The harvest festival of Assam celebrated in the month of January means the closure of the harvesting season. A makeshift hut referred to as Bhela Ghor or Meji , prepared from straw, hay, dried banana leaves and wood is lit in the early morning of Bihu where fire God is worshipped. This Bihu is celebrated with community feast throughout every household for vanishing negativity and blessing the land with better harvest for the nest year. People make pithas (rice cakes) with the sticky riceflour, called Borasaul in Assamese, ladoos and jolpan with extra love and care. Borasaul is first washed, drained and then dried. Women gather together to grind the dried Borasaul to make riceflour in the home-made wooden mill called “dheki” or in the traditional wooden instrument known as urol before making pitha, as shown in the respective pictures below. But you can also use mixer-grinder for preparing lesser amount of pithas..
However, now-a-days people prefers to purchase pithas from the stalls. But why buy if you know the methods of preparing these ? Let’s try them out. Also, all the required ingredients are easily available in the markets. So, presenting here’s the procedures of making and rhe types of the top fifteen appetizing pithas of Assam for you to prepare and taste during Magh Bihu .You may measure the amount of the ingredients of your own.
The most popular and flavourful pitha that is very easy to prepare. In every Assamese household, you will get to eat this during Bihu. In the first place, gently fry grated fresh coconut along with sugar without use of any oil. In another hot flat frying pan, try to form a medium sized perfect disc of sticky riceflour on a low flame using a serving spoon. Now little-by-little put one tablespoon of fried coconut in one half of the disc in the pan and carefully fold its other half to form a half-moon shaped figure. Finally press the edge of the half-moon-figure to seal the coconut and hence the mouth-watering pitha that is exceptionally good is ready to be tasted .
This is one of the most lip smacking pitha that is being relished by almost everyone in Assam ! At first,wash the black sesame seeds and allow it to dry thoroughly. Thenafter roast it until you get a nice aroma. Grind the fried sesame seeds thoroughly. Then liquefy jiggery in water on a medium flame and slowly add the grinded sesame into it making a thick paste. You may now repeat the procedure used in the narikol pitha to make the circled sticky riceflour disc. On it, carefully add the paste in the form of a straight line and lightly roll it as shown in the picture. And yes, not to forget , rolling to correct thickness matters! Henceforth delicious tilor pitha is ready to be served !
You can’t miss out this scrumptious pitha ! Firstly prepare a thin batter of available riceflour (not sticky) and water and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Now add two to three tablespoons of mustard oil in a hot flat frying pan. On it, add the batter in the form of a disc with one serving spoon on medium flame. Addition of coriander leaves and finely chopped onions into it makes the flavour pop up .Cover it with a lid for half a minute on low flame. Likewise, cook the other side of the pitha for a minute. Finally it is ready and this one goes very well with a cup of tea !
Here comes this toothsome pitha and you just can’t say no to it ! Seriously ! Nothing can beat this unique pitha. So, here ,again you can follow the steps to prepare the thin riceflour batter. Now, prepare a mixture of fried grated coconut and sugar. So spread the batter in the hot flat frying pan two-three tablespoons of mustard oil. On it add the mixture and cover it with a lid for a few seconds. On removing the lid, carefully bring the left side of the pitha over the fried coconut mixture and then bring the right side of the pitha towards its left and leave it for few seconds . Paired with tea, this pitha is a true delight that will definitely tickle your taste buds!
This luscious pitha that has seriously a rich and unique taste will melt in your mouth !The combination here of soft bottlegourd and the sweet jaggery give an undoubtedly heavenly taste. At the outset of preparation, cut the bottlegourd into very fine pieces and boil it in water for just two-three minutes. Make sure the bottlegourd remains in the solid form. Make a dough of the boiled bottlegourd and fried grated coconut and prepare small balls out of it. Gently fry it in a hot frying pan. Now , in a different pan, liquefy jiggery in water and then slowly add the prepared balls into the hot jaggery one by one on medium flame for about three-four minutes so that the balls absorbs the jiggery well enough to produce an amazing taste and then let it cool for sometime .Separate the balls along with some hot liquid jaggery from the pan and feel the perfect treat to the tongue !
This is very easy to prepare and will definitely turn out to be palatable to you. All you need to do is to make long fat balls of available riceflour with water and a pinch of salt or sugar , according to your taste. Now boil some water in a saucepan on a high flame and carefully add the balls one by one. You will get to see the gradually puffed up balls. Slowly separate the balls from the saucepan and allow it to cool. Thereby, the pitha is all set and hence it is as simple as that!
This is a festive delight and is a special favourite in Assamese kitchen. You have to prepare kheer by adding a little amount of available rice flour and sugar and keep steering in milk on a medium flame untill whole of the riceflour absorbs the milk as shown in the picture below. You may add cardamom sees in it for some extra flavour. Now, on a flat hot frying pan, spread one serving spoon of rice flour in a disc shape. On it add kheer to one half of the disc and slowly bring the other end to close its mouth and press the edge to seal the kheer.
One of the most distinctive and famous pithas called the sunga pitha is a gourmet Assamese delicacy .Here’s a brief and understandable recipe with simple procedures. It has actually a very easy process . Add sticky rice to the bamboo stick and shut the mouth of the bamboo stick with hay. Carefully put these sticks in fire till cooked. You can feel the taste of these bamboo cakes by having it with cream, curd and jaggery.
POKUWA PITHA / JUN PITHA
This pitha is a vibrant and an exotic Assamese snack. It is an awesome festive sweet of the culture. Here, you need to knead wheat flour dough and roll it to small flat circles. You have to make sure that the doughs must not be sticky or loose, but a tight one. Then add mixture of fried grated coconut and sugar to it and slowly try to give a shape of a half moon. Deep fry in refine oil till it puffs up and becomes crispy and ergo the full flavoured pitha is ready to eat .You can enjoy this pitha around any time of the year .
This is a traditional banana pancake which is beyond delicious ! At first prepare a batter of mashed banana, sugar, water and available rice flour without formation of any lumps. On a hot frying pan drop one serving spoon of batter and carefully deep fry it before it gets dark brown in colour. Separate it from the pan with care.
This really good pitha makes a fantastic snack with a cup of coffee in the evening with your loved one., Yes ! ghila pitha has really an authentic taste ! All that is required is add liquid jaggery to equal amounts of both sticky riceflour and available riceflour and make a wet and loose dough out of it with a little amount of water. Form small oval shaped balls from the dough and flatten them a bit at the centre. Deep fry the both sides of the balls one by one first on high flame and then on low flame until it’s outer surface is crispy but soft inside.
If you have a sweet tooth , you can never say no to this ! This finger-licking sweet morsel is very easy and simple to prepare. The very first and formost step is to prepare a thick batter of sticky riceflour, small amount of wheat flour, liquid jiggery, a pinch of salt, water and sugar. After marinating the batter for about 5-6 minutes, drop one tablespoon in the hot oil and deep fry in medium flame until it turns brown throughout.Remember, marination is the key to get this succulent pitha !
KOLPATOT DIYA PITHA
Yes ! This is just fantastic and a really flavourful pitha !You will actually love it. Firstly wash and cut the banana leaves and keep it aside. Prepare a thick batter consistency of mashed banana, sugar, wheat flour a pinch of salt and water . Gently pour a serving spoon of the matter on the cut banana leaf and slowly spread it out and fold the leaf. Now place the leaf on a hot flat frying pan. Let it cook for two-three minutes on both the sides. Make sure that the cooked pitha is non-sticky and slightly roasted.
One of the most exquisite and tantalizing ricecakes has an easy recipe to follow.Firstly roast and grind black sesame seeds to coarse powder and then add to liquid jaggery and form a paste. Prepare a soft dough of sugar ,water and grinded sticky rice. Now, stuff one tablesppon of the paste inside a small piece of dough and try to form a pattern of xutuli as shown in the picture and do not forget to seal the edges. Deep fry on medium flame until it turns to golden brown. So the enticing xutuli pitha is ready to eat !.
TEKELI MUKHOT DIA PITHA/ BHAPOT DIA PITHA
This delicious pitha has a different technique of preparation. It is prepared by steaming the ingredients on the mouth of a pitcher. Firstly roast and grind the black sesame seeds thoroughly and prepare a mixture by adding jaggery into it. Then boil waer in the pitcher. Knead the available riceflour well enough using some amount of water and sieve it through a strainer, making sure that the ricflour is not sticky and no lumps occur.The further step is on a small bowl ,place a damp cloth and then slowly spread out the sieved riceflour at the bottom, jiggery-sesame mixture above it and again riceflour at the top ,forming a layet and press it with your hand because the pitha will take the shape of the bowl. Lift the cloth up from the bowl and carefully place it on the mouth of the pitcher. Gently cover the lid and you will get to see the pitha gets cooked in three- four minuted by the steam of boiling water in the pitcher.