1. Health & Lifestyle

Bhaka Pitha: the original north Bengal’s delicacy made for the cold winters

Prity Barman
Prity Barman
Woman preparing Bhaka Pitha

India is known for its vibrant colours, festivals and food across the globe. With every culture comes their traditions, values & festivals. Though the entire nation has a lot of diversity, there is one common thing which binds us all together: It’s the love for Indian food. 

It is very well said that at every 100 meters in India the food culture changes. From the top in the Northern Himalayas to the Southern Beaches of Kerala, Indian food covers all kinds of dishes as well as cuisines. Dishes like Idli- Dosa, Rajma-Chawal, Chole-Bhature and the very famous Biryanis , there’s so much of flavours and spices which is going on in the meals. It’s not just the Indian’s who have developed the cravings, now these dishes have made a big place in everyone’s heart globally. 

However, there’s so much more in to the cuisines and dishes which need to be appreciated. Like mentioned earlier there are lots of traditions and tribes in India, so it’s much more likely to have many more such traditional or tribal dishes. 

Talking about one such dish, the upper part of the West Bengal most popularly known as the North Bengal has such amazing and mouth watering delicacies that every person try once.  

Traditional rice cakes of the Rajbanghsi community of the North Bengal, is most commonly known as “Bhaka Pitha”. These rice cakes have been in tradition for almost more than 100s of years here in the local community. Made out of hand grounded rice flour, unsweetened coconut and jaggery, this particular dish is the favourite morning or evening snack for the locals here in North Bengal, especially during the Winter Season. It is made on earthen utensils and on wood fire which gives it the special earthly taste. 

Process of Preparing Bhaka Pitha

During the cold winters of December to February this dish is made and served hot out in the streets by local sellers. One of the sellers in Siliguri had shared the delicious recipe of this Bhaka Pitha in a very general conversation. Below is the complete process of how it is made: 

  • At first we need to set up the place for cooking. On top of wooden fire we need to place an earthernutensil which is filled with water (almost more than half of the utensil must be covered). Then place a clean muslin cloth and cover the mouth of the utensil. 

  • Next in a small bowl we need to fill the rice flour, remove the excess and make a small hole to fill it up with jaggery and shredded coconut.

  • After putting the fillings we need to again cover it with some of the rice flour so that the fillings don’t ooze out.

  • Lastly we need to place the bowl invertedly over the muslin cloth and remove the bowl very slowly.

  • Next we need to cover up the rice cake with another piece of cloth and allow it to cook for about 4 to 5 mins per side.

The recipe seems to be very easy but might be bit difficult to understand virtually. However, it is actually a very simple and a super fast snack which anyone could make with just 3 ingredients. The sweet and coconut taste of this rice cake is considered to be a heavenly snack by the locals here in North Bengal. 

Now another interesting fact about this delicious rice cake is that it is super healthy as it requires no oil no kind of fats and no kind of extra cooking. It not just keeps people here warm but also is a well filling food. It’s so cost effective that all the people including the homeless people can afford. A single piece of this Bhaka Pitha cost around Rs 5 to Rs 10 depending on its size. 

Bhaka pitha or also known as Bhapa pitha has several versions across the North Bengal districts. In some places it is served hot with spicy curry whereas in other districts it’s served with pickles too. 

There are several other such tribal food dishes which need to be known and tried once in our life. Bengal is much more than just the regular fish and rice. 

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