This Manda Pitha recipe is as vintage as it can get. This is probably a recipe that goes back to thousand of years. My parents ate it, their parents ate it and their parents’ parents ate it, I’m sure. This is also recipe that just keeps getting better and better as it offers immense possibilities with infinite combinations.
I never liked it when I was growing up. The reason being, the sweet stuffing was traditionally made with jaggery and even now, I’m not very fond of jaggery. But here is the thing – there is something alluring about heritage, traditions and culture. After I moved to the USA, I started to appreciate the world I left behind. Things, like, Maa’s cooking, that I used to take for granted, became something to yearn for. And I began to recreate the dishes my Maa makes – recipes handed down to her from her mother-in-law or mom.
I started to enjoy the taste of Manda Pitha, just recently. My mother-in-law was visiting me a few year ago and I asked her to make it. She taught me the recipe step by step. I learned the steps and made it on my own in her presence the second time around.
Manda Pitha is primarily made from rice flour batter ,which is shaped into rounded balls and filled with grated coconut, cashews and cardamom powder. You have your choices available, if you want to fry, steam or boil your pithas. In this recipe, I have steamed them.
The speciality of this dish is that it is vegan and high in proteins, this is an anytime snack, loved by all age groups. This “guilt free snack” can, not only replace the “fried starters” that many people gorge during parties, but can also satisfy the taste buds when you pop a whole dumpling in your mouth and dig into the yummy sweet filling.
I love old traditional and regional dishes. They are usually foods that not only support good health but also made with whole ingredients and nutrient-dense.
Here is the thing – You can make this original Manda Pitha recipe better by using some kitchen skills for example, if you want the texture to be very light then, add some cornstarch to it while making the rice dough. You can also, fry the Manda Pitha, instead of steaming it. You can use savory fillings instead of using sweet. Go crazy with ideas, as long as your dumplings are not falling apart and hold well, you got yourself a winner.
- 1 cup Rice flour. If you don’t have ready made rice flour, soak rice for at least 2 hours and grind it to a very smooth batter by adding 2 cups of water.
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup Milk
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tbsp cardamom powder
- 1/2 cup grated Coconut
- 4 tbsp chhena or homemade paneer
- 3/4 cup sugar
Manda Pitha (Rice Dumpling with Sweet Coconut Filling)
- Boil water and milk together with cardamom powder and salt
- Add rice flour to it – part by part, while continuously stirring it to avoid lumps
- Keep stirring it in low heat until all water is absorbed and it forms into a ball
- Turn off the gas and cover the dough.
- In the meantime prepare the sweet filling by heating up 2 tbsp ghee
- Add the coconut and chhena and sugar and mix it well
- Cook this in low heat for 7/8 minutes
- Now prepare the dough by applying little oil on your palms and kneading the dough into a soft workable texture
- Make sure that the dough is not very hot
- Now take a tennis ball sized dough, make a dent in the center and put 1 tbsp of filling in it and close the opening. Smooth it all over to make it look like a ball. Make sure that there are no gaps.
- You will get around 8 to 10 balls
- Now we should steam them. Heat water in a steamer and steam the manda or dough balls for 10 mins.
- My Tip: I added a 1 tsp cornflour to my dough