Pithla Bhakri, A Spicy Besan Curry From Maharashtra's Villages

The cuisine of rural Maharashtra is known for its simple yet flavourful dishes that are made using locally grown ingredients. From the zesty flavours of Kokan to the earthy flavours of Vidarbha, each region has its unique style of cooking. The use of millets, lentils and vegetables in their traditional dishes makes the cuisine of rural Maharashtra a healthy and wholesome choice.

The origins of pithla bhakri can be traced back to the rural parts of Maharashtra where farmers and labourers needed a nutritious meal that would sustain them throughout the day. With limited resources and ingredients, they came up with this simple yet delicious recipe that has stood the test of time. Over the years, the recipe has been passed down through generations and is now a part of the cultural heritage of the state.

The dish has a number of nutritional benefits owing to the ingredients used. Chickpea flour, the main component of the pithla, is a rich source of protein and dietary fibre. It also contains essential vitamins and minerals such as folate, iron, and magnesium. Millet flour, used to make the bhakri, is gluten-free and is a rich source of antioxidants, fibre, and B-complex vitamins. Together, these ingredients make for a wholesome and nutritious meal that is not only delicious but also good for your health.

When served together, pithla and bhakri make for a complete meal that is both filling and satisfying. The thick and creamy pithla pairs perfectly with the crisp and slightly chewy bhakri. A dollop of ghee on top adds to the flavour and richness of the dish. This humble yet delicious meal is a testament to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the people of Maharashtra. It’s also usually accompanied by zunka – a dry vegetable dish – or thecha a fiery pounded chutney of green chillies, coriander, garlic and spices. 

Video Credits: Kabita's Kitchen/YouTube


For Pithla:

  • 150g gram flour (chickpea flour)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 green chillies, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
  • Coriander leaves for garnish

For Bhakri:

  • 1 cup millet flour (bajra flour)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Warm water for kneading the dough
  • Ghee for serving


  • To make the pithla, mix the gram flour with water in a bowl and whisk until there are no lumps.
  • Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. Once they start spluttering, add onion, garlic and green chillies. Saute until the onion turns translucent.
  • Add turmeric powder, salt and asafoetida to the pan and mix well.
  • Pour in the gram flour mixture and stir continuously to avoid lumps.
  • Cook the mixture on medium heat, stirring frequently, until it thickens and starts to leave the sides of the pan. This will take around 8-10 minutes.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and keep aside.
  • To make the bhakri, mix the millet flour and salt in a bowl.
  • Gradually add warm water to the flour and knead into a firm dough. The dough should not be sticky.
  • Divide the dough into small balls and roll them into flat circles.
  • Heat a flat griddle or tawa on medium heat.
  • Place the rolled out bhakri on the tawa and cook for a minute or two until small bubbles form on the surface.
  • Flip the bhakri and cook the other side until it turns golden brown. Repeat with the remaining dough balls.
  • Add a dollop of ghee on top and garnish with more coriander leaves if desired. Serve hot with sliced onion and green chillies.