1 cup date molasses, coarsely broken into small pieces
½ cup milk, if using desiccated coconut (optional)
2 pieces of white muslin or cheese cloth, about the size of a standard paper napkin
A deep, small, round bowl to shape pitha
Special bhapa pitha making pot or saucepan and aluminum foil
Steps to prepare pitha making pan if you do not have bhapa making pan:
Fill half of a saucepan with water and cover it with double layers of aluminum foil in such a way that vapor cannot go out.
Using a fork, make few holes in the middle of the covered foil in such a way that vapors cannot go out when you place the bowl you will be using to make bhapa pitha.
Steps to prepare pitha:
Shift flour. Add salt. Add ½ cup coconut.
Sprinkle small amount of water at a time on the flour mixture to dampen the flour. The flour mixture should neither be like a dough nor like a batter but just wet. Set aside for at least 30 minutes.
If using desiccated coconut, add the milk and dampen the coconut. Set aside.
Take water in a separate bowl and soak the muslin or cheese cloth pieces. Set aside.
Shift the damp flour again through a strainer. You will likely have to sieve the wet flour through the strainer with the help of your palm.
Boil some water in the pitha making pan by covering the pan with a lid. Proceed to pitha making steps as vapor appears through the holes.
Steps to make and steam pitha:
Depending on the size of the bowl, spread flour mixture in the small bowl lightly in a way that only half the bowl is covered.
Place some coconut and molasses at the center of the bowl.
Cover the molasses and coconut by spreading more damp flour.
Take one of the muslins from water, squeeze out water and spread the wet cloth on the bowl of flour.
Gather the corners of the cloth with the bowl inside and carefully flip the bowl with the help of the cloth on the holes of the pitha making pan. The bowl should now be upside down on the holes of the pan.
Carefully take out the bowl, gather the corners on top of the flour mixture. The piece of cloth will hold the bowl shaped pitha.
Steam cook for 6-8 minutes.
Carefully unwrap the pitha from the cloth and place in a plate with the help of a spatula or spoon.
Add the hot cloth back to water bowl to soak.
Using the second piece of cloth repeat the steps for next pitha. Soak the cloth in water when done.
Rinse, squeeze water of the last cloth piece and use for the next pitha after.
Lail Hossain finds cooking to be an explosion of creativity. She is enthusiastic about modifying a laborious step of an old recipe, and experimenting with different ethnic recipes by adding her own spin to it yet keeping the recipes simple, healthy, and delicious. Originally from Bangladesh, Lail shares her journey of food, creativity and family in her blog "With A Spin". She is also very passionate about highlighting Bangladeshi cooking to the international culinary space.