Suji Kakara Pitha from Odisha

While I have always known that Odisha was famous for its sweets like its neighbour Bengal, the range of the sweets has come as a revelation after I started blogging. This week, I got the chance to try another traditional Odisha sweet called Suji Kakara Pitha, thanks to the Recipe Swap challenge that I am a part of.

 

Odia Suji Pitha Kakara
Odia Suji Pitha Kakara

 

This month for the recipe challenge, I am paired with Ankita Dash who blogs at Food Express Odisha. The moment I realised she was had Odia recipes on her blog, I went searching for what I could try. I first thought of Dalma, a dish I have been meaning to try for ages and then I spotted these absolutely gorgeous looking Suji Pitha Kakara on her blog.

What I loved about this sweet is that it is so simple, needs so few ingredients, and reminded me on Talniche Modak (Fried Modak). As I researched more about this dessert, I realised that Kakara Pitha could be made two ways; with a semolina covering or a wheat flour covering. In the latter case, it was just Talniche Modak in a different shape. 🙂

Suji Kakara Pitha also fit the spirit of the upcoming festive season well, and so I tried this recipe today with excellent results; crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.

I modified Anikita’s recipe a bit to reduce the sugar and eliminate the maida from the dough of the covering.

 

 

Recipe for Suji Kakara Pitha: A Sweet from Odisha

Suji Kakara Pitha
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
Total Time
1 hr
 

Suji Kakara Pitha is a traditional sweet from Odisha that can be best described as deep-fried semolina balls stuffed with coconut.

Course: Dessert, Sweet
Cuisine: Indian, Odisha
Keyword: Kakara Pitha, Suji Kakara Pitha
Servings: 8 Pitha
Author: Aruna
Ingredients
For the Covering
  • 1/2 Cup Fine Rava, Semolina
  • 3 tbsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Ghee Vegans can use oil
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
For Stuffing
  • 1/2 Cup Freshly Grated Coconut
  • 1/2 tsp Cardamom Powder
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper Powder
Other Ingredients
  • Oil for Deep Frying
  • Ghee or Oil to grease palms Vegans can use oil
Instructions
Making the Dough for the Covering
  1. Boil 1 cup water with 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp ghee, and 3 tbsp sugar till the sugar has dissolved..

  2. Turn the heat to low and slowly add rava to the water while mixing all the time to avoid lumps.

  3. Cook the mix cook on medium flame while stirring all the time till it starts to come together as a ball.

  4. Remove the dough into a large plate and let it cool.

  5. After the dough has cooled, grease your palm with ghee and knead the dough well till it is smooth. 

Making the Stuffing
  1. In a heavy bottomed kadhai, over medium flame, cook the grated coconut and sugar together till the sugar melts.

  2. Turn off the heat.

  3. Add cardamom and pepper powder, and mix well.

  4. Transfer into a plate and the stuffing cool. 

Making the Suji Kakara Pitha
  1. Set aside a 1/2" ball of covering dough. We will use this to test the heat of the oil.

  2. Divide the dough for the covering and the stuffing into eight portions.

  3. Roll each portion of stuffing and covering into a ball.

  4. Take one portion of the dough for covering and press int into a disc about 3" in diameter.  

  5. Place one portion of the stuffing in the middle and fold the edges of the covering over it and seal it.

  6. Roll this into a ball and flatten it slightly into a disc. Ensure there are no cracks in the outer cover.

  7. Repeat the process to shape all Kakara Pithas.

  8. In a small kadhai, over medium flame, heat the oil. To test the heat of the oil, drop a pinch of the covering dough we set aside. It should sizzle actively in the oil.

  9. When the oil is hot enough, gently slide one or two pithas into it and let them fry for about 2 minutes. Do not flip them over immediately.

  10. After 2 minutes, gently flip the pithas.

  11. Continue to fry while flipping the pitha at regular intervals till they are golden brown.

  12. Remove from the oil and drain all oil from the pitha. 

  13. Repeat the process to fry all pithas. 

  14. Serve warm.

Suji Kakara Pitha From Odisha
Suji Kakara Pitha From Odisha

 

How to Make Recipe for Suji Kakara Pitha

  1. Making the Dough for the Covering
    1. To a heavy bottomed vessel, add 1 cup water, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp ghee, and 3 tbsp sugar.
    2. Boil the water till the sugar dissolves and then turn the heat down to low.
    3. Slowly add the rava while mixing continuously to ensure no lumps are formed. Lumps will cause the pitha to split when you are frying them.

    4. Increase the heat to medium and keep cooking the rava while mixing all the time till the water is absorbed and the dough starts to form a ball. If you do not mix continuously, the dough will stick to the bottom and burn.

    5. Immediately transfer the dough into a plate and let it cool enough so that you can knead it.
    6. Once the dough has cooled a little, grease your palm with a little ghee and knead the dough till it becomes smooth. I kneaded it for about 5 minutes.

  2. Making the Filling (I did this while the dough was cooling, so that the filling could cool while I kneaded the dough)
    1. To a heavy bottomed kadhai, add the grated coconut and sugar.
    2. Over medium flame, cook while stirring constantly till the sugar had dissolved. Cook to ensure that the sugar has dissolved and no more. If you cook the coconut-sugar mix a lot, it will become hard. 
    3. Take off the heat and mix in the cardamom and pepper powder.
    4. Transfer the filling into a plate and let it cool.
  3. Making the Suji Kakara Pitha
    1. Set aside pea-sized portion of the covering dough to test the warmth of the oil.
    2. Divide the dough for the covering and the stuffing into 8 portions each.
    3. Take one portion of the dough and roll it into a ball.
    4. Press it into a disc about 3″ in diameter such that it is thick in the middle and slightly thin at the edges. We will fold the edges over and so the point where they meet will become thick enough. 
    5. Place one portion of the stuffing in the center of the disc and then fold the edges of the covering over it to form a closed shape.
    6. Roll this stuffed pitha into a ball and then press it to flatten it a bit into a thick disc. Make sure that the cover is smooth with no cracks or holes.

    7. Make all Kakara Pithas in the same way.
    8. In a small kadhai, over medium flame, heat the oil. To test the heat of the oil, drop a pinch of the covering dough. It should immediately sizzle in the oil.
    9. Gently slide one or two pithas into the hot oil and let them fry “as is” for about 2 minutes. They will settle to the bottom in the beginning. Do not flip them over or try to dislodge them immediately or the covering will break.
    10. After the pitha have been frying for 2 minutes, gently loosen the pitha from the bottom of the kadhai and turn them over.
    11. Fry the pitha till they are golden brown.
    12. Using a slotted spatula, remove from the oil and drain all oil from the pitha.
    13. Fry all pithas in the same way.
    14. Serve warm.
Suji Kakara Pitha: Deep-fried semolina balls with coconut stuffing
Suji Kakara Pitha

I am taking this delightful Odia sweet dish to the party at the Recipe Swap Challenge. 🙂