Pitha is a type of rice cake that is a staple in Assamese cuisine and is prepared in various ways using different ingredients. These delicious cakes are usually made by steaming or frying rice flour, mixed with jaggery, coconut, sesame seeds
Bihu is one of the most important festivals in Assam, celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervor. It is a three-day festival that marks the beginning of the Assamese New Year and is dedicated to the worship of nature and the agricultural cycle. One of the most significant aspects of this festival is the preparation and consumption of various traditional delicacies known as "pitha."
Pitha is a type of rice cake that is a staple in Assamese cuisine and is prepared in various ways using different ingredients. These delicious cakes are usually made by steaming or frying rice flour, mixed with jaggery, coconut, sesame seeds, and other local ingredients, depending upon the recipe.
Bihu is celebrated in three different forms, each representing a different stage in the agricultural cycle. The first day, known as "Goru Bihu," is dedicated to the worship of cattle, as they play an essential role in agriculture. The second day, "Manuh Bihu," is devoted to the worship of humans, and the final day, "Gosai Bihu," is dedicated to the worship of gods.
Pitha is an integral part of the Bihu festival and is prepared in different ways for each of the three days. On Goru Bihu, pitha made with jaggery, coconut, and sesame seeds is the most popular. On Manuh Bihu, pitha made with rice flour, milk, and sugar is a common choice, while on Gosai Bihu, pitha made with rice flour, sweetened with sugar or jaggery, and served with curd is a popular delicacy.
Recipe credit - Aroma of Northeast Kitchen
Apart from these traditional pitha, there are several other varieties prepared during Bihu, such as Til Pitha, Narikol Pitha, Tora Pitha, Tekeli Pitha, and Ghila Pitha. Each type of pitha has a unique flavor and is prepared using specific techniques, making them a must-try during the Bihu festival.
Til Pitha is a popular Assamese delicacy prepared using black sesame seeds, rice flour, and jaggery. The sesame seeds are roasted, and the jaggery is melted and mixed with rice flour to make the dough. The dough is then stuffed with the sesame seeds filling and shaped into small balls before frying.
Narikol Pitha is another famous pitha prepared during Bihu using grated coconut, rice flour, and jaggery. The grated coconut is mixed with jaggery and rice flour to make the dough, which is then shaped into small balls and fried.
Tora Pitha is a steamed rice cake made using soaked rice, coconut, and jaggery. The ingredients are ground to a smooth paste and steamed in banana leaves. Tora Pitha has a soft and spongy texture and is usually served with sweetened curd.
Tekeli Pitha is a unique pitha that is cooked in a kettle or a teapot. It is made using rice flour, jaggery, and coconut milk and is cooked over a low flame in a kettle. The pitha is served hot and has a distinct aroma and flavour.
Ghila Pitha is a deep-fried pitha made using wheat flour, jaggery, and grated coconut. The dough is made by mixing the ingredients and is shaped into small balls before frying. The crispy outer layer and the sweet, coconut filling make Ghila Pitha a favourite among Bihu delicacies.