Today’s menu is a very simple yet tasty delicacy from Maharashtra. You can call it a comfort meal in any Maharashtrian household – Pithla-Gakar. Pithla means gram flour mixed with yogurt and water with a tempering of green chili, mustard seeds and turmeric. When you run out of veggies, or when you are not in an elaborated cooking, or you are in a rush, pithla is a perfect dish to go with rice or chapatis. Gakar is small (poori size) chapatti but not thin. I remember my Aai used to serve it with homemade toop (clarified butter) and Gul (jiggery). As a kid, I never enjoyed Pithla-Gakar a lot. I don’t know why. I used to ask for normal chapati instead of gakar. But last India trip brought my almost gone interest back in Pithla-Gakar. Credit goes to my BIL. He makes awesome Pithla-Gakar. My sister thought I will not have Gakar so she served me Chapati but I didn’t even touch a single chapati. After coming back, I decided to make it. And I think, I did justice to the dish to a very extent. At least I am happy for trying out this authentic dish. And thanks to my BIL for making such yummy Pithla-Gakar.
For Gakar you will need:
- Whole wheat flour – 2 cups
- Salt – to taste
- Carom seeds – ½ teaspoon
- Oil – 1 to 2 tablespoons
- Water – for kneading
- Mix all the ingredients. Knead it to tight dough. Add 1 tablespoon oil while kneading the dough. Cover it and keep it for half an hour. The dough should not be very soft; it should be like the one we knead for preparing Puris.
- Make medium sized balls of the dough.
- Roll it to form a small disc. The size of it should be less than that of puri. Also it should not be as thin as chapatti. I prefer to do four in one batch. While rolling, do not use wheat flour like the way we prepare chapati. It should be similar to puri preparation.
- Take a pan and keep it on a medium-low heat.
- Add the rolled Gakars on it.
- Keep it for 2-3 minutes. Now turn all of them on the other side and keep it for 3-4 minutes.
- Finally one by one, let them puff up directly on the gas top. I use a rack for this part similar to what I do while making fulkas. They should open like Puris or Fulkas.
- Transfer them to a casserrole and top it with ghee.
Now let’s make Pithla.
- 1/2 Onion – chopped
- Mustard seeds – one teaspoon
- Asafoetida (hing)
- 2 Green chilies – slit vertically
- Turmeric powder – half teaspoon
- Carom seeds – 1 teaspoon
- Besan (gram flour) – 4 tablespoon
- Water – 2 -3 cups
- Yogurt – approximately 1/2 cup
- In a mixing bowl, add 4 tablespoon besan, salt and water, yogurt and mix well. Make sure no lumps are formed.
- In a vok (Kadhai), add 2 tablespoon Oil and add mustard. Once it crackles, add carom seeds, asafoetida and green chilies.
- Next add chopped onions and fry till they turn golden brown.
- Next add turmeric powder.
- Next pour the besan mixture and stir well. Add around 2-3 cups of water. Adjust water according to your desired consistency.
- Keep stirring in between so that it does not sick the bottom.
- Cover it and let it cook for around 10 minutes so that besan is completely cooked.
Your Pithla-Gakar is ready. Serve it with Gul and Ghee. And yes, Thecha goes very well with this. Here is the recipe for Thecha.