Pitha/peetha is a part of life and culture of the Bangali and Bangladeshi people. But it is not part of our daily menu. Most pithas/peethas are seasonal, specially prepeared in the winter season because of some ingredients which are available only in winter season. And pithas/peethas of the winter season are the most delicious – a special combination with the climate of winter cold. Besides, some pithas are strongly associated with harvest festivals such as Nabanna and Poush Parban. Some pithas are also made throughout the year. Most pithas are sweet and a few are hot.
Traditionally in Bangladesh pithas are prepared and served on special occasion, such as receiving bridegrooms or brides, entertaining guests and arranging special get together of family members, relatives or friends. Pithas are often eaten at small meals, such as breakfast or as a snack with tea, although there are many sweet varieties that are reserved for desserts.
The most common ingredients of pitha/peetha are unboiled rice or wheat flour, molasses/gur or sugar, coconut and oil. Meat and vegetables are also used in preparing some pithas/peethas such as Pooli pitha, Shabji(vegetables) pitha, Bhapa(steamed)pitha, Jhal(hot)patishapta pitha and Mangsha(meat)patishapta pitha. Sometimes fruits – mostly jackfruit, palm/palmyra, coconut and banana are also used. Date juice and molasses/gur prepared from date juice, palm syra, sugarcane molasses/gur are also some of desierable ingredients. These pithas are named after the name of the fruit they are made from. A special type of pitha is prepared by using tree leaves as covers and are named pata(leaf) pitha. Some pithas are named according to their size. A big size pitha is called ‘’Hati pitha’’, while one of the small types of pitha is named ‘’Khejur(date) pitha. Sometimes the same pitha has different names in different areas. Some pithas are nationally known and familiar to all.
Pithas are prepared by different ways and that give different test. Depending on the type of pitha being prepared, pithas can be fried in oil, slow- roasted over a fire, steamed or baked and rolled over a hot plate.
In 1991, the Shishu Academy of Dhaka, Bangladesh arranged an exhibition of pithas, where 106 categories of pithas were displayed. Pithas are popular all over the country and each area has its unique type of pithas. The most common and popular pithas that are well known throughout Bangladesh are Chitoi pitha, Patishapta, Pakan, Bhapa pitha, Andosha, Kulshi pitha, Pata pitha, Jhuri pitha, Muthi pitha and Roser pitha.
Now a days life is not so easy and simple like before. People especially those who live in urban areas don’t have much time to engage themselves for making pitha. It demands time and labour for pre preparation of pitha making. That is why, now a days cakes, pastry and other food items that are sold commercially are gradually replacing traditional homemade pithas, especially in urban areas. But pithas still continue to attract many, even in urban areas. Many specialized shops sell costly pithas and small vendors in street corners also make their living by selling cheap pithas.
S: en.wikipedia.org; banglapedia.org;
Vaja puli pitha
Sundori pakon pitha
Siddho puli Pitha
Rashvori Pitha-Popular in Noakhali
Shita Pitha-popular in Noakhali
|Mug puli Pitha|
|Jhinuk Pitha- local cuisine of Narsingdi|
|Chita Pitha/ Bhija Pitha|
|Dudh chitoi Pitha|
|Nakshi Pitha- local cuisine of Narsingdi|
|Jhal kushli Pitha|
|Jhikimiki Pitha- local cuisine of Narsingdi|
|Bibi khana Pitha/Pora Pitha -as known in Shariatpur/Munsiganj and in Noakhali|
|Teler Pitha/Pakan/Pakon Pitha|
|Jhal puli Pitha|
|Ross chitoi Pitha|
|Mera Pitha/Mutha Pitha/choi Pitha - popular in Comilla, Tangail and Sylhet|
All pictures of pithas have been collected from different blogs, flickr.com, and picasa.com .