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Poda Pitha

Raja is a unique festival of Orissa. It is celebrated for 3 days continuously, as Pahiliraja, Raja Sankranti and Bhuin daana. Young girls wear new clothes and put Alaktaka in their feet on the occasion.  Swings (  dolies or dolas )  are put into action for these three days. Celebration of raja is one of the oldest tradition of Orissa. It is celebrated in the month of June and its the best time for friends and families to get together.


As a kid we would visit my grandparents during summer vacation and conveniently Raja falls in the same time. Meeting all our cousins after almost a year, wearing new clothes, playing on the swings in the mango gardens and enjoying great food were the main attractions.


The most important dish of raja festival is Poda Pitha. As today is pahili raja I decided to make one for me and Tanmaya.


Ingredients: 

  1. Rice Flour: 1 cup
  2. Suji: 1 cup
  3. Water: 3 cups
  4. Milk: 1 cup
  5. Curd: 1/2 cup
  6. Grated Coconut: 1/2 Cup
  7. Jaggery/Sugar: 1 cup (adjust to your taste)
  8. Bay Leave: 2
  9. Ginger: 1 inch finely chopped
  10. Cashew: handful
  11. Salt: 1 pinch
  12. Oil/Ghee: for coating the baking dish

Procedure:


To prepare the rice flour I soaked 1/2 cup of rice for 1 hour, drained the water and let it try. Then made a fine powder out of it. Store bought rice powder generally does not have enough starch in it so it does not hold well.
In a bowl mix the rice powder and suji together and keep it aside,
In a pot bring 3 cups of water to a boil, add a pinch of salt and sugar to it.
Add the milk to it and let it boil for a couple of minutes.
Add the grated coconut, ginger and bay leaves and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add the cashews and mix well.
Slowly add the the rice powder and suji stirring continuously in order to avoid any lumps.
When you finish adding the rice flour and suji keep string till the mix reaches the consistency of a thick pancake batter.
Remove from heat and stir in the curd and mix well. The batter would not be as runny as a cake mix but not as thick as cookies. Try to find a middle ground. More towards the thicker side
Coat a baking dish with oil/ghee and pour in the mix and pressure it with a spatula so that it takes the shape of the container.
Preheat the oven to 350F and bake the batter for 45 minutes.
Let it cool down in the oven so that if some portion is still uncooked it will get cooked in the heat.
Once cooled removed to a plate and cut it into individual portions. It ready to be served.




I hope you make and enjoy this amazing dish from Orissa and do let me know how your turned out.
Till then Happy Blogging
Rakhee.

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