Article by: Raihana Karim – Astute Horse
Bangladesh is also known as the land of Pitha-puli (rice cakes). The taste and recipe of each pitha, varies from region to region. Most of the pithas are either seasonal or occasional. Pithas are one of the favorite breakfast items of us Bengali’s.
Apart from Seasonal pithas, some pithas are also associated with Nobanno Utshob (harvest festival), wedding, Eid or puja. Since, Barishal is the rice producing center of the country, pithas are more famous here.
Some pithas are fried, some steamed and some delightfully soaked in sugar syrup, molasses syrup and milk. Most of the pithas are sweet but there are some savory pithas too. Also for some pitha recipes, clay pots and banana leaves are used. Regardless, they all guarantee to melt in your mouth.
There are many other pithas like Bhapa pitha, puli, malpoa, chapri, patra pitha, til (sesame) pitha which are steamed. These pithas are usually made in winter after the harvest festival. The main ingredient of these pithas is rice flour. After the huge harvest of rice in winter people make these pithas and celebrate the festival.
Nokshi pitha, teler pitha, pakon, taal (asian palm) pitha, mangsho (meat) pitha are deep fried in oil or clarified butter. These pithas are usually made on the occasions like wedding and Eid.
Chitoi, patishapta, pua pitha, chhita pitha, bibikhana are made in clay pot. The flavor of the clay pot makes the pitha unique on its own.
Shirgoja is a traditional pitha of greater Barishal region. This is made with all-purpose flour, fried in deep oil and then it is soaked in sugar syrup. The sugar syrup instantly doubles up the size of the pitha, which makes it soft from inside and a little crispy on outside. This is one of the favorite Pitha of Barishal people.
Dudhkhejuri is also made in many villages of Barishal. Rice flour is boiled in coconut milk until it has a doughy texture, and then a little bit of coconut paste is added. Banana leaves are separated from their stems and then the dough is pressed and rolled out in small amounts onto the ridges of the banana leaf and fried in ghee (clarified butter) or oil. Then they are soaked overnight in jaggery syrup and served.
People who love pitha still take time out of their busy schedule and travel to villages, just to enjoy the pitha season. Barishal district have successfully held the legacy of serving the best pithas of all time. To enjoy this winter season don’t forget to pay a visit to Barishal and taste their delightful pithas.