Pithas can be grouped under a dessert category which uses the newly harvested rice or the date palm jaggery. Winter end is the time when these ingredients are available. The ladies of the house usually remain busy whipping up a variety of desserts.
Small wooden molds are available designed in folk tradition, like flower, conch shell, fish etc items that are abundant in nature. This takes ‘making Pithas’ to a folk art I’d say. In the absence of these delicate molds one can improvise use the back of a glass, cookie cutter or any other design at hand.
I have used a flower motif here.
This dessert can be made into a crispy version by adding the sugar into the ingredient before frying or a syrup dunked one by making a sugar syrup and dip them in it for a bit. Some like it crispy others prefer the melt in the mouth version. Take your pick.
Recipe; Made 18 using 1 tbsp portion each
Rice flour 1 cup
Ground coconut 1 cup
Milk 1 cup
Cardamom powder 1/4 tsp
Sugar 1 cup
Water 2 cups
Make a sugar syrup with the above measurement. The sugar should just melt completely in the water. It doesn’t have to be thick.
Take a saucepan on high heat, add the milk. As soon as it is hot add the coconut powder, cover and cook till it comes to a boil. Crank the heat down. Add the rice flour and give it a nice mix. Throw in the cardamom powder, put the gas off and let it sit that way for 5 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to a plate. Knead it into a smooth dough when it still is hot but can be handled. Divide into 18 small portion. Use a mold if you have or shape it as you want and fry them in medium heat till both sides have a light brown colour.
If you are going for the crispy version add about half cup sugar in the dough before frying.
The melt in the mouth version would require these to be dipped in the syrup for 15 minutes. Take them out of the syrup and collect them on a serving plate.