Bhapa pitha is traditional Bangladeshi rice cakes filled with coconut and jaggery. This is my modern take on it. Enjoy
1 ¼ cup rice flour
1/2 pc beetroot
50g shredded coconut
1/4 tsp salt
25g brown sugar
1 pinch salt
50g shredded coconut
1 tbsp lemon juice, add more if you like it tangy
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 bird's eye chilli, add more if you like it spicy
1/4 tsp salt
Caster sugar to sprinkle
Black sesame seeds to sprinkle
Micro basil or mint leaves for garnish.
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees/fan forced oven.
Peel the beetroot skin, cut into smaller chunks and put it in a pot/jug with 1 cup of water. Using a stick blender, blend this mixture and then strain through a fine sieve. Keep the beetroot water for flour mixture. You can also use a normal blender instead.
Mix rice flour with salt in a bowl. Add 1/2 cup of beetroot water gradually with the rice flour mixture, mixing it well with each addition. Mix it well at the end so all flour is moist and keep it aside for 10 minutes.
Pass the mixture through a medium sieve to get even and breadcrumb consistency. Not too wet.
For the jaggery and coconut mixture, grate jaggery to coarse crumb. If you are using fresh shredded coconut, then just mix well with jaggery. If you are using packet shredded coconut, mix it with grated jaggery and put the mixture in medium heat on a frying pan. Add water if required. This will make the coconut soft. Keep aside to use as filling for the pitha.
Soak the cheese cloth in water and squeeze the excess water before using the cloth. Repeat the process each time you steam one pitta.
If you have a traditional Bhapa Pitha steamer, use that. Line the surface of the steamer with baking paper. Make several holes in it so that steam can come through. Add sufficient
water in a saucepan on top of which you can put the steamer without it touching the water. Bring the water to boil on medium heat.
Fill the inside of a small pot with the rice flour mix, add jaggery coconut mix in the middle (make sure you put sufficient amount) and add another layer of flour mix on top. Pat the mix to nicely fit in the cup.
Once the water is boiling, cover the cup with the damp cheesecloth, carefully flip over the cup and place it on top of holes of baking paper in the bamboo steamer. After 15/20 seconds, carefully unfold the top of the cheese cloth and take the cup off carefully. The pitha should still hold the shape. Fold the cheesecloth and close the lid of the bamboo steamer.
Let it cook in steam for about 4 minutes. Once done, carefully place the pitha on a plate, unwrapping the cheese cloth.
For the Caramelised Pineapple, peel and core half a pineapple and cut into small cubes. Put in a non-stick frying pan with brown sugar and salt. When the sugar is close to caramelisation, add the shredded coconut and cook till the pineapple is caramelised on the outside. Set aside.
For Chilli Caramel, place caster sugar with 1 tbsp of water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Finely dice the birds-eye chilli and add to sugar when caramelising. Once the caramel is a deep amber colour, start adding the cream in small additions and whisking constantly. Once all the cream is incorporated add cubes of butter and whisk until melted. Stir in sea salt and then transfer to a jug for serving. You can adjust the amount of chilli to put in as per your taste.
For Crispy Pineapple, cut pineapple halves to the thinnest segment possible without it falling apart. Line a baking tray with baking paper and spread the 12/15 segments. Sprinkle sugar and black sesame seeds on top of the segments. Put another backing paper and tray on top (pineapples are in between 2 trays) and keep in the oven for about 15 min. Check in between and keep longer if required. Take it out before it starts burning and leave it aside to cool. It will crisp up.
To serve, put the Pitha in the middle of a dessert bowl spreading the caramelised pineapples all around it. Put the pineapple crisps in between and sprinkle micro basil or mint leaves. Drizzle the warm caramel sauce generously before eating.