Besan Pithla or Pitla is a creamy and protein-rich Vegan curry made using gluten-free and protein-rich gram flour along with a few spices.
What is Pithla
Pithla is a Maharashtrian curry made with gram flour. It uses a few ingredients and is quick to make. It can be done in as little as 15-20 minutes. This recipe is also best when you do not have any vegetables to cook but looking for something healthy and delicious.
Serving Besan Pithla
This healthy vegan curry is best paired with rice, jowar bhakri, rice bhakri, rice ghavan, or neer dosa. It can be enjoyed with rice too, though I have never eaten it with rice. I generally make a complete meal with bhakri, pithla, mirchi ka thecha and chaas/taak or solkadhi. Pithla is generally gravy based and the dry version of this is called Zunka.
This even goes well as a dish in a thali. Did you check my Vegetarian Maharashtrian Thali yet?
Variations of Besan Pithla or Pitla
There are different versions of this recipe and every household has its own way of making it. I like to make it a bit hot with a generous amount of onion, garlic, and green chilies. I saute them and then add the gram flour water mixture. Once the gram flour mix is added it is stirred almost continuously so that there are no lumps. The mixture is cooked on slow to medium for the gram flour or besan to cook properly.
Onions or Veggies in Pithla
Onions are optional in this recipe. But I like the crunch from it and hence I always add them. One can add veggies too and make a veggie pithla from it. Typically hara pyaaz or scallions are added to this pithla.
Making the gram flour mixture
I make the besan mix in 2 ways. Sometimes I add yogurt and sometimes do not. Yogurt adds a slightly sour taste to the mixture and elevates the taste. So If you have some sour yogurt do give it a try.
Cooking of Besan Pithla
When making pithla, do not leave it unattended. When the besan mixture is added to the hot pan keep on stirring it continuously. Do this on a medium stove. If you do not do this the besan will stick to the pan and you will get lumps. However once the mixture is well combined and it starts bubbling, reduce the stove to a minimum and simmer the mixture for 10 minutes or so to let the gram flour cook thoroughly.
Can Pitla be refrigerated?
Yes, it can be. The gravy however thickens and will also release some water. But once you warm it again it would be all good, though slightly thick.
Is this gluten-free
I am using asafoetida in rock and original form, which is gluten-free, hence the curry is gluten-free. However, store-bought asafoetida has wheat in it and hence it is not gluten-free. If you are gluten intolerant you can skip asafoetida or use gluten-free asafoetida.
Besan Pithla (Gram Flour Curry)
- 1/4 Cup Gram flour
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 onion chopped
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- 3-4 green chilies or as per taste
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2-3 cups of water
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½-1 teaspoon red chili powder optional and as per taste
- A pinch of asafoetida If using – Check notes for gluten Intolerance
- 1/4 Cup Chopped Coriander – Optional
Prepare the Gram flour water mixture
- In a bowl, sift in the gram flour.1/4 Cup Gram flour
- Add water slowly and make a smooth paste.2-3 cups of water
- Keep it aside.
Making of Besan Pithla
- In a heavy bottom pan add oil.1 tablespoon oil
- Add asafoetida.A pinch of asafoetida
- Once hot add cumin seeds, and mustard seeds.½ teaspoon cumin seeds, ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- Let them splutter.
- Now add in the chopped onion, garlic, and green chili.1 onion chopped, 2-3 garlic cloves, 3-4 green chilies or as per taste
- Saute this until the onions are translucent.
- Once the onions are done, add in turmeric powder and red chili powder. Saute for a few seconds.½ teaspoon turmeric powder, ½-1 teaspoon red chili powder
- Add in the gram flour mixture.
- Cook this mixture on slow to medium stirring almost continuously.
- Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the stove to slow.
- Cover and let the mixture cook on low for 5-6 minutes.
- Once done, garnish with chopped coriander and let it rest for 5 -10 minutes before serving.1/4 Cup Chopped Coriander
- Standard US Size cups and spoons were used. 1 cup = 237 ml, 1 teaspoon = 5 ml
- Read above for tips and tricks
- Measurements are rough guidelines. One can adjust as per taste.
- Water quantity can be more or less. The pithla thickens when cooled down, so add water as per the consistency required.
- I am using asafoetida in rock and original form, which is gluten-free, hence the curry is gluten-free. However, store-bought asafoetida has wheat in it and hence it is not gluten-free. If you are gluten intolerant you can skip asafoetida or use gluten-free asafoetida.
Sharing this with
The theme for this month is “Cook what you like” and I decided to make this Besan Pithla when Sasmita from First Timer Cook gave me Besan and Onion as the secret ingredients. I gave her Pancha Phutana and Mustard Oil and she made this Ambula Achara.
Love to read your comments and feedback. If you have any questions please ask in the comment section. I will try to answer as soon as I can.
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