Hello readers !!!
Happy Raja Sankranti ..
We odiya may live anywhere , in any part of the world, may wear western clothes, may have continental dishes but when it comes to Odiya festival we love to celebrate that in authentic manner. We love to wear traditional clothes, love to have traditional pitha & mitha (pancakes, dumplings & cakes).
Raja is an age old festival of ours and we celebrate it with full enthusiasm. In each festival of odisha we have some special pithas & sweet to make. Poda pitha (burnt cake) is specially attached to Raja and we love to have when our mother & grandmother made it with love.
This year Rosy di is sharing her special Poda pitha recipe with us. Rosy Nayak (I call her as Rosy di) is from Rourkela , odisha. We met on facebook of course. As our mother tongue is same I get connected easily. she is such a kind hearted, down to earth and caring person. For everyone she is a helping friend and a sweet person with charming personality. She is an expert in traditional odiya dishes.if you want to follow her then click here..
Here is what Rosy di explaining about her recipe and Raja parba (raja festival).over to Rosy di…
Raja: The festival of fun and food
The most popular and awaited among numerous festivals of Odisha is ‘Raja’. It is the festival of fertility and positivity and is primarily an agrarian festival , is celebrated to acknowledge man’s gratefulness to nature for three consecutive days .It is primarily a celebration of womenhood symbolizing productivity . Apart from the girls, it is a festival of the farmers who brace up for the next cropping season by welcoming the advent of the monsoon enabling a good harvest and offer a hope of prosperity for coming year to come.
So the Raja festival ushers in with merrymaking and delicious food bringing in bountiful joy to all in the state of Odisha.
.The first day is called “Pahili Raja” (Prior Raja), second is “Raja” (Proper Raja) and third is “Basi Raja” (Past Raja).The day before Raja is called “Sajabaja” when all the preparations are made to celebrate Raja. The fourth day is called Basumati. Shana in which the earth is said to take bath. Farmers worship mother earth and no tilling or strenuous pressure is put on earth in other words all the agricultural activities are stopped during these days. It is believed that as mother earth prepares herself to quench her thirst by the incoming Monsoon showers so as the unmarried girls of the family are groomed for the impending matrimony through this festival. They celebrate these three days in joyous festivity. The girls are not allowed to work ,they don’t walk barefoot, don in new attires , decorate their feet with alatha( red dye), young girls make beautiful pattern on their foreheads with kumkums observe customs like eating only nourishing food and having food before sunset. The most vivid and enjoyable memories one has of the Raja gaiety is the rope-swings or ‘dolies’ like chakra doli , baunsa doli ,jhula doli ,Agi doli on big trees with huge branches and the lyrical folk-songs that one listens from the nubile beauty enjoying the atmosphere enthusiastically . The most popular folk song being ..
ବନସ୍ତେ ଡାକିଲା ଗଜ,
ବରଷକେ ଥରେ ଆସିଛି ରଜ,
ଆସିଛି ରଜ ଲୋ
ଘେନି ନୂଆ ସଜବାଜ ॥
ରଜ ଦୋଳି କଟ କଟ,
ମୋ ଭାଇ ମଥାରେ ସୁନା-ମୁକୁଟ,
ସୁନା ମୁକୁଟ ଲୋ
ହେଉଥାଏ ଝକମକ ॥”
(Banaste dakila Gaja,barasake thare aasichhi Raja, asichi raja lo gheni nua sajabaja’ (meaning the Raja carnival has come with the pomp and pleasure of newness)
“ପାନ ଖିଆ ରସିକ ପାଟି,
ଖୋଜି ବୁଲୁଥିଲା ରାଜାଙ୍କ ହାତୀ,
ଢାଳି ଦେଇଗଲା ଶିରରେ,
ରାଜା ହୋଇଗଲେ ରଜରେ ॥”
(Pana khia Rasika Pati, khoji buluthila Rajanka hati, dhali deigala sirare, raja hoigale rajare (Meaning the while the lucky charming man chewing betel was blessed with the wondering elephant with the kingship).
The women folk are pampered ,cared for and they keep themselves busy playing indoor games like ludo, pasha, shell games, cards and men play kabbadi and have fun feasting .The women visit their friends and relatives exchanging eatries . Raja also means gorging on some sumptuous array of Odia delicacies. Varieties of ‘pithas’ ( country cakes or sweet meats) are prepared during the festival. The traditional authentic cakes are Poda Pitha, Manda, Arisa, Kakara, chunchi patra ,Chakuli and many more. Summer fruits like mango,ice palm , jackfruit, litchi, pineapple ,berries like jamun are devoured . Special made sweet bettle or ‘Paan ‘is relished as a mouth freshener.
Poda Pitha is the quintessential delicacy which symbolizes Raja festival.
Literally” Poda”translates to brunt and “Pitha” refers to cake.This cake or pitha is delicious combination of basic ingredients like rice and lentils , with the sweetness with jaggery which a renders a sienna top when baked and spiced with ginger ,black pepper and the cardamoms. The grated fresh coconut , cottage cheese , some nuts and with the infusion of desi ghee ( clarified ghee ) make it a divine delicacy.Poda Pitha is usually served with dalma ( lentils cooked with vegetables and tempered in Pancha Phutana ( five spice mix) , or Alu dum ( potato curry) or mutton curry for the veterinarians.
Traditionally authentic Poda Pitha were baked in earthen wares on clay ovens with burnt charcoals and cow dung cakes .( now in villages people still follow the traditional method) batter was covered with banana leaves in the earthen ware and then it was covered with burnt charcoals or cow dung cakes .The Pitha is left to cook or bake slowly the whole night .On the day of Raja one would get a delicious ,soft ,moist ,aromatic golden brown Pitha with charred edges. Poda Pitha is usually served with dalma ( lentils cooked with vegetables and tempered in Pancha Phutana ( five spice mix) , or Alu dum ( potato curry) or mutton curry for the nonvegeterians.
There are various ways to make Poda Pitha .This recipe has been handed over by my mom which she got it from her mother.My mom baked in the electric round oven or sometimes she baked in the pressure cooker.The results were delicious.I use my micro oven .The aroma which fills the house while baking makes excited and fills me with a sense of fulfillment. Yes ,baking traditional and authentic Pitha is quite a effort. Traditional pithas always have their own charm especially during festivals. And when it’s Raja Poda Pitha is a must make in an Odia house..
Wash and soak rice and dal separately for 3 to 4 hours.
Rinse rice and spread and dry it under the fan.Make a slightly coarse powder .
Add little water to the urad Dal and grind to a fine and smooth batter.
Mix the rice powder and the urad Dal batter and keep it aside for an hour .
Mix all the ingredients listed to get a fairly running consistency batter.
Meanwhile preheat the oven at 180 degrees.
Grease a baking tin and pour the Pitha batter and bake in the oven at 180 degrees for about 40 minutes (or until the knife inserted comes out clean) so to get golden brown crust .
Let it cool .Demould and cut it according to your choice and serve with the dalma or aludum or mutton curry .
Happy cooking and keep smiling...