Chitau Pitha is a popular pitha recipe of Odisha. It is generally prepared during the Chitalagi Amavasya or Chitau Amavasya in every Odia household. Chitau pitha is an Odia delicacy where rice and coconut are used to create a flavorful and fluffy treat.
In Chitalagi Amavasya Chitau pitha is offered to almighty Lord Jagannath. In rural areas this is more or less observed as an agricultural festival. On this occasion the farmers worship the paddy-fields and pray for good crops.
Chitau pitha is easy to prepare and tastes amazing. Follow our step-by-step instructions to make the pitha at your home. You can enjoy the pitha with Khiri or Chutney. Here I have shared three variations of Chitau Pitha. If you are looking to explore the traditional flavors of Odisha or simply want to try a new and delicious dessert recipe, Chitau Pitha is a must-try.
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What is Chitau Pitha?
Chitau pitha is a fluffy and soft pancake made from rice and coconut. It holds a special place in the hearts of Odias, especially prepared during the auspicious Chitalagi Amavasya. The pitha itself is incredibly soft, with a delightful coconut aroma through each bite. Chitau pitha resembles the size of a poori. This round pancake is not only vegan but also gains an extra dose of fluffiness from the addition of coconut.
One of the best things about Chitau Pitha is its convenience. Once you have the batter ready, you can whip up these delectable treats whenever you want. The batter can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, allowing you to enjoy fresh pitas at your leisure.
While Chitau Pitha can be enjoyed plain, it can also be prepared with a delightful stuffing of coconut, dry fruits, or chenna. The choice of whether to keep it simple or to go for the stuffing is entirely up to you.
During my childhood, my grandmother used to prepare Chitau Pitha on the occasion of Chitalagi Amavasya. I have vivid memories of her using the traditional mortar and pestle to prepare the batter, a process that seems challenging in today’s world, where we rely on grinding machines. As the pitha cooked, its delightful aroma filled the air, and I eagerly waited to relish the chitau pitha.
In the coastal region of Odisha, where coconuts are abundant, Chitau Pitha holds a special place as a traditional dish. Now, I thought to showcase the flavors of Odia cuisine and share the traditional method of preparing Chitau Pitha so that anyone can easily recreate this in the comfort of their home.
What is the Significance of Chitalagi Amavasya?
Chitalagi Amavasya, also known as Chitau Amavasya, is an annual celebration held at the sacred Shree Mandir in Odisha. This festival is dedicated to Lord Jagannath. It holds immense significance and is observed on the new moon day of the Shravan month.
During this auspicious occasion, a special ritual takes place at the Shri Mandir. The chaturddha murtis (Jagannath, Balabhadra, Suvadhra, and Sudarshana) are adorned with a golden mark known as Chita. Throughout the year, the Trinity of deities is embellished with their respective Chitas, symbolizing their divine presence.
During the grand Rath Yatra, the golden semblance or Chita on the deities’ foreheads is removed on the day of Snana Purnima as they embark on their nine-day journey to the Gundicha Temple. However, on Chitalagi Amavasya, the golden mark is once again applied to the foreheads of the Trinity, reinstating their divine adornment.
This sacred ritual holds deep spiritual significance and marks an important moment in the divine journey of Lord Jagannath and his divine siblings. Chitalagi Amavasya serves as a reminder of the divine presence and the eternal bond between Lord Jagannath and his devotees.
How to Prepare Chitau Pitha?
- Soak raw rice for 5-6 hours. The more time you soak rice, the more smooth the batter will be.
- In a bowl, add soaked rice and drain extra water. In the same bowl, add an equal amount of grated coconut and mix them.
- In a blending jar, add the mix of rice and grated coconut. Add a little water and make a smooth paste.
- Do not add all the mix at a time; otherwise, you can not get a smooth consistency batter.
- Pour all the batter into a large bowl and ferment it for 4-5 hours and not longer than that. As we use coconut, it may sour the batter if we allow it to ferment for a long time.
- Divide the mix into three parts as I am going to prepare three versions of chitau pitha.
Let’s start with the process of Chitau Pitha.
Chitau Pitha Process 1:
In the first bowl, add salt as per taste. Do not add water because after adding salt, the batter automatically becomes thin. For this chitau pitha recipe, we want thick batter like the idli batter.
Hot a pan or tawa on medium flame. Grease a little ghee on top of it. Add the batter in the middle, about a full ladle, and do not spread it. Cover the surface with a small lid. Add two tablespoons of water after covering the lid and allow it to cook for some time until the below layer is golden brown. Take out the lid and keep the pitha on a plate. Do not cook on the other side because it is done on both sides as we have added water after covering the lid, which helps to cook the pitha on both sides.
Chitau Pitha Process 2:
In a pan, Add ½ cup grated coconut and saute for some time. Add powder jaggery in it and mix. Saute for another 2-3 minutes until jaggery melts completely.
Add shredded chenna. It is optional. But believe me; it tastes nice in this stuffed chitau pitha.
In this mix, add Chopped cashew, almond, and cardamom powder. Mix all well and keep on a plate.
Add salt as per taste in the batter. Add the batter in the middle of the greased pan or tawa. Sprinkle the jaggery, coconut, chenna, and dry fruits mix. Cover the lid and add little water around the lid, which helps to cook the chitau pitha.
After some time, remove the pitha with the help of a sharp ladle and keep it on a plate. Our second version of pitha is ready now. Move next to prepare the third version of pitha.
Chitau Pitha Process 3:
This version is also simple to make. If you want some sweet version of pitha, then you can try this type.
Add salt to the third batter and mix properly. In the batter, mix powder jaggery as per your taste, how much sweetness you like in the pitha, and mix well.
You can add sugar instead of jaggery, but pure jaggery is good for health, and it gives a nice color to the chitau pitha. So I recommend jaggery for this recipe.
Follow the previous step and make the pitha. This way, you can make three versions of chitau pitha from a single batter.
Chitau Pitha is a traditional delicacy of Odisha that is savored during the auspicious occasion of Chitalagi Amavasya or Chitau Amavasya.
2 cups Rice (Raw rice)
2 cups Grated coconut
2 tbsp Jaggery
1 tsp Ghee
Salt as per taste
Water as required
4 tbsp Jaggery
½ cup coconut (Grated)
1 tbsp chenna (Grated)
1 tbsp cashew and almonds (Chopped)
¼ tsp cardamom powder
1. Thoroughly wash raw rice 5-6 times and remove impurities, if any. Soak raw rice in water for 5-6 hours. The longer you soak the rice, the smoother the batter will be.
2. Drain the excess water and transfer the soaked rice to another bowl. In the same bowl, add an equal amount of grated coconut and mix them.
3. Transfer the mixture of rice and grated coconut to a blending jar. Add a small amount of water to help with blending and make a smooth paste. It’s important not to add all the mixture at once, as this may prevent you from achieving a smooth consistency batter. The more smooth the batter is, the Chitau Pitha becomes soft and fluffier.
4. Pour the entire batter into a large bowl. Allow it to ferment for 4-5 hours, but be careful not to let it ferment for too long. The presence of coconut in the batter can cause it to sour if left to ferment for an extended period.
5. After the fermentation period, divide the batter into three equal parts. This division is necessary as we are planning to prepare three different versions of chitau pitha.
Chitau Pitha Process 1:
1. In the first bowl, add salt according to your taste, but do not add water as the batter naturally becomes thin after adding salt. For this Chitau Pitha recipe, we want a thick batter similar to pancake batter.
2. Heat a pan or tawa over a medium flame and apply a light layer of ghee on top.
3. Take a ladleful of the batter and pour it onto the center of the pan without spreading it.
4. Cover the pan with a small lid, and while it’s covered, add two tablespoons of water around the lid. Allow it to cook for some time until the bottom layer turns golden brown.
5. Remove the lid and transfer the cooked pitha onto a plate. There’s no need to cook the other side as both sides are already cooked. The water added to the lid helped in cooking the pitha on both sides.
Chitau Pitha Process 2:
1. In a pan, add ½ cup of grated coconut and sauté it for a while.
2. Next, add powdered jaggery to the pan with the coconut and mix it well. Continue sautéing for another 2-3 minutes until the jaggery completely melts.
3. Include shredded chenna in the mixture. Trust me; it adds a delightful taste to this stuffed chitau pitha. It is purely optional. If you want, you can add.
4. To the coconut-jaggery mixture, add chopped cashews, almonds, and cardamom powder. Mix everything thoroughly and transfer the mixture to a plate.
5. Now, add salt to the batter according to your taste. Take the greased pan or tawa and pour the batter into the middle.
6. Sprinkle the prepared jaggery, coconut, chenna, and dry fruit mixture on top of the batter.
7. Cover the pan with a lid and pour a small amount of water around the lid. This will help cook the chitau pitha evenly.
8. After some time, carefully remove the pitha from the pan using a sharp ladle and place it on a plate. Our second version of pitha is now ready. Let’s move on to preparing the third version.
Chitau Pitha Process 3:
1. This version of chitau pitha is also quite simple to make and offers a sweet variation.
2. In the third batter, add salt and mix it thoroughly. Then, incorporate powdered jaggery into the batter according to your preferred level of sweetness for the pitha. Mix everything well to ensure the jaggery is evenly distributed.
3. While sugar can be used instead of jaggery, I recommend using pure jaggery as it is healthier and imparts a delightful color to the chitau pitha.
4. Follow the same steps as before to make the pitha, using this jaggery-infused batter. By doing so, you will have successfully created three distinct versions of chitau pitha from a single batter.
1. Use equal amounts of raw rice and coconut to make chitau pitha.
2. Make the batter in batches while adding little by little water to make a smooth, consistency batter for the chitau pitha recipe.
3. Ferment the batter for not more than 5 hours, as the coconut used in the batter can make it sour.