Poda Pitha is a unique and authentic dish of Odia tradition which is especially made during the Raja Festival.
Poda Pitha is basically a rice and coconut cake in caramelized jaggery with a slightly burnt top with lots of coconuts, nuts and spices. Poda Pitha is also the favourite dish of Lord Jagannath which is offered to “The God of the Universe” after his every meal.
It is said Poda Pitha is the essence of Raja Fesitval and without it, the festival is tasteless and colourless. There are many variations of Poda Pitha and every Odia household has a unique recipe of its own.
There are different variants of the pitha like Janta Poda Pitha, Lau Poda Pitha, Biri Poda Pitha and Savoury Poda Pitha. However, the love for Poda Pitha transcends ages and is same among all ages of people be it old, young, children.
Traditionally Poda Pitha was used to be baked the whole night in an earthen vessel on top of the dying wooden embers in the night and served the next morning. But, you can also make it in ovens or pressure cooker. Here are two types of Poda Pitha:
Janta Poda Pitha
1. 2 cups rice flour
2. 4 cups water
3. 1 cup jaggery
4. 1/2 cup fried cashew and raisins
5. 1 /2 cup grated coconut
6. 1 /2 cup sliced coconut
7. 1/2 tablespoon black pepper powder
8. 1 teaspoon green cardamom powder
9. 1 teaspoon black cardamom powder
10. 2 bay leaf
11. 2 tablespoon ghee
12. Salt a pinch
• In a deep bottom pan take water and boil. Add jaggery to it and let it melt.
• When the jaggery powder is completely dissolved, add bay leaves, black pepper powder, both the green and black cardamom powder, salt and grated coconut and let it come to boil.
• Now add the rice flour in batches with constantly stirring so that no lumps are there. Mix it thoroughly.
• Now add the sliced coconut, fried cashew and raisins and keep cooking till the mixture thickens into a dough form.
• Switch off the flame and let the mixture cool down a little.
• Pre-heat oven at 180 for 10 minutes and grease it with the remaining ghee.
• When the dough is still warm knead it for a couple of minutes and transfer to the baking pan.
• Decorate the top with some sliced coconuts and bake for 60 minutes.
• Let the Poda Pitha cool down. Slice and serve.
Biri Poda Pitha
1. 2 cups of Rice
2. 1 cup of Urad Dal (Biri Dal)
3. 1 cup of grated coconut
4. ½ cup thin coconut slices
5. 200 gm Jaggery or Sugar
6. 50gm chopped Ginger
7. 1 cup of Cashewnut and raisins
8. 1 tablespoon ghee or refined oil
9. 1/2 teaspoon salt
10. 1 teaspoon baking powder
• Soak the rice and urad dal in water in separate bowls for at least 4 hours.
• Wash them thoroughly, and grind rice and urad dal into smooth batter separately
• Mix both the batters and then add the coconut slices, grated coconut, chopped ginger, salt, sugar & cashew nuts. And at last, add the baking powder.
• Mix all the ingredients properly and keep it covered for 2 hours for self-fermentation.
• Pre-heat oven at 180 for 10 minutes and grease it with ghee.
• Pour the batter into the tray and keep it in the oven. Keep the oven very hot for 30 minutes. Then keep it moderately hot for 30 minutes and when its colour is golden brown the Poda Pitha is ready to eat.
• Then remove the whole Poda Pitha from the oven and allow it to cool down.
• Cut it into small pieces and serve .
For Pressure Cooker
• Pre-heat the pressure cooker and add a thin layer of oil on all the inner surface of the cooker.
• Now pour the mixed batter into the cooker and close the lid (without mounting the whistle-weight).
• Place the pressure cooker in simmer flame for one hour.
• When the cooker comes to normal temperature take out the pitha carefully, cut and serve it.