Last week I was extremely occupied settling up our new place, lucky enough to have nestled in a cozy apartment and that too only five minutes drive from my son’s school. I am getting used to the new environment and new surroundings. It is exciting and at times a bit daunting to search for new shops that would to cater to our simple daily needs of vegetable and fruits.
I am quite used to traveling and setting up at a new place very frequently so this wasn’t new for me. I am quite glad that my son has started liking his new school and is well settled.
Now the week before we moved, I baked a traditional cake from Orissa, “Poda” means brunt and “Pitha” refers to cake. Basically the ingredients are not the usual plain flours but rice and lentils. Surprisingly this divine cake had never caught my attention until recently when my mom mentioned about it. My curiosity rose and it was a must on my baking list.
This cake is a unique combination of fiery pepper blended with aromatic cardamoms and crushed subtle ginger. Since this cake is always part of our festivals and offered to god, so it is absolutely vegetarian (free of eggs too).
In Indian cooking, recipes have traditionally been handed down from one generation to another and is always modified according to one’s taste and generation and so as such no accurate measurements were ever recorded. This indeed helps to fire the imagination of every creative cook.
I love contemporary baking since it has accurate measurement and the success rate is higher if one follows the instructions well. I was rather confused when my mom shared her recipe and only place was my life saver Google. I found this recipe very similar and exactly the place it was meant to be at the this website “Hare Krsna”.
- ¾ cup split Urad dal
- 1 cup Rice
- 1 cup brown sugar/jaggery
- 1 cup grated fresh coconut
- ½ teaspoon black pepper crushed
- 3 to 4 cardamom pods crushed
- 1 inch ginger crushed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup raisins
- 5 to 6 pitted chopped dates soaked and pureed
- Handful of nuts (cashews, almonds, and pistachios)
- Soak rice and urad dal over night. Grind them to a coarse paste using very little water and set aside for 3 to 4 hours. Don't let it ferment. Mix sugar, baking powder, cardamoms, pepper, ginger and salt. Add them to above mix.
- Add coconut, ghee, raisins, pureed date, and nuts and mix well. Grease a baking pan (22cm) with ghee and pour the batter. Preheat the oven at 180’C and bake for 30 to 40 minutes till done.
- Remove and let it cool down. Slice and serve.
So recently when I started to edit this post, I thought of completely revamping it and changing the content with my latest pictures but I soon realised that it is a good idea to keep the original content and post a recent update. Honestly I feel extremely proud to see my journey so far. My styling and photography has changed over the period of time but these recipes, the taste hasn’t changed at all. I still love it…
I have lately started using coconut sugar instead of our regular sugar, otherwise all the above ingredients remains the same. I have made this recipe many a times for different gatherings and groups and I have always seen people enjoying its unique flavour.
Now there is one more reason to feel proud too, seeing my mum and my mum in law having adapted my version of baking this pitha using pureed dates. I am sure this delicacies from our beautiful state Odisha will always remain coveted forever. There are few more delicacies like chenna poda, rassbali, rasgulla, chenna jhili have also topped the list too and definitely needs no introduction to my beautiful Odiya folks.
Don’t forget to leave me comment if you have baked this recipe, would love to hear how it turned out.