The biri gojja can be described as similar to a sijha/sukhla manda with an steamed 'biri bara' kind of stuffing. Biri or black lentil is ground into a thick batter and seasoned with various spices before being stuffed into the pitha. This recipe belongs to the Salepur/Padmapur region of Odisha and not many people know about it. However my in-laws belong to that region and my MIL's sister churns out the most lip-smacking gojja's ever. Read on for the recipe -
Preparation Time - 1 hour
- 1 1/2 cups raw rice
- 4 cups water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ghee
For the stuffing -
- 2/3 cup black lentil/biri (skinless)
- 1-2 finely chopped green chilis
- 1 sprig curry leaves (finely chopped)
- coarsely crushed black pepper
- salt to taste
Preparation: Soak the rice for 10-15 mins. Wash and drain all the water ( Use a colander, do not dry under the fan or the sun ). Put in a grinder and grind into a fine powder.
Wash and soak the black lentil for 2-3 hours. Grind into a smooth and thick paste. Season it with salt, pepper, curry leaves and green chilis.
Cooking: Bring the water to boil. Add salt. Add the rice flour in small batches and mix continuously so that no lumps are formed.
Stir the mixture on a low flame for about 15 minutes till it takes on a softer consistency than the dough used for making rotis. Sprinkle the ghee and mix in . Switch off the flame at this stage.
Allow the dough to cool down a few degrees till it is tolerable. Rub ghee all over your hands and knead the dough for 5 mins to make it smoother.
Rub some more oil over your hands. Pinch small lumps out of the dough. Roll each lump into a ball and gently pat it to flatten it out into a circle. Put some of the black lentil dough on one half of the circle and fold the other half over it. Press it gently to close on the sides but keep the middle portion slightly open. (This ensures that the batter gets cooked thoroughly during steaming).
Boil water in a idli maker/steamer. Spread some banana leaves/thin cloth over the idli plates. Put the gojjas/dumplings over the leaf/cloth. Close the lid and steam 25-30 mins. Allow to stand with lid covered for 5-10 mins.
Take out of the idli vessel/steamer and serve warm.
Note: When adding the rice flour to milk and water, pass it through a sieve to avoid any lumps. It is important to work with the dough while it is hot else it loses its elasticity .