I came across poda pithe from Odisha region while searching for pancakes made across India. Poda pithe is not a savory breakfast pancake but instead is a sweet dish that is prepared on Raja Parba or Mithuna Sankranthi festival there. A batter of rice and black gram is prepared and fermented overnight. Shredded fresh coconut, jaggery/ sugar and cardamom are added to the batter just before preparing the pithe. The ground batter is poured into a thick bottomed vessel like a pressure cooker and cooked for almost an hour or so until it is set. Poda means burnt/charred in Odiya and the reference is probably towards the browned crust of the pithe.
As I was more interested in a savory version than the festive sweet, I chose to go with this version, which fit my plan. However this dish seem to be exactly on the lines of Andhra's dhibba rotte. Not a surprise considering the proximity of the two regions. If you ever have tried and liked dhibba rotte, then you are going to love the spicy version of it. They are not made thinner like the other dosa versions. They are kept on a thicker side and take a considerable amount of time to cook each pithe since they are cooked on low flame.They are soft from inside with a crispy exterior. While dhibba rotte is kept on the simple lines, these pithe are spicier and taste yummy with a chutney on the side.
Ingredients for the batter:
1 cup urad dal / black gram
2 cups idli rava or 2 cups idli rice
Salt to taste
* Soak urad dal and rava / idli rice separately for at least 3 hours.
* If using idli rice, grind urad dal and idli rice together until very smooth, adding only as much water as needed. The batter should be very thick like idli batter. If using rava, then grind urad dal adding little water very finely. Drain all the water from the rava and add it to the urad dal and run the grinder / blender for a couple of minutes to mix them together.
* Remove the batter, add salt and let it ferment overnight in a warm place.
Ingredients for the poda pithe:
2 cups batter prepared from the above step / idli batter
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. grated ginger
1 -2 green chillies, finely chopped (adjust the quantity according to the taste)
2 tbsp. fresh shredded coconut
10 curry leaves, roughly chopped
2 tbsp. oil
* Add cumin seeds, ginger, chillies, coconut and curry leaves to the fermented batter. Mix well to combine.
* Heat 1 - 2 Tbsp of oil in a kadai (or any concave shaped pan) or any thick bottomed deep vessel and pour about 2 cups of the batter into it. I think non-stick kadai works awesome for this recipe, especially for novice cooks.
* Cover and cook on low flame until the bottom side turns golden brown.
* Flip it and cook for a few minutes more until the other side cooks too.
(I was busy with something else in the kitchen and so went with the lowest heat setting possible on my gas stove and it took me around 50 - 60 minutes to cook for this quantity batter.)* Remove, slice into wedges and serve with chutney.
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