Lentils stuffed rice parcels Recipe:
Bengal gram stuffed in rice dough and steam-cooked to make what we call “Pittha” locally.
It’s yet another delicious and close to heart recipe from my mom’s kitchen. We call it “Pittha” at home and it has been one of my childhood favourites. This recipe is an exemplary example of a traditional cooking that strikes the modern taste buds spot on; well I say so because it involves the healthy steam cooking so no frying or no excess oil but just delicate, powerful flavours. So when mom offered to make some for me yesterday I instantly brightened up with a smile and my head shook in a nod on its own.
Though, unlike what we’d prefer in our fast moving lives the preparations to this one is a tad bit elaborate. And as she went about preparing the recipe I stood with my camera taking pictures and irritating her every now and then with “just a second Mom let me click that” or “hold it still let me click” etc. So this once it took longer than usual for her to do the already lengthy recipe but all the efforts were fruitful and I had my prized lunch in an awesome, delicious, soft Pitthas with its compulsory accompaniment in simple tomato chutney (sauce) and our signature coriander chutney.
There’s nothing that even comes close to the nostalgia of the food that one has adored while growing up, our taste buds may evolve with the changing times but the soulful comfort of these food is unmatched. The delicious nostalgia simply lingers.
Ingredients (Serves 4):
For the filling:
- 2 cups split bengal gram, soaked overnight
- 2-3 green chillies
- A handful of coriander leaves
- 1 tsp of ginger paste
- 1 tsp garlic paste
- ½ tsp roasted Cumin pwd
- ½ tsp black pepper pwd
- Salt to taste
For the rice dough:
- 3 cups of Rice flour
- 2 cups boiling water and extra for kneading
- ½ tbsp any vegetable oil
- A little salt to taste
For the tomato chutney:
- 5-6 medium size ripe tomatoes
- 1 green chilli, chopped
- ½ tsp mustard seeds
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp mustard oil or ghee
To stir fry the parcels, optional:
- 1 tbsp ghee or mustard oil
- 1 tsp brown mustard seed
- Handful of curry leaves
- Using a mixer grinder make a thick and coarse paste of Bengal gram, green chillies, coriander leaves with only a little water.
- Now mix salt, cumin pwd, pepper, garlic and ginger paste and keep aside.
The tomato chutney:
- Boil the tomatoes making a cross-section slit on the back with a cup of water, allow to cool and then discard the skin.
- In a wok, heat mustard oil then add mustard seed and green chillies; once its pops add the tomatoes along with the water.
- Simmer cook until it turns into a thick sauce like consistency, add salt and turn off the heat.
- Mix the chopped onion and its ready to be served.
- Bring two cups of water to a boil then simmer the heat. Add the oil to the water followed by adding the rice flour continuously stirring.
- Then turn off the heat and mix well so that the water and rice flour are incorporated, then set aside to cool down.
- Once the temperature has cooled down but still warm enough to knead the mixture knead it into soft dough adding some cold water as required.
Making the parcels:
- Turn on your steamer, alternatively heat enough bottles in a deep skillet and place a colander on the top with a cover or plate to cover the colander to lock the steam inside.
- Divide the dough into small balls, roll it into your hand and then flatten between your palms.
- Stuff a spoonful of the lentil filling are fully seal the dough to make small parcels incorporating the lentil filling inside, like momos.
- Now steam cook the parcels for 12-15 minutes, check one of them by cutting open if the lentil filling has expanded and cooked. Steam it a little longer if required.
- Steamed momos are perfect to serve with the tomato chutney or you may stir fry as below.
- Add oil in a wok and let the half the brown mustard seeds and curry leaf to turn golden then add half the parcels and fry together in two batches until golden brown.
- Serve hot with the tomato chutney.
Dos and Don’ts:
- Adjust spices to suit your taste in the filling.
- Some people use regular wheat flour to make this recipe, in this case you can directly make the dough with water and then fill in the lentils.
- Don’t make the cover too thick to avoid both under cooking.