Pithla is a stew made of chickpea flour, onions, and green chile peppers, with a semi-solid liquid consistency that goes beautifully well with white rice as well as with Indian bread.
3/4 cup chickpea flour
1 cup diced red onions, 1/2-inch pieces
2 pieces Thai chile peppers or any fresh green hot pepper like Serrano, diced into round thin slices
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds, black or yellow
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 piece dry red chile pepper
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, divided
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon red chile powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pinch asafetida powder (optional)
Step 1Pour oil into a thick bottomed saute pan. Turn the heat to medium. After letting the oil heat for 4 to 5 minutes, add mustard and cumin seeds. Once these seeds hit the hot oil, they will start popping.
Step 2Once the popping stops, add onions and asafetida powder and turn the heat to low. Now let the onions cook till they acquire a brown edge. This takes about 13 to 14 minutes. Don't hurry this step as it is the key to bringing out a subtle sweetness in the final dish.
Step 3Add cilantro, turmeric powder and chile pepper pieces. Sauté for a minute and add 2 cups water. Follow up with salt and red chile powder and let the mixture boil.
Step 4Once the mixture comes to a rolling boil, start adding chickpea flour. Add the flour with one hand and use a whisk to stir the flour into the water with the other hand. Try to smush the clumps as much as possible. But you don't have to decimate each and every clump. Some clumps are a part of the rustic appeal of this dish.
Step 5Add rest of the chopped cilantro and cover it the pan with lid. The chickpea flour should lose its raw taste and the pithla should come to a boil. Generally the consistency is like that of chilli, not thick like a smoothy, nor runny like broth or clear soup. Ultimately the consistency is to your preference.
Step 6Serve hot with white rice and ghee. Don't forget the side of bhurrka.