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Savoury Luni Poda Pitha (Rice & Lentil Cake)

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Luni Poda Pitha is the savoury version of the popular Poda Pitha, which is made using rice and lentils and stuffed with veggies. It is Gluten-free and a popular breakfast recipe from Odisha. If Ghee is substituted with oil, it is Vegan too.

A slice of Savoury Luni Poda Pitha served on a plate. The soft and porus texture of the inside is clearly seen with crispy top and edges

What is Pitha

Pithas are similar to pancakes or fritters common in Bangladesh and India and especially from the North East Indian States. They can be sweet or savoury and made using a batter that can be steamed, fried or griddled. The batter is generally unleavened and cooked on the stovetop. Typically the pitha were also baked or steamed on leaves and cooked on a wood fire. However, with changing times, this has changed. Now it is even baked in the oven as opposed to cooking on the stovetop. 

What is Poda Pitha

Poda Pitha is made by slowly cooking the fermented batter of rice and urad dal (Black gram lentils). The sweet version will have coconut and Jaggery in it, while the savoury will have vegetables. The crust of Poda Pitha is slightly burnt, while the inside is soft and white. 

I am sharing today the recipe of Luni Poda Pitha, i.e. the savoury version of Poda Pitha. I have made this recipe for our Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge group, where this month the challenge was ODIA Pitha Series announced by Sasmita. Sasmita from First Timer cook, made us leave our comfort zone and dive into this series. 

Savoury Luni Poda Pitha, served on a plate, with crispy top and edges

I totally loved it as it was something which I wanted to try and explore but was reluctant. I am happy that I finally made this and all the credit goes to Sasmita. Sasmita has a wonderful collection of Oria recipes on her blog. I actually wanted to make this Biri Manda Pitha/Biri Gaja or this Neem Flower Patties | Nimba Kadha Pithau but maybe next time. 

And if you all know about this group, where we share secret ingredients with our partner. This month my partner was Archana from the Mad scientist kitchen. We both wanted to make a savoury version of the Pitha and hence gave each other the same ingredients. We gave each other Rice and Black Gram Dal and she made this Odia Chakuli Pitha.  

Is it different from Uttapam or Malvani Amboli?

As mentioned earlier, it uses rice and black gram dal. Yes, the ingredients are similar to dosa, uttapam or Malvani Amboli but the ratio of ingredients differ. The addition of veggies and the cooking process differs too. And all this makes a lot of difference in the final result of the dish. The taste and texture changes. I found it similar to Dibba Roti or Minapa Roti, except this one is with vegetables.

Recipe process of Savoury Luni Poda Pitha

The dal and rice are soaked separately for a few hours. The batter is then allowed to ferment in a warm environment. Do not worry if you are in a cold place like me. I successfully ferment my batter each time even in sub-zero temperatures. Follow the steps mentioned in this post on how to successfully ferment batter in a cold climate and I am sure you would be able to.

Later I added veggies of my choice. I added cauliflower, carrot, onion, chopped coconut, green coriander, curry leaves and green chilly. If you are making it for a festival or for puja, skip the onion.

2 Savoury Luni Poda Pitha, served on a plate. With crispy top and edges

I used a cast iron pan to make this Luni Poda Pitha and followed roughly the recipe as mentioned here. As I had a big pan and I wanted to make a small size or the max 6-7 inches disc, I used my cake tin as the base to shape the pitha. The pitha took the form of a cake and it was as if I am serving a nice savoury cake. We loved this savoury Pitha to the core.  

When to Serve Pitha

This Savoury Luni Poda Pitha can be served for breakfast or your main meals. It will be perfect for your kid’s lunchbox recipe or for your summer picnics or as travel food. 

Serving Suggestions

This Luni Poda Pitha can be enjoyed as is. One can serve it with some spicy curry or chutney too. I enjoyed some as is and some with my simple Onion and garlic free, Spicy Potato and TomatoCurry. (Recipe not on the blog yet)

Close up look of the texture of Savoury Luni Poda Pitha, served on a plate, with crispy top and edges

Can this be cooked in an oven?

Yes, you can cook this in an oven too. For cooking in an oven, bake it in a preheated oven at 180 Deg C for 30 minutes. To test if done, insert a toothpick it should come out clean.

A slice of Savoury Luni Poda Pitha served on a plate. The soft and porus texture of the inside is clearly seen with crispy top and edges

Savoury Luni Poda Pitha (Rice & Lentil Cake)

Luni Poda Pitha is the savoury version of the popular Poda Pitha, which is made using rice and lentils and stuffed with veggies. It is Gluten-free and a popular breakfast recipe from Odisha. If Ghee is substituted with oil, it is Vegan too.
5 from 10 votes
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Course: Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, North Eastern
Keyword: Gluten Free, Kids Food, Lentil, Lunch Box, Rice, Travel Food, Vegetables
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Soaking & Fermenting Time: 12 hours
Servings: 2 6 inches thick Pitha
Author: Renu Agrawal-Dongre

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Split/Whole Urad Dal
  • 2 Cups Rice -I used Idli Rice
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 2-3 Green chillies chopped
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoon Fresh Chopped coconut
  • 2-3 tablespoon Chopped coriander leaves
  • ½ Cup chopped Carrot
  • 1 Cup chopped cauliflower
  • 8-10 cury leaves roughly chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Ghee – Clarified Butter for cooking – Vegans can use oil
  • 1-2 tablespoon of extra water if required to adjust consistency.

Instructions

  • Clean the Dal and Rice.
  • Rinse well a couple of times until the water comes clear.
  • Soak the dal for 3-4 hours.
    Soaked Dal (Black Gram)
  • Soak the rice for 3-4 hours.
    Soaked Rice
  • Grind the dal and rice separately. (One can do it together too, but grinding separately helps)
    Dal being grinded
  • Add salt and let the batter ferment overnight or for 7-8 hours depending on your climate.
    Batter
  • Once fermented add cumin seeds, green chillies, chopped coriander, chopped carrot, chopped cauliflower, curry leaves, grated/chopped ginger and coconut.
    Veggies for Pitha
  • Mix in the batter.
    Veggies mixed in batter
  • Heat a heavy bottom kadai or a pan. (Preferably cast iron).
  • Add ghee/oil. If you are using a cake tin like me, grease the tin inside and on the edges well.
    Oil/ghee in a pan
  • Now pour half of the batter in the kadai.
    Savoury Luni Poda Pitha Batter poured in a pan
  • Cover and cook on slow for 20 minutes.
  • In between, after 10 minutes, drizzle some ghee/oil on the edges.
  • After 20 minutes, drizzle some ghee/oil on top.
    Ghee drizzled on top
  • Flip and cook on the other side for another 8-10 mins.
    The bottom side of Pitha being cooked
  • To check if it is done, insert a knife or a skewer. It should come out clean.
    The bottom side of Pitha being cooked
  • Serve as is or with some spicy potato curry.

Notes

  • Standard US Size Cups used.
  • The outer crust will be crispy, it would appear burnt if you cook on a cast iron. That is the speciality of this dish. It does taste delicious. The inner will be soft, outer crispy
  • Veggies of choice can be added.
 
Tried this recipe?Share your feedback @renunad or tag #cookwithrenu
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Tried this recipe?Share your feedback @cookwithrenu or tag #cookwithrenu

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