Monday, October 5, 2009

ANOTHER MEMORABLE DATE WITH DEAR ARISHA

(NOTE FOR THE READERS WHO DO NOT KNOW ARISHA: Unfortunately Arisha is no beautiful lady in my neighborhood. It is one of the finest sweet dishes (Pitha in Oriya) made in Orissa. It is also made throughout South India but with different names).


PREAMBLE


Arisha Pitha has been my favorite sweet dish from my childhood days. It was not made in my home. So I had to rely on my friends and neighbors and eagerly waited for some festival to come by. However Arisha Pitha could be preserved for quite some time without the intervention of refrigeration. (There was no fridge those days, anyway). Therefore the supply was almost continuous in between festivals too. My neighbors loved me as a little kid and most of the time I used play in their courtyard. So when I used to get tired or pretended to be tired, I would get Arisha and may other pithas immediately to gain energy.

It has been always in my mind to make Arisha someday. You may ask what is so great about this pitha or sweet? Well I dont have the answer, in fact some people ,( my friends) never liked it beyond a bite or two. I just like it, and may be the childhood memories are playing a great role in this. Arisha is kind of obsession ( Joonoon) for me, one of my magnificent obsessions.

Dates with Arisha in the past had been disastrous. Either it came out too hard to bite or just disintegrated while frying. I am now doing lot of research to produce some thing which will be close to the one which lingers in my memory. ( I frequently receive consignments of Karnataki version of Arisha here in India or abroad, it is tasty but different and made of Sugar mainly. It obviously lacks the aroma of fried Jaggery base.)

It is very difficult to make, simply because it is based fully on cooking skill , which one can only acquire by participating in the making process and with a skilled persons ( like Mom, Grand Mom etc). So in absence of this, I am trying it out by talking to experts and reading.

After doing lot of research on internet I came across many publications but most were copied and pasted from one another. I took some ideas from my Boudi in Bangalore and Vijaya in Bhubaneswar, both are experts. The normal guidance was " come here we will make for you and teach you too, dont waste time trying on your own etc".

The other day I came across one recipe at " homeoriyafood.blogpost,", which referred to Mom's method and not the blogger's. Well that was it, some thing real!!. It contained some key processes and had come from an experienced person. But it was not enough , as I said one had to participate in the making to perfect it.
So I decided to try it out based on the blog and with some possible conference call to Bangalore and Bhubaneswar, in case I was in trouble.

INGREDIENTS

The ingredients are only three. But there were too many information about the ratio of ingredients. So I decided to stick to the proportion in homeoriyafood blog..

1. Rice 2 cups
2. Jaggery 2 Cups. ( Sugar doesn't give the true flavor of Arisha)
3. Water 1 cup ( I had information for using 1/4th cup to 2 cups, it was a big trouble to decide with such              wide variations.!!!)
4. Oil/ Ghee to fry ( approx  2 cups )

PROCEDURE


1. Wash and soak rice for 3-4 hrs, drain and air dry on a cloth or paper to remove adhered moisture.

2. Grind the rice in a grinder. The powder should not be too fine. ( It should be mostly close to Suji ( semolina) and some fine powder is OK.)

3. Crush Jaggery lump to small chunks and major 2 cups. ( Crushing to small chunks gives good measurement)

4. Take a thick bottom Kadai , add water 1 cup and the jagery, slowly heat to make a solution.

5. Start boiling the solution to foaming. Feel the stickiness without burning finger. ( This stickiness part is tricky to assess and must see some one doing it. I used an old method, I put 1/2 spoon of boiling Jaggery in  a cup of cold water to see it was not dispersing in water and one could hold the sticky mass and feel).



Boiling Jaggery being sampled

6. Start adding Rice flour to the mix slowly  and stir continuously.

7. Continue stirring as the mix thickens. This a tricky step. I didn't know when to stop. It remains quite fluid as it is very hot. Last time when the dough was formed it became a hard mass after cooling and could not do any thing further). So at the end I started taking out small portion and cooled fast to see if it remained a dough fit for shaping.



The Dough in the making , when should I stop ??


8. The dough would stop sticking , switch off burner and allow to cool .

9. Make round shapes like puri about  7 to 8 mm thick ( even thicker) and 3 to 4 inch in diameter. You may sprinkle rashi ( sesame ) to give a nice aroma, which goes well with Jaggery.



Shaped Arisha ready for frying 


9. Heat Ghee or oil in a Kadhai, thick bottom.

10. Fry the Pitha both sides under very low heat. It will turn  dark brown because of Jaggery.

11. The Arisha was quite tasty and finished too.



Arisha being fried, ( Oh! Poor dear!!) 

The pitha looks darker because Jaggery and it was difficult to control heat. Next time I would take a bigger Kadhai and fry 3-4 at a time to control heat.




Ready to eat



ACKNOWLEDGEMENT 

Many thanks to homeoriyafood.blogspot.com, Sm. Vijaya Nath, and Sana Bhauja for the recipe, useful tips and encouragement.

NEXT STEP


More research and a practical training

APOLOGIES

Dear Arisha , sorry I could not live up to your full expectation this time. But trust me I will make it up during our future dates. Will miss you really...

16 comments:

Sharmila said...

Thanks for following my blog. I love arisa pitha too and have made and posted it too. It is not cut and pasted from anywhere else. :-)

Ushnish Ghosh said...

Dear Sharmila
Many thanks,I wished I had seen your Arisa blog before venturing into it yesterday.I would have got some tips. You still had some practical tips from the experts. Will try next week. The end point detection remains a troubled area for me. Try a Video take of the last few minutes and post.

I seldom tag blogs..I have tagged yours simply because it has lot of information on my prime interst area cooking , travelling and photography and on top , These are not COPY Or paste..it is pretty serious and sincere writing.
Let me read one by one

will try the traditional recipes posted by you.
regards

Home Cooked Oriya Food said...

Ushnish - did your Arisha come out a little bit crunchy? I like mine that way and my Aei also makes it that way. Its not as hard as a rock, but you get a crunch when you eat it.
Also she fries 1 or 2 Arisha at a time...
Yours looks perfect to me... Maybe I will try it one day myself....

Ushnish Ghosh said...

Somoo, yes it was really bit crunchy on the surface and I like it that way. But I think, I should have fried for little less time. I am not sure if I can repeat the taste.
Go ahead and try it. Use Jaggery.I feel nothing to bit fried Jaggery flavor.
There is some good tips at Sharmila's site, you have seen already.
Now I am in trouble..every body liked it so much , that I have to make it frequently.
By the way, do you have the recipe of " Barha Osha" Pitha. (It looks like smooth Halua type made of rice powder coconut and some spices). Is Barha Osha during Kartika Purnima?
(Reminds me of Bali jatra)

gopa said...

Balijatra bara osha everything is coming making me nostalgic keep on having the dates and keppevryone smiling best regds

Home Cooked Oriya Food said...

Ushnish - is the " Barha Osha" Pitha - manda pitha ? Wait for my MIL to come in few months, I am sure I will have answers to such queries...
Bada Osha is usually around Karthik Purnima and I remember only the boat sailing in the morning around it... Also the bali jatra ofcourse...

Ushnish Ghosh said...

Somoo

No , it is not Manda pitha. It is some thing like jelly consistency but not transparent and you can cut them into pcs, and some varieties are quite thick " Kheera" (Payasa) type made of rice powder, jagerry /Sugar, water, coconut and may be some other things. Haven't had it after school days.
I am sure MIL / your mom will know.
Take your time.
Dont forget to post a Besara recipe at your earliest convenience.
best wishes

Soma Pradhan said...

Thank you very much for visiting my blog. I appreciate the kiind words you have left.

Do try out Nadia Bara Tarakari from my blog. Even it came out amazing..

Gouri Guha said...

Ushnish, this is the first time I'm here. Recently I've started my food blog.
I too love arisa and long time I made some. Your asisas look so yummy. Now I feel I should try some. Had tried it out earlier ( many years back) and got success after failure. Don't know now if I can prepare some worth eating.

Ushnish Ghosh said...

Dear Soma
I shall certainly try the NaDia BaDa Tarkari...never heard of it...and it is a well researched product by you!!!
Now the line up is,Besara ( from Somoo) Kancha kadali tarkari , the thai chicken ( fusion dish), PoDo pitha . I wish I had many people around to finish the dishes, then I could cook faster all the dishes I picked up from net.
Try some of the dishes at my blog ..and you will like them.
I could not tag your blog as there is no follower ikon..whenever you publish some thing do let me know. I will visit time to time anyway.
Have a nice weekend ahead

best wishes

Ushnish Ghosh said...

Dear Gouri

Many thanks for visiting my blog. I will be eagerly waiting for some recipe from you.
I also must take some tips on Arisha from you. Arisha is my obsession. I just tried it out after taking some info from Somoo and now I will again make , as I have more tips from Sharmila's site.
I want to read some thing on the social service you are doing. Its great !

Best wishes
Ushnish

Pari said...

Dear Ushnish, Thanks for dropping by. I am impressed with your culinary skills and your indepth knowledge about the same. Stay in touch, would interacting with you.

sangeeta said...

have seen it at sharmila's blog n have tasted it too....
i like it very much but the most important thing which i notice about your blog is that this is real unpretentious food which i believe in 100%...

Ushnish Ghosh said...

Dear Sangeeta
Many thanks for visiting my blog. I only saw Sharmila's recipe after making this one. In the next batch I will pick up some more clues.
I just had a quick look at your blog and will be there shortly.
Best regards and Happy Diwali

Akal's Saappadu said...

Hi Ushnish Ghosh,

I like this sweet svery much too; I agree that some recipes can me mastered only when we stay close and watch someone doing it, but your illustrations and the detailed informations (like in your prawn malay curry( besides I enjoyed reading it)in each of your recipes gives the impression of seeing it directly.

Your arisha s look great; This "arisha", we call it "adhirassam" in tamilnadu. as you 've said, the recipe varies according to the region; like for us, we let the prepared dough sit for at least 8 hours and fry it afterwards. The heat of the oil should neither be too high nor too low :)
I've bookmarked your chicken 65 recipe for a try (I could never be tired of them too)!
and thank you for following me!

Ushnish Ghosh said...

Dear Akal
Thank you very much for dropping by and your appreciations. Actually I spend more time in reading recipes (like reading interesting novels)cooking some of them...than writing here.
I visited your site after reading your comment at Malar's site. I liked the comment and also introduction on your profile.
You have a great collection so I decided to follow your blog.
Now I will read one by one and cook some of them.
See you soon at your blog :-)
Best wishes
(I am not sure if Akal is your name or if I can address this way)