During the Winter season we Bengalis love to make our traditional cakes known as 'Pitha'. Pitha' can be of various kinds - sweet, savory, steamed, fried, soaked and so on.
In this ible I'm going to share one of my favorite pitha recipes, known as 'Bhapa Pitha', which means 'Steamed Cake'. It requires only 4 ingredients and a few utensils for steaming the cake molds. So, gather all the ingredients, follow my ible and give it a try, I'm sure you'll love it!
Step 1: Ingredients Needed
To make traditional Bengali rice cakes you'll need:
- Rice flour
- Shredded coconut
You'll need the following utensils:
- A pot with round bottom or a saucepan
- Small stainless steel bowl - 1 inch depth
- Clean wet cotton cloth
- Tray - 1 inch depth (optional)
- Plastic colander
- Stainless steel colander
Step 2: Preparing the Pots
Take the pot with round bottom and fill half of it with water. Put the pot on the cooker, in medium flame.
After the water starts to boil place the stainless steel colander on top of the water filled pot.
Keep the cover of the stainless steel colander near hand, we'll need it while making the cakes.
The rice cakes or bhapa pitha need to be steamed. If you have an easier way to do it then give it a try. In case you don't have the utensils for making bhapa pitha here are the alternatives. A stainless steel pot with round bottom or saucepan, stainless steel colander which matches the pot size and a cover for the colander. You'll have to fill half of the round bottom pot or saucepan with water and boil the water and then place the colander on the top of it (round bottom pot or saucepan).
You will also need a small bowl (at least 1 inch deep) to shape the rice cakes. The size of the small bowl would depend on the required size for the cake. And finally you'll need a clean cotton cloth.
Step 3: Preparing the Ingredients
You can use store bought rice flour or prepare your own by grinding overnight wet rice.
But in case you're using rice flour, here's what to do. Add the rice flour (2 cups) in the plastic colander. Sprinkle a small amount of water on the rice flour just to wet them. Don't add too much water just sprinkle a small amount.
Carefully separate the fine wet rice flours into a flat tray from the plastic colander.
You can keep the rice flour on the tray or pour them in a bowl.
Mix shredded coconut and molasses together in a saucepan. Heat them in medium flame for 5-6 minutes. Stir frequently while heating.
Now, molasses-mixed-shredded coconut and the wet fine rice flour are ready. Lets go to the next step.
Step 4: Preparing the Base for Rice Cake
Take the small stainless steel bowl and add a thin layer of rice flour in it. Add a small amount (1 tsp) molasses mixed shredded coconut to the rice flour in the small bowl. Finally sprinkle a little more rice flour on the top of the molasses. Sprinkle enough flour to cover the molasses.
Take the clothe and cover the small bowl with it. Hold the remaining ends of the cloth on the other side of the bowl. Turn the bowl upside down on a tray or plate. Tap the small bowl a few times so that you can remove it easily. Let go the cloth and remove the small bowl to get your rice cake mold.
Do not remove the netted cloth from under the rice cake mold.
Step 5: Steaming the Rice Cake
Hold the remaining ends of the cloth on the other side of the bowl again and place it in the stainless steel colander.
The water should be steaming by now. Cover the colander and steam the rice cake mold for 5-6 minutes.
After 5-6 minutes the rice cakes should be ready. Carefully take out the cloth by holding it's open ends and remove the rice cake from it and place another one by repeating the previous step.
Don't wait for them to cool down, serve while hot.