Pitla – Maharastrian Comfort Food

Pitla is a wonder food from the State of Maharashtra. It is a vegetarian dish, so ‘down to Earth’ and full of flavor. A little twist on the traditional recipe gives it the WOW factor! The simplicity of this dish is just stunning and downright comforting. Pitla is considered street-food and like a lot of other street-foods, delicious to the core!

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 30 min
Serves: 4


Chickpea Flour (Besan) – 6 Tbsp
Oil – 2 Tbsp, divided
Mustard Seeds – 1/2 tsp
Cumin Seeds – 1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves – few
Asafoetida – 1/4 tsp (divided)
Onions – 1 medium, finely chopped
Garlic – 6 cloves, finely chopped
Green Chilies – to taste, finely chopped
Roasted Cumin/Coriander Powder – 2 tsp
Red Chili Powder – 1 tsp or to taste
Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp
Tomatoes – 2 medium, chopped
Cilantro (Coriander) – 5 sprigs, finely chopped
Water – 2 cups
Lime/Lemon Juice – 1 Tbsp or to taste
Salt – to taste


1. In a medium pan, heat 1 tbsp (of the 2 tbsp) Oil.
2. Add in the Chickpea Flour and roast till it gets a wonderful aroma.
3. Remove from flame and transfer to another bowl.
4. In the same pan, heat the balance of the Oil (1 tbsp).
5. Once hot, add Mustard Seeds, allow them to pop.
6. Add in Cumin Seeds and let them splutter.
7. Add in Asafoetida (1/8th tsp), Curry Leaves, Onions, Garlic and Green Chillies, in that order and mix well.
8. Cook till the Onions are translucent.
9. Lower heat and add in dry spices – Roasted Cumin and Coriander powder, Red Chilli Powder and Turmeric Powder.
10. Cook them for a minute.
11. Add in the roasted Chickpea Flour, cook for 2 minutes
12. Add in Tomatoes, Cilantro and Water (little at a time).
13. Mix well so there are no lumps and it forms a gravy.
14. Add in Salt and Lime/Lemon Juice to taste.
15. Allow it to come to a boil.
16. Add in the balance of the Asafoetida and mix well.
17. Serve hot with Chapatis, Bhakri or Bajra Roti.

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30 thoughts on “Pitla – Maharastrian Comfort Food

  1. I like the pithla to be brighter yellow, and roasting the chickpea flour makes it dark chrome yellow colored. So I would suggest that you skip the roasting step and instead dissolve the flour in the water before pouring it into the pan with onions et al.

    1. Hi Zoston,

      Yes, the color is darker, but the taste of roasted chickpea flour is very different than the raw one.

  2. Hi Hetal and Anuja:
    I made some Indian friends, and asking about what they eat found myself ignorant of your culinary culture, so google it and found so, so I just bookmarked this page so I can learn maybe even cook some of this delicious dishes. I am from Argentina so some of the ingridients will be hard to find but with a little of creativite i can sort it out. Promise to keep in touch and let you know my progress…
    Thank you for simply and easily show this recipy, it´s like my mom teaching me!!!!

  3. Hello Hetal and Anuja,

    After cooking so many of your dishes I thought I should take the time to thank you !!

    I just wanted to say how incredible your site is . I have been trying to cook authentic Indian food for about 10 years now and was just about ready to give up.I have stacks of books but nothing compares to your videos, mainly because you teach so much more than just what goes in a dish!!

    I think it is very kind of you both to share your knowledge with me and the many other people who strive to make authentic dishes . I can’t tell you how happy I am to be able to finally cook such fragrant , exotic dishes . I am from England originally and have made it my quest to be able to duplicate the dishes I love so much .I truly do love Indian food , so many incredible subtle flavours and aromas, Incredible !! your help has been invaluable to me. Indian cooking is an art.Yes, its simple when you know how, but that is a long learning curve , but that is why I love it .

    Thank you so much for being so generous with your knowledge.
    Please, Please continue you fantastic work.

    The only question I have is
    Do you , or are you planning a Tv show in the future ? or do you have any books out there ?
    Please let me know .

    Thanks again guys.
    sorry this is a bit long.

    1. Hi John,

      Wow! Thank you so much for your kind words and for taking the time to write to us. It really means a lot to us to find out that we have helped someone. Our goal has always been to teach everyone (not just Indians) how to cook great Indian food at home. With your comment, we know that we are successful! Currently we do not have a tv show in the works or a book but we never say never. We don’t know what the future will hold. Thanks again and hope you keep enjoying cooking Indian cuisine!

  4. Hi,
    I made this today. My pitla was more souplike, and darker looking than yours. I would prefer the thicker consistency that I see in the photo. What am a doing wrong?
    (It still tasted delicious!)

  5. Hey Hetal/Anuja,

    My question is not related to this particular recipe but was not getting the suitable place where to ask.

    Actually i was looking for the recipe of GATTE ki SABZI or CURRY. Can you please help.


  6. This was a good recipe and a welcome-change to the routine sambhar/rasam/kadhi that I generally make. I was a little aprehensive in trying this out as I had never heard of a dish like this,but, in the end it turned out fine.

    thanks for sharing this with us.

  7. Fantastic – I’ve made it several times, and serve it over basmati rice (I add a bit extra tomatoes to the recipe).

    The local Indian grocery store here in Syracuse had the besam and asafoetida, and I already had the other ingredients.

  8. I am in foodie heaven i made Pitla for the first time my husband was ooh and ahhing as he ate
    thank you so much for this site it has renewed my interest in cooking
    Thank you also for the reply to my question about rolling out board i could not find the post so thank you for that
    I live in England by the way

  9. Hello,

    I make this recipe exactly apposite. My method is first heat the oil n mustard seeds, onion etc. after the onions cook then i pour water, allow it to boil & then put the besan powder/ pith and stir it continuously. after 3 – 4 mins its ready to serve. Your method also looks good. Thanks I will try it.

  10. Wow ! looks delicious. Will try it today. I remembered my days in Sinhagad, Pune where they serve hot pithala with bhakari followed by curd ( from sand vessel called Mataka ) and pakoda UMmmmm….

  11. Hi

    I am a newbie here and at a very first glance I was so impressed with your all recipes. This is one of my fav. I am going to try this one, it is simple and easy ! Thanks.

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