Zunka Junka Pitla

Zunka Junka Pitla is a popular dish from the North Karnataka and Maharashtra region popularly known as Pitla Bhakri or Pitla. Pitla is a quintessential Maharashtrian dish that can be made in less than 5 minutes for a quick fix as a main meal. It is made with Besan flour as the main ingredients and seasoned with cumin seeds, ajwain and other spices.

Zunka Junka Pitla is made in various consistencies from slightly dry to semi solid and some add vegetables like drumsticks, methi leaves for flavouring the basic besan preparation. Pitla is a delicious, slightly spicy stew made with gram flour. This is dish more like a thick stew or rather a dip that can be eaten with roti, chapatti or bhakri. Pitla Bhakri is one of the most common rural dishes of Maharashtra. Generally when the vegetables are too expensive or not available, pitla is the ideal dish for any common man. It’s more of a farmer’s dish or an excellent comfort food.

Pitla can also be made using greens like methi leaves or palak leaves.  Bhakri and Pitla are an ideal combinations and staple food of Maharashtra. They are also considered the poor man’s food. Pitla is simple to prepare, fast to cook and delicious to eat. It tastes extremely well when combined with Bhakri, teekha chutney, fodni mirchi and onions. Piping hot Pitla coupled with Bhakri or rice or roti is like a delightful reward after a long day’s at work. This humble comfort food is made with just a handful of simple ingredients like mustard and cumin seeds, ajwain, onions, garlic, ginger, hing, spiced with some green chillies, red chilli powder and garam masala, a little tamarind juice is added to give that extra tanginess and punch to the bland pitla.

Zunka Junka Pitla prepared with some simple ingredients which are mostly readily available in every household can be churned out to be a delicious dish. This is a very humble and handy recipe especially when you run out of stock for veggies or get unexpected guests visiting your house. Usually, Pitla like every other recipe has many variations. Kobhi Zunka is a wonderful dish made with a difference. The consistency of the dish depends on serving this dish with rice or bhakri or roti. Pitla served with rice has a little watery consistency whereas if served with bhakri or roti has a semi liquid or dry consistency.

Besan flour or gram flour or chickpea flour is made from milling the chickpeas. It is a very popular ingredient in the Indian cuisine which is used for preparing an array of savory and sweet dishes. Besan flour is pale yellow in colour and a staple of Indian cuisine, used in making dumplings (dhokla), fritters (mirchi bajji, onion pakoda etc), noodles (sev) and for thickening curries (kadi).  Gram flour or Channa dal atta when mixed with little water can be used as a substitute for eggs in vegan cooking.

Besan flour, made from chickpeas, is a wheat-free product rich in fiber and nutrients. It also stands in for wheat flour in many recipes, adding a nutty taste to breads, sauces and other foods. If you have to avoid gluten or are watching your weight, besan flour makes a healthy and versatile alternative to high-carbohydrate wheat flour. Gram flour contains a high proportion of carbohydrates but no gluten. It also has a relatively high proportion of proteins.

For preparing this simple yet delicious dish Zunka Junka Pitla, in a bowl, add 1 cup of besan atta. Add little water and mix well to form a thick paste free of lumps. Then add little more water and make this mixture to a thin paste. Add 1 tbsp oil in a hot pan, add mustard seeds and when they crackle add cumin seeds, ajwain, finely chopped onions, crushed garlic and ginger, and chopped green chillies. Saute all ingredients. Add pinch of hing, turmeric and mix well till the raw flavours are gone. Add red chilli powder and garam masala. Now add the besan batter and stir continuously. Add salt to taste. When the mixture is slightly thickening, add chopped spring onions, coriander leaves and mix well. Add very little tamarind juice and mix. Cook for few mins until the spring onions are cooked. Switch off the flame. Serve hot with poori, bhakri and rotis.


Cook the besan mixture until smooth and has a shining texture.

Hing helps reduce gas formation.

You can make a paste of besan in a little water and add that to the water so that it mixes quickly and prevents the formation of lumps.

Adjust the besan proportion to the required consistency. Remember that after the Pithla cools, it becomes thicker.

Do try this humble dish and enjoy the taste. To try click on the below link and view the making of Zunka Junka Pitla:


Besan atta has an amazing taste and aroma which is simply natural, earthy and nutty. It is used in almost every region of India for making various speciality delicacies. This flour is highly used to make lot of sweets and desserts which include Besan ladoo, Besan halwa, Mysore Pak, Besan burfi etc. Majority of Indian snack dishes are made with besan.

A little ajwain is generally added to most savory dishes made with besan flour and it is a beneficial herb used in culinary process and also acts as good appetizer, laxative and stomachic. It is used as effective remedy in managing ailments like vomiting, mouth diseases, pile, abdominal tumor, abdominal pain etc.

Enjoy Cooking!