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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Koat Pitha / Banana Pitha

The northeast Indian state of Nagaland obviously is the land of Nagas. The Nagas were originally referred as Naka in the Burmese language, which means "People with pierced noses". The state is covered by lush mountains and has a largely monsoon climate. 

Besides the wiki link, I found some other interesting links here  and here related to food and culture of Nagaland. One interesting link here provided me an insight into the cuisine of Nagas. I could not help from reproducing that stuff below. 

"The primary occupation of the tribes was hunting and so meat became a chief component of the Naga cuisine. The meat enjoyed by them include beef, pork, fish, chicken, crabs, frog, snail, spider, insects, bee larvae, dog, cat, rat, birds, snake, spider, monkey, bear, and even elephant. Meat of dog and other wild animals are considered a delicacy. Pork meat is highly popular in this cuisine. Pork meat cooked with bamboo shoots is a popular dish of this cuisine. Smoked meat is prepared by keeping the meat above the fire or hanging on the wall of the kitchen for 2 weeks or longer, which could last for the whole year ahead. Apart from meat, bamboo shoots, lettuce, soya beans, mustard leaves, and yam leaves are also used in cooking. These ingredients are fermented and used to make various dishes. 
Each tribe has their unique dishes and the food between any two tribes is never the same. One important feature of the Naga cuisine is that the dishes are cooked by boiling the ingredients than frying. The meat is cooked using various methods - by smoking, drying or fermenting. Fermenting food is practiced in order to preserve the food. The food item is first boiled and then dried under the sun or near the fire. It is then wrapped in a banana leaf and stored for future use. 
The cuisine of Nagaland has largely remained free from influence of other cuisines. The dishes and the food have remained same over the ages, but the use of spice has been incorporated in the cooking to offer the dishes distinct taste and flavor. Chillies have an important place in naga cuisine and the nature of the food is hot and spicy. The ginger used in the Naga cuisine is spicy, aromatic and is different from the common ginger. Various local herbs and leaves are also used to spice up the dishes.
Nagas believe that certain meats have curative powers while some others are unclean and pass on their characteristics to human beings. They believe that dog meat cures pneumonia while a snake bite is cured by consuming a fluid of earthworms. Bee larvae, snails and frogs are believed to heal the skin and bones. Women are restricted from consuming monkey meat since they think that it turns them extravagant. Pregnant women are not allowed to consume bear meat since bears are not considered smart. Tigers/ leopards were not consumed as they believed that tiger was the brother of Man when the world was created."

Now let's move towards today's recipe. Koat pitha are deep fried sweet fritters prepared using rice flour and bananas. It is popular in several of the north-east Indian states including Nagaland. In fact, it is a popular dish prepared during the Assamese bihu festival. They are subtly sweet and can be put together real quick. The  recipes I found online were almost one and the same using a cup of rice flour and jaggery each and about 6 bananas. I tried a small portion since there are not many takers for sweet dishes at home. I also added some cardamom powder for flavor.

Ingredients: (yield 8 pithas)
1 big sized banana
6 tbsp rice flour 
1/4 cup powdered jaggery
Oil to fry

Method:
* Mash the bananas well in a bowl. Add the powdered jaggery to it and mix well. Take care that no jaggery lumps are present in the mixture.
* Gradually add rice flour to the mixture and make a dough.
* Heat oil in a saute pan and drop spoonfuls of batter into it.
* Fry on medium flame until golden brown, flipping in between.
* Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent towels.



Comments

15 comments:

The Pumpkin Farm said...

since u did step by step it helps to know that they dont spread out in oil...gives more confidence...will be making them soon

Priya Suresh said...

Enjoyed making this addictive koat pitha for Mizo, they are seriously very delicious na.

Varadas Kitchen said...

They look crunchy on the outside. I am sure they are gooey on the inside with the banana. Nice one.

Nivedhanams Sowmya said...

looks so delicious... the first click reminds me of Bonda... so tempting..

Jayanthi Padmanabhan said...

i should have tried koat pitha too.. looks tempting

Srivalli said...

Your step by step really helps Suma..I wasn't sure about how the mashed banana will react to oil..good to know it works out well..:)

Harini-Jaya R said...

Did you think these pithas absorbed more oil? I felt so. I made these for Nagaland too. Loved the taste but felt guilty eating them (b'cos of the oil) :)

Gayathri Kumar said...

Koat pithas look so nice Suma. I didn't get this texture. Need to try it again...

Pavani N said...

That is quite a research you have done about Naga cuisine and their curative believes :-)
Koat pithas have come out looking perfect. Thanks for the step by step pics.

Usha said...

Interesting read on what meats women can consume. Koat pithas turned out good. Looks delicious and a nice snack.

Nalini's Kitchen said...

Simple yet delicious and flavorful koat pithas...

Chef Mireille said...

I also made these. what a sweet and delicious snack

Archana Potdar said...

Looks so delicious I wish I can pick some off the screen.

Padmajha PJ said...

Looks like you did a research on Naga cuisine!Nice dish Suma and looks great too!

vaishali sabnani said...

Some how I am not a great fan of jaggery and banana..but this state hardly has anything doable..so I guess this is the best dish..rt?..though you have done a amazing job:))