditional Assamese recipes made during Bihu, this was one of the dishes that is prepared. And, when I gave it a try, it came out so well that I wanted to share it immediately with all of you!
Bohaag Bihu marks the arrival of spring season and it is a week long festival. There are actually three types of Bihu – Bohaag (celebrated in mid April), Maag (celebrated in the mid of January) and Kaati (celebrated in the mid of October). The Bohaag Bihu , also called ‘Rongaali Bihu’ marks a new year and the beginning of the seeding time. All these festivals occur according to the farming schedule.
So, why did I choose to make this dish among the others? Simply because I had ingredients available only for this! I know that this is a silly reason to give but lockdown has made it a lot difficult to buy things. Plus, I didn’t want to go out often and I advice you also to follow the same!
Anyways, that is how I ended up doing this dish. Ghila Pitha is made with very simple ingredients – rice flour and jaggery. It kind of has a similar taste to namma ooru ‘Adhirasam’. The difference is that adhirasam is actually quite soft whereas ghila pitha is crispy on the outside and soft inside. Also, sometimes, adhirasam requires resting the batter for 1 or 2 days whereas this can be made instantly. Ghila pitha is traditionally made by soaking the rice and then grinding them into a powder. In my recipe I have made it using rice flour that was readily available.
Ghila Pitha is so called because of its knee-cap sized shapes. Knee cap is called ‘Ghila’ in Assamese. Pitha is a special class of rice preparation generally made only on special occasions like Bihu. Assamese pithas are often made from bora saul, a special kind of glutinous rice, or xaali saul, or sun-dried rice. So, prepare these delicious ghila pithas and relish them with your entire family. Happy Rongaali Bihu to all! Happy cooking and eating!
Has meal planning been a little bit difficult during this lockdown? Look through my No Veggies, 21-Day Lockdown Series for ideas on what to cook during this lockdown.
- 1 cup rice flour
- 3/4 cup grated jaggery
- 1/4 cup water
- a pinch of baking soda
- oil, for deep frying
- Take the rice flour in a mixing bowl.
- Heat water in a pan until warm and melt the jaggery in the warm water.
- When the jaggery has melted completely, add a pinch of baking soda to it.
- Pour the melted jaggery mixture through a strainer into the mixing bowl.
- Form a wet dough.
- Meanwhile, heat some oil in a kadai for deep frying.
- Oil your palms, take a small portion of the dough, make a ball and then flatten it slightly as shown.
- When the oil is hot, drop these flattened balls into the oil and fry them on a medium heat.
- Fry them evenly until they turn golden brown from all sides.
- Serve warm as a dessert or as a snack.
- Stir the jaggery in the water until it dissolves completely.
- After rolling and flattening the dough, make a small dip in the center before frying. This is done to ensure even frying.
- Fry them until they turn crispy on the outside while they still remain soft inside.
- Because the dough is sticky, always brush some oil before making the dough balls.
- Baking soda is optional and you can also omit it.
- To add more flavor, lemon or orange zest can be used while making the dough.