At our home Dal ke Phare or Pitha was customary for bhai dooj lunch. My ears still ring with the voice of Maa scolding, "At least don't fight on bhai dooj," but we never listened. In the midst of all this halla gulla, we tried to keep the peace in front of bhagwan ji at least but in the end we always had a major argument when my brother used to make funny faces or remarks while touching our feet. In the midst of this, we always told our sister to choose a side and the peace loving sibling of ours was traumatized between us all the time.
Magical were those times. Years passed, I changed states, countries, and continents but never forgot to follow the tradition. We siblings hardly meet for festivals, and when we do, it is in the summer, when schools are closed. Life has been on the constant move since then, but moments like those always feel that we have never left home.
It is very easy to forget tradition and adopt a new way of life, but it's always a wonderful thing to keep everything alive and learn new things while doing that. With my kids, I always follow a simple tradition and I expect they will continue it like we did.
Dal ke phare or Pitha is a dumpling made out of rice flour or wheat flour, in which we stuff the lentils or as we call it, Pitthi. Pitthi is made of soaked chana dal and along with some spices, it tastes amazing It's a popular dish in parts of Bihar and eastern UP, especially the Bhojpuri region.
The Phara/Pitha has two versions: one is steamed one and the other one is a fried one. I love both and with a hare dhaniye ki chutney, it takes your tastes buds to another level.
Here I am sharing a step-by-step recipe of Dal ka phare or Pitha with wheat flour shells. If you want, you can certainly use Rice flour.
Dal ke Phare /Pitha
- For making the Dough
- 2 Cups Wheat Flour
- Pinch of salt.
- Water for kneading the dough.
- 1 Tsp Canola oil /any other oil of your choice.
- Making of Stuffing /Pitthi
- 1 Cup Chana Dal soaked at least for 2-3 hours .
- 1 Tsp Ginger chopped finely
- 1 Tsp Garlic
- ⅓ Cups Cilantro leaves chopped
- 2 Green Chilies
- A pinch of asafoetida/Hing
- Salt according to taste.
- Wash the Dal well and soak it in enough water .
- Drain it .
- Grind all the dal ,ginger ,garlic,green chilies,salt ,hing and cilantro leaves together,into a smooth paste.
- Remove the paste in a bowl and keep it aside.
- Making of Dough
- Mix whole wheat flour ,salt and water to make a smooth and firm dough .
- AFter making the dough apply all the oil over it and knead it for few minutes . That will make dough smooth and supple.
- Assembling the Pitha.
- Take a small size ball of dough.
- Roll it nicely like a small poori. Poori should not be too thick or thin.
- Place 1 ½ spoon of pitthi on the flattened dough.
- Gently fold over the flattened dough and pinch the edges to close the pitha. Shape will look like a pitha.
- Make all the pithas and keep it in a large tray or plate.
- Now take a big pot and fill it with water . Add salt to it .
- When the water starts to boil ,add phara or pitha one by one.
- Let it boil on medium for 10-12 minutes with half covered by lid.
- After 10-12 minute it will start to come on the surface of water/float on the water ,if not leave it for a few minutes more.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove all the pharas on a paper towel.
- Your Pharas are ready to serve .
- How to make fried Phara /Pitha.
- Take a Phara and cut it into three pieces with a sharp knife.
- Take a wok and add some oil for deep frying.
- When the oil is quite hot fry the Phara/Pitha pieces till they are crisp and red.
- Remove them on a paper towel .
- Serve them with hari dhaniye ki chutney or chutney of your choice.