In Odisha, Pithas are special delicacies in an Odia home.On traditional festivals sweet pithas form a part of celebrations.Even pithas are also routinely prepared and served in Odia homes in normal days.The pitha may be broadly put in the category cakes.During the return journey(Bahuda Jatra) of the Rath Yatra festival,the chariot of Shri Jagannath stops at Mousi Maa teemple and the deity is offered the favourite Poda Pitha.Poda pitha is a slow-cooked pitha made from rice flour with coconuts,dry fruits,jaggery and some spices.Its crust is slightly burnt,while the inside is soft and brown,mostly during festival of Raja parba.
Rice powder(chaula chuna)-2 cups(I used store bought rice powder)
Jaggery-1/2 cup or to taste
Cashew nuts-1/4 cup
Shredded coconut-1/4 cup(I used frozen shredded coconut)
Grated coconut-1/2 cup
Whole black pepper-5-6
Fennel seeds-2 tsp
Salt to taste
1-Soak the rice for 4-5 hours,then wash and drain all the water completely and then spread the raw rice in a soft towel and allow it to dry completely.
2-Then heat a pan and dry roast the dried rice(this is to ensure that the moisture is completely gone).Grind it to a fine powder in a mixer and keep it aside.
3-In a pan heat 1 tbsp ghee,fry shredded coconut and cashew nuts till the nuts turns little golden brown.Remove from pan and keep aside.
4-Crush the cardamom pods,whole black pepper and fennel seeds using a mortar and pestle and keep aside.
5-In a pan bring the water to boil.Then add cashew nuts,shredded coconuts,grated coconut,cardamom,black pepper, fennel seeds,jaggery and salt.Let it boil for some time.
6-Then add the rice flour in small batches and mix continuously so that no lumps are formed.
7-Keep on stirring in low-medium heat to make fine dough.Then remove it from heat,let cool down for some time.Meanwhile grease the banana leaf and keep aside.
8-Heat a heavy bottom kadhai,then place greased banana leaf into kadhai.Then spread the dough over the banana leaf and cover it.
9-Now cook in a slow flame for 1 hour.Insert a toothpick,it's done when the toothpick comes out clean.
10-Then remove from the gas and allow to cool down.Once cooled removed to a plate,Cut into different shapes you desire and serve with badia dalma or ghuguni.
You can also cook in an oven with 300 degree F for 40 to 45 minutes.(preheated)