Pithla (Besan Curry)
Pithla is a variation of Kadhi. Kadhi is made in many ways. In North India, Kadhi is made like a thick soup with pakoras dumplings. Another popular variation is Gujarati Kadhi, which is sweet and sour and made watery with a soup-like consistency. When first time I had gujrati Kadhi, I thought it was yogurt hot and spicy drink, and enjoyed very much, still my perception has not changed. Pithla, however, is thick in consistency. Sometimes I call this is Besan Ki Sabji. This is a quick and easy recipe to make. Pithla is made with few ingredients. It's also gluten-free and vegan. Traditionally Pithla is served garnished with hot ghee (clarified butter). Pithla is a complete and satisfying meal.
I always thought that Pithla was a dish from the state of Bihar. Whenever we visited our grandparents in Bihar, we would make sure to enjoy this dish. However, I've heard from friends that Pithla is also a popular dish from the state of Maharashtra. Regardless of where this dish originates from, it is one of my favorites! My mom was from Bihar and my dad was from North India. We always lived in North India. My mom's cooking was a mix of traditional Bihari and North Indian food. For me, North Indian cooking tends to be more spicy while Bihari dishes are more simple. My mom tried to adopt elements from both Bihar and North India in her dishes. Her unique blending of the foods from these very different parts of India kept her and my dad both happy. I have fond memories of enjoying Pithla. Even today, when I visit my sisters in India, they will make sure they make the dishes we used to enjoy with our mom. Of course, Pithla was one of many dishes we enjoyed! We would gather around for lunch and reminisce about our old memories while enjoying delicious Pithla served with rice. It truly is comfort food at its best!
This recipe will serve 2.
- 1 cup besan (Bengal gram flour)
- 2 Tbsp oil
- 1 tsp cumin (jeera)
- ½ tsp mustard seeds (rai)
- ⅛ tsp asafetida (hing)
- ½ tsp turmeric (haldi)
- ½ tsp red chili powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 ½ tsp mango powder (aam choor)
- 2 Tbsp cilantro (finely chopped, hara dhania)
- 4 cup water
- 2 Tbsp ghee (clarified butter, this is optional)
- ¼ tap red chili powder
In a bowl add the 1-1/2 cups of water slowly to besan to make a smooth batter (batter should be consistency of pancake batter or dosa batter).
Open the heat on medium high, oil should be moderately hot, when you add the cumin seeds to oil seeds should crack right of way.
Add cumin seeds, mustard seeds, asafetida, turmeric, and chili powder to oil, stir and turn off the heat.
Add the besan batter and open the heat to medium heat. Keep whipping the batter and batter will start thickening. Add salt and keep adding the water slowly and keep mixing about 2-1/2 cups of water. After Pithla comes to boil besan will start splattering. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and let it simmer for about 5 to 8 minutes.
Pithla will become thick, add chopped cilantro and mango powder mix and let it cook for 2 more minutes. Pithla should be quite thick in consistency that’s why sometimes I will call Pithla Besa ki Sabji.
Pithla is served hot before serving, traditionally Pithla is served garnished with hot ghee (clarified butter). And sprinkle of red chili powder. If you are vegan skip ghee, clarified butter.