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Besan Pithla (Gram Flour Curry)

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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. 

Vegan and gluten free Gram flour Curry served in a kadai, with garlic and coriander seen in the side along with a glass of solkadhi and rice bhakri in a plate.
Besan Pithla

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. 

Besan Pitla served in a kadai, with garlic and coriander seen in the side along with a glass of solkadhi and rice bhakri in a plate.
Besan Pithla

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. 

Rice bhakri dipped in pithla and ready to be eaten from a divided thali, which has some rice bhakri, thecha served.
Besan Pithla along with Rice Bhakri and Thecha.

This even goes well as a dish in a thali. Did you check my Vegetarian Maharashtrian Thali yet?

Vegetarian Maharashtrian Thali is a comforting and soul-satisfying, balanced meal bursting with spicy and sweet flavours from various dishes.

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. 

Besan Pithla served in a kadai, with garlic and coriander seen in the side along with a glass of solkadhi and rice bhakri in a plate.
Besan 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.

Top view of Pithla served in a kadhai.

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 served in a kadai, with garlic and coriander seen in the side along with a glass of solkadhi and rice bhakri in a plate.

Besan Pithla (Gram Flour Curry)

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. 
5 from 13 votes
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, Maharashtrian
Keyword: Besan, Gluten Free, Vegan
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4
Author: Renu Agrawal-Dongre

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

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
    Besan Mixture
  • 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.
    Cooking of onion and garlic in a pan.
  • 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.
    Pitla getting ready on a stove top.
  • 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
    Ready Gram Flour Curry

Notes

  • 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.
 
Tried this recipe?Share your feedback @cookwithrenu_ad or tag #cookwithrenu_ad
Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist. The nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. It varies depending upon the product types or brands.

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.

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Recipe Rating




Narmadha

Sunday 25th of June 2023

I always prefer to make besan pithla when running out of time and vegetables. Looks so delicious and I like your version with lot of green chillies.

Radha

Friday 23rd of June 2023

This makes the meal comforting! This is one of my go to version to make a quick side. This version with onions sounds flavor packed. Love this recipe!

Sasmita Sahoo

Wednesday 21st of June 2023

Besan Pithla looks so creamy... Nice Vegan curry using gram flour and a few spices.

Sujata Roy

Monday 19th of June 2023

Gram flour curry looks absolutely delicious. A completely new recipe for me. Loved the recipe with easily available ingredients. Can't wait to try.

Priya Vj

Sunday 18th of June 2023

My friends in college would bring this pithla and soft rice bhakris for lunch . It would be so tasty that we would all fight to get the last bite . Your recipe reminded me off those wonderful days.