Potoli pitha is a delicious kind of pancake prepared specially during festivals in Orissa. This dish is traditionally prepared and offered as Prasad (offering to god) at the famous Baladev temple in Kendrapara in Orissa.
Pithas are special delicacies from the Orissa cuisine and especially prepared on traditional festivals where sweet pithas form a part of the celebrations. Pitha or pithe is a type of cake or bread common in Bangladesh and India especially prepared in the eastern states of Assam, Orissa, West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and the northeastern regions. Although preparing the pitha takes a bit of time in making but the taste of the pancakes are really worth it. Pithas are also commonly prepared on normal days too and served at home.
Generally pithas are typically made of rice flour but there are few other types of pithas wherein they use wheat flour. They are also few less common types of pithas which are made of palm or ol (a local root vegetable). The pithas made of rice or wheat flours are nicely shaped and filled with sweet or savory ingredients. When filled, the pitha pouch is called a khol (literally means a container) and the fillings are known as pur.
A vegetarian savory pitha consists of a combination of vegetables which includes the cauliflower, cabbage, radish or potato which are usually baked, steamed and then mashed, cooled and formed into small balls to stuff into the pithas whereas in preparing the sweet pithas, ingredients like sugar, jaggery, date juice, palm syrup, grated coconut, cashews, pistachios, sweetened vegetables or fruits are added. Sweet pithas are often flavored using cardamom or camphor. Depending on the type of pitha they are either fried in oil or ghee, roasted over fire, steamed or baked and rolled over a hot plate. Pithas are often eaten at small meals such as breakfast or as tea time snack. Other sweet varieties are especially reserved as desserts during festivals or holidays.
While preparing the pithas, there are a variety of pithas that undergo regional variations throughout the East Indian subcontinent. Some of the common and popular ones are the Bhapa or dhupi pitha (literally means steamed pitha), Pakan pitha (fried pitha), Chitau pitha or Teler pitha (means oil pitha) which are prepared in Bengal and Bangladesh while in Orissa, pithas that are a part of the celebrations are Arisa pitha (deep-fried pitha made from rice flour with jaggery or sugar), Manda pitha (steamed pitha made from rice flour with grated coconut, jaggery or sugar filling or fresh cheese filling), Enduri pitha (made from rice flour and black gream, often with a jaggery and coconut cheese filling, steamed in a turmeric leaf).
For preparing this delicious Odissa delicacy, potoli pitha, firstly take three and half cup or refined wheat flour in a bowl and add water and salt to it. Make a thick batter of it. While preparing the batter ensure that no lump is formed in it. To prepare the stuffing, take grated coconut in another bowl. Add paneer and sugar to it. Mix them thoroughly. Heat a pan and fry the coconut and paneer mixture on it. Then add cardamom powder to it.
Now take another pan and heat it. Take a tablespoon of the refined flour batter which was prepared earlier and spread the same on the pan with the back of the spoon, spiraling from the middle in circular motion to the circular edge of the pan. Ensure that the spread is thick. Then put the coconut and paneer mixture in the middle of the batter and spread. Fold the spread from four sides to give it the shape of a four folded rectangle. Make as many such four folded pithas as possible and keep aside.
Now take ½ cup refined flour, wheat flour, molasses and water in a bowl and make a thin paste of the same. Then dip the rectangular pithas into it. Subsequently deep fry the same in ghee until both sides of the pithas become red brown. Now your potoli pitha is ready to serve. For trying this delicacy, do click on the below link for detailed recipe:
Orissa cuisine offers a variety of flavors through their exceptionally delectable dishes from which sweet dishes form a vital part of it. Most of the sweet dishes prepared with milk and various ingredients like chhenna (cottage cheese), coconut, rice, and wheat flour. Dishes that are favorites among many are Chhenna Jalebi, Enduri Pitha and Chittau Pitha. These dishes are also considered as festival specials as they are made in huge quantity during all the major festivals.