Pithale Bhaat is a 15-minute, gluten free, vegan meal! It is comfort food that is rich in protein and iron
Pithale is the ultimate comfort food in the state of Maharashtra, India. The humble Pithale is liked equally across the farmlands and in the big cities of Maharashtra. Ask about Pithale bhakri (fresh flat bread made generally out of jowar flour) or Pithale bhaat (rice) and you will see any Maharashtrians eyes sparkle and a story about Pithale just waiting to get out!
For our family, Pithale bhaat is a comforting meal after coming home from a trip or is made at the end of a very busy weekend. It is super easy to put together and by the time rice is cooked, steaming hot Pithale is cooked and ready to be served! I serve it with roasted papad and some yummy Indian pickle and /or stuffed chilies.
At its simplest, Pithale is besan or chickpea flour cooked with water and tempered with spices. It is made in an iron pan called the kadai. It is rich, in protein and iron and is vegan and gluten free.
There are various types and consistencies of Pithale. Ravan Pithale, a spicier version with more oil, Takatle Pithale made using buttermilk and the Shevgyachya Shengache Pithale made by adding drumsticks (moringa pods) are commonly found in Maharashtra. Here in the US, I added a new variety called Broccoli Pithaley, which I had posted a while back.
I make a version that my family likes and am sharing that with you all. I set the rice to cook and by the time it is cooked, my Pithale is ready for the table. So I like this easy meal that is down to earth, delicious and comforting.
- 1/2 cup besan
- 3 cups water
- salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon roasted cumin seed powder
- 2 kokum (dried peel of a fruit from the Mangosteen family, which is sour in taste)
- 2 teaspoons oil
- 1 Serrano green chili pepper split lengthwise, keeping the stem end intact
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/8 teaspoon asafetida
- 4 cloves of garlic, smashed
- 1 small onion, diced finely
- 1 small tomato, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh coconut (I used frozen grated coconut, defrosted)
- 1 big handful of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
To make the Maharashtrian Pithaley-
- In a bowl stir or whisk together the besan and a little of the water to make a paste. Gradually add the rest of the water so there are no lumps in the mixture. Add the salt, cumin seed powder and the kokum. Stir and set aside.
- Heat oil in a cast iron kadai or skillet. Turn the heat to low and add the green chili, cumin seeds and asafetida powder. When it sizzles, add the garlic and let it get golden on all sides. Add the diced onion. Stir until the onion looks translucent. Add the turmeric powder, stir and add the diced tomato and stir fry it until the tomato softens slightly.
- Add the besan mixture and the kokum and stir the mixture continuously until it comes to a boil. I use a wire whisk to stir. Add the coconut and the cilantro.
- When the mixture comes to a boil, let it simmer on low for a minute or two to assimilate flavors! The Pithaley will thicken as it cooks and cools too.
- Serve with warm rice, papad and pickle!
Enjoy Maharashtrian Pithaley this weekend!