Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Arisa Pitha / Arsa Pithe

Nostalgia is the mother of ... well ... if not invention in my case ... trying my hand at making Arisa Pitha.
Pithas ( Oriya) / Pithes (Bengali ) are cooked sweet or savory items usually made from agrarian products like rice, lentils, coconut and jaggery or sugar. If it is a prasad for Jagannath, then it is always jaggery that is used.

Arisa pitha, a very traditional sweetmeat, is one of my favourite pithas. This was never made at home .... not even by the cook who was a local ... as it was easily available to buy. This is also a part of the Chappan Bhog (Chappan = 56, but the actual number of dishes made for Jagannath is 156 ) prasad at any Jagannath mandir .... those are fried in ghee and last very long.

Whenever I used to leave home after a vacation, Bapi would order at the temple a huge batch and get around more than a kilo of these .... each the size of a dinner plate .... hard and tough ... and very sweet. I just had to break off a piece and munch on it to supress the hunger pangs while waiting for our dinner dabba to arrive. :-)

Today is Rath Yatra. Lord Jagannath ... the lord of the universe ... steps out of the mandir to be amongst his devotees. So while watching the telecast and listening to the commentary in Oriya ... am transported back home. So decided to make the Arisa Pitha to celebrate while listening to Kalia's (Jagannath) escapades and bhajans and slokas on the telly.

Oh ... I do have a huge collection Bhikari Bala's janans ( bhajans ) ... but right now I will not miss the chance to listen to the anecdotes on Chokadola ( The one with wheel like eyes i.e. Jagannath ) in fluent Oriya on the telly. :-)

Like most of my recipes, I have learnt to make this myself ( with a few inputs from a Panda(priest) at the kitchen of the Jagannath mandir in Puri ). So I do not follow any measurements.

And found it very simple to make ... which has always made me wonder at the huge agitation at home whenever I wanted these to be made. Those that are easily available at the sweet shops are small, usually made of sugar and hence not as dark and have sesame seeds sprinkled. Nothing like the original ones that are made at the Jagannath temple.

Need : Rice flour ( easily available in packets off the shelf ), jaggery / gur, a little water, a pinch of black pepper, a pinch of salt and white oil or ghee (clarified butter ) for deep frying ( I usually use oil and add around 2 tbsp ghee to it for the flavour).

How to : Heat a little water in a non stick kadhai / wok. Add enough jaggery / gur and a pinch of salt. Cover and let it boil till the gur is dissolved.

Remove cover . Add the black pepper powder and then add rice flour slowly. Keep stirring all the while so that there are no lumps.

Remove from flame and let it cool a while.

While still warm, take small balls from the dough and make flat patties with your hand. Use dry rice flour so that the dough does not stick to your hands.

Do not try to make perfect rounds .... you won't be able to. And there lies the beauty of these pithas ... slightly irregular, dark brown rounds.

Heat enough oil + ghee. Gently slide in one patty at a time and deep fry till dark brown on both sides.
Don't wait for them to puff up a la puris ... they won't.
When removing from oil you may feel they are still limp ... do not worry ... they will harden as they cool.

Done ! The whole thing takes not more than 40 minutes if you have the ingredients at home.

If fried in pure ghee, these can be offered as prasad. And will stay fresh for a very long time.
Enjoy !!
PS : I did not realise that my comment section was giving trouble to all you good souls out there until a couple of you informed me. Am sorry for that and have changed the settings. Hope you will be able to speak your mind here henceforth without any more hitch.


  1. I have never had this, looks really a wonderful sweet to have.
    I have the same three dolls we bought from a oriya shop in Mumbai.

  2. Wow - those are awesome... You have put me in pure nostalgia mode today... I have always eaten the Arisa Pithas that my grandma made.

    I am amazed you made it at home. My mom says its very difficult to pull together and I believe her - hats off to you!

    Missing ratha yatra here...

  3. I am in total disbelief that u actually made these at home!! kudos to you sharmila!!

    amader bari r kache, like 5 minutes walk.. is mahesh er rath.. mela hoye tar shathey.. now it sounds like a storybook to me.. so long ago & so many memories of rath jatra & plastic er ar knacher churi, kather putul..

    puri gele amader egulo khabar lobhe lobhe thaktam:-)

  4. Your description makes me so want to try these, and wow,you learnt it from the temple priest? how cool is that!

  5. a lil sweet..a lil crispy..perfect for anytime of the day!!

  6. I have never made pitha at home but we do have this coated with sugar :) we offer similar one to shreenathji..visiting shreenathji was a tradition, we visit there every year and get big boxes of these as prasads :)

  7. Delicious, looks like Athirasam in Tamil Cuisine.

  8. What an incredibly delicious dish! Jaggery and black pepper? Now that's a unique yet wonderful combination. Your pictures are making me long for some, Sharmila.

  9. Never had these....are they something like Gawja?

  10. What a lovely post..I haven't had these, but can taste them the way you have described the recipe and the atmosphere. I would want to break off pieces too.Lovely.

  11. The batter reminded me of appam. I am sure I will love these. I am fond of anything with jaggery and rice flour. I am yet to visit Puri Jagannath! I so want these dolls too.

  12. mmmhh..i can almost feel the taste with all those jaggery in to me dear..:)

  13. Thanks HC! They are the idols of Jagannath, Balbhadra & Subhadra. :-)

    Thanks Somoo! On the contrary ... as you can see, they are very easy to make .. even I am surprised at why everybody created that 'difficult' hype back home. Try making it once. :-)

    Thanks Soma! Rother mela amio khub miss kori .. ami matir putul kintam. :-)

    Thanks Rashmi! I was lucky to get hold of a good person... they are usually the hoity toity types. :-)

    Thanks Rush! But very crisp. I keep nibbling on them the whole day. :-)

    Thanks Parita! The ones at Nathdwara have camphor added to them. :-)

    Thanks Cilantro! You are right ... these are indeed like the athirasam. :-)

    Thanks Vaishali! I really wish I could share some with you. :-)

    No Sharmistha ... gawja is different. Egulo ek dhoroner gurer pithe. :-)

    Thanks Bharti! Given the chance I'd happily make some for you. :-)

    Thanks Harini! Those are the idols of lord Jagannath, Balbhadra & Subhadra devi. :-)

    Thanks Varsha! :-)

  14. I love this ....have bookmarked also ...very nice persentation.

  15. dekhe mone hochhe topa top mukhe pure dii....although I am not too big a fan of sweets but lately khoob khete ichhe korchhe mishti jinish! This is perfect for my cravings :)

  16. This looks so delicious, prasad is always yum!

  17. this is my first time visiting your blog -- this bread really looks amazing

  18. Something new to me.....looks yummylicious......

  19. My first time here..u hv a nice blog dear..
    We also make this at home,but we call it as Ariselu/Kajjayam.
    Do visit my blog when u get time..

  20. i have had the puri prasad many times but this looks even better....the homemade feel comes through.
    i have tasted almost all and made some of the bengali pithey n i like jaggery n coconut combo very much....this one looks unique .

  21. Thanks Sharmila for hoppingby my our blog, in btn ArsaPithe has comeout very well..lot of work tho.

  22. Thanks Preeti,Joyeeta, Bindiya, Kf, Prathibha, Sangeeta, A2Z! :-)

    Thanks Joyeeta! Tule nao ekta. :-)

    Thanks Justin! It is the kind that can be had as a snack and not served at meals. :-)

  23. Sharmila, khub chotobelai puri giyechilam(about 15 years back)..khub abhcha mane parche ei pithe gulor katha..tomar pithe dekhe abar Puri jete ichcha karche, tomar pithegulo ekhuni mukhe purte ichcha karche..lovely, that's why I love blogging...You can get anything here..Thanks< Sharmila, surely try korbo tomar recipe ta..sounds easy

  24. Never tasted this... looks really yummy...

  25. Thanks Indrani! Do try it ... you will be surprised at how easy it actually is. :-)

    Thanks Bergamot! :-)

  26. Photo ta dekei kolkata-r katha mone pore galo . Never tried at home ... Dekte darun lagche ...Ebar ektu sahos kote banate chesta korbo...

  27. :Delicious! I going to try to make this Arisa Pitha . They look so Good. Perfect for afternoon snack!

    Thanks for sharing your recipe:)

    Join, Post your comments!
    and you can visit me If I can visit you:)

    Have a Wonderful Day~

  28. wow arisa pithas sounds so much like our arthirasam..right..I can imagine how it must have taste...great sharmila..

  29. Totally new Arsa Pithe and I cannot recall anything similar that we make in the South. Looks complicated but worth it.

  30. hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii sharmila,
    hope alls fine at ur end! The post made made me nostalgic too :) I'd tasted this when I'd been to puri a year back. wow! am awed by the fact u got the recipe from a panda!!! could it get more cool-er ;) than that!!! I am drooling loooking at the I really donknow if I'll make it at home but I'll come back for a second, third ,fourth.....look at ur blog ;)
    keep rocking !

  31. Arisa Pitha looks yum.we Sindhis make something similar to this except we dont roll it.Thanks for changing the setting ...

  32. Bah ki shundor pitha, jani na kheyechi kina, anyo kothao ki paoa jai na ki shudhu Puri ?

    dekho Rath chilo setao kheyal korlam na :(

  33. this looks so traditional and new fro me,..lovely click too,..if this is prepared during weddin function thn u can this for my event,..and will be glad if u can send bengali shadi platter,.,,:-)

  34. The hubby is Oriya so he'll be glad I found the recipe for this :)

  35. Thanks Preety! :-)

    Chesta kore dekho Dolon ... bhalo lagbe. And thanks! :-)

    Thanks foodcreate! :-)

    Thanks Valli! :-)

    Thanks RC! It does look complicated .. but is actually pretty quick to make. :-)

    Great to hear from you again Suparna! And thanks! :-)

    Thanks Avisha! This isn't rolled too ... just patted. :-)

    Thanks Sandeepa! Orissa te onek jayega te pawa jaye. :-)

    Thanks Priyanka! I have been unable to make a platter for your event as I have people visiting at home who are pure veggies .. and what is a bengali wedding without fish? :-(

    Thanks Manasi! :-)

  36. delicious recipe with delightful write-up! now that is something I always enjoy :)

  37. Sweet delicacy,I'd love to bite in to these (:

  38. Lovely dish and nice presentation in front of the deity.

    We south indians call this as Adirasam but for the black pepper powder that you have added.

    First time to your blog and find it really nice. Keep it going. will be here often.

    Do take a look at my blogs when you find time.

  39. Thanks Sia, Yasmeen, Nithya! :-)

  40. no probs, ur time,..i hve extended the deadline,,..

  41. Dear Sharmila
    Many thanks for your comments on my Arisa blog..I have responded. I wished I had seen this blog before.We share a very common passion for dear Arisha, I guess. Next time you make , please put a small video clip capturing the last few minutes of the dough making. I will be able to pick up.

    Now need to read each of your writing to enjoy some quality time.
    By the way I tagged your blog simply because it is not a " COPY PASTED" One :-)



  42. Ushnish ... will keep that in mind. :-)
    But do have a look at the snaps and follow the instructions ... they will help.
    The dough should start to thicken while cooking ... else it might turn watery and the arisa will stay soft even after frying.
    Which is why I have posted a snap of the completed dough.
    Thanks for leaving lines here. :-)

  43. Sharmila, tomar pither recipe ta porte porte khub echhe holo banabar. Jhotpot hoye gelo. They turned out very crunchy. I just faced one problem ... while I was trying to flip the pithes once to brown the other side, some of the pithes came apart and broke into small pieces. Ofcourse the small pices were also very crunchy and tasty.

  44. Glad you liked them Madhu and thanks for letting me know. :-)
    Yeah ... it does happen ... due to the jagerry that turns soft in the hot oil. You just have to be very careful when turning them. Keeping the pithas small in size helps.

  45. Dear Sharmila
    Madhu-r comment dekhlam..I have realized, the Gurh quality in the market is very bad, full of chemicals, bleaching agent , stabilizer, Maida etc to make them light color. Few months back, a friend, who have their own Gurh production facility, gave me pure gurh ( that they dont sell, but eat). It was those very dark brown (almost black) type. You wont believe the arisa came out very nice..( I have used your tips of course)
    Bhalo theko...

  46. Thanks for the info Ushnishda! You are very lucky. :-)

  47. Hi , well have been looking for a good recipe for Arisa Pitha for long .. My hubby is an oriya and he absolutely loves this and so do i .. the last time i tried i somehow made a mess out of it all . Here's hoping u get it right this time. Will keep u posted.

  48. CCM. .. am sure they'll come out fine. Good luck. :-)

  49. Thanks for this recipe. Been trying to make this for a long time. I soak the rice, drain and grind it...1 cup rice and 1 cup jaggery and no water. Maybe don't get the consistency of jaggery right and it breaks in hot oil...will try your way now..Thanks in advance.

  50. Suneeta. .. do try making it my way.I am sure you will be happy with the result. Btw I use readymade rice flour and it works fine. Good luck and let me know if you have any questions. :-)

  51. I had the chance to taste them yes, home made ones at the wedding of an family friend. And I must admit they were superlative. Since then I had been trying to locate the recipe. Thanks for sharing this.

  52. Thank you Mou. Glad that you will be able to enjoy them now.

  53. Am a bengali by marriage and keep looking for unusual recipes that I have not tasted at any of my many shoshur baris. I have a query though before I try it. Kon gur nebo? Patali gur or the usual organic gur available everywhere? This one looks a very promising thing to try...looks yum..

  54. I am a bengali by marriage and keep looking for unusual recipes that I have not tasted at any of my many shoshur baris. Onek rokom pithe kheychi kintu eta prothom dekhlam. I am sure this is a promising one for my completely sweet lover bong family...I have a query though before I try it. Kon gur nebo? Patali gur or the usual organic gur available everywhere?

    1. You can use any gur available Anshu. I used the usual sugarcane gur that we get here.
      Good luck!


Please do not spam.