This Kheer Puli recipe will take you on a beautiful culinary journey to the land of Odisha. Considered to be Lord Jagannath’s temple food, Khira gaintha pitha is made by cooking the rice balls in simmered and flavored milk till the texture is creamy and delicious.
This Khira Gaintha Pitha is a delicious melt-in-your-mouth dessert. In Odia, Khira is Milk and Gaintha means small balls. So in other words, these are Milky Rice Balls. In some other parts of India, this same recipe is also as Kheer Puli or Doodh Puli.
I was talking to my mom over the phone last week and as always, she was scolding me about how little I eat and how thin I’m becoming day by day (sure, ma!). And yes, like every other kid, I was pretending to listen to her but I was not really. Then she said something about how she used to make special stuff for me when I was a kid because I used to be a fussy eater. That I was. Then she brought up this gaintha pitha topic and told me, how happy I used to finish it off.
WHAT IS PITHA?
Traditionally, made from a batter of rice flour, semolina flour or even wheat flour, the varieties of pitha from Odisha are many. Since rice is plentily available in Odisha (being a coastal state), rice flour is the common base for pithas. Not only the sizes and shapes but also the technique of making Pitha varies from one to another.
In a nutshell, if you have to understand the pitha simply, it’s nothing but dumplings filled with spices, nuts, etc. Depending on your taste, you can steam them or deep fry them.
ODISHA AND THE SIGFICANCE OF PITHAS
“Pitha” is an integral part of Odia Cuisine. In their various forms and shapes, they are made and enjoyed throughout the year and aren’t limited to festivals such as Dusserah, Kumar Purnima, Deepavali, Prathamastami, and Manabasa Gurubar, Nua Khai, Raja Parba, etc. I grew up in a family, where chakuli pitha, was our breakfast.
Some of my all-time pithas are – Gaintha Pitha, Manda Pitha, Poda Pitha, Kakera Pitha, Arisha Pitha, Enduri Pitha, Chunchipatra Pitha, etc.
HISTORY BEHIND KHIRA GAINTHA PITHA RECIPE
Khira Gintha Pitha is traditionally made during Baula Amavasya or Bakula Amavasya. On this auspicious day, boula phula aka flowers of mango tree is offered with boula gaintha pitha to Lord Jaganaath. Farmers offer fresh mango flowers to Lord Jagannath to get good harvest for the year.
The preparation of this khira gaintha or kheer puli recipe is simple – balls of rice and four dough soaked in reduced cardamom flavored milk. You cook the Rice flour with water and then knead it to form a soft and pliable dough. You form small rice flour balls from the dough and then drop them into simmering milk cream. That’s about it – similar to Ras Malai but instead of Chhena or Paneer balls, rice flour balls are being used in this case.
INGREDIENTS NEEDED FOR GAINTHA PITHA RECIPE
Milk: I have used full-fat milk in this recipe to get the best-tasting gain the pitha taste. You can make the recipe vegan by substituting regular milk with coconut milk or oat milk. Though I haven’t tasted the vegan option, I think, it will taste great.
Rice Powder: In this recipe, I have used store-bought rice flour. At other times, I have used homemade rice flour batter to make kheer puli. You can wash and soak the fragrant gobindobhog rice for a couple of hours. Blend the soaked rice with some water to make a fine and smooth batter.
Cardamom Powder, Bay Leaves: For imparting the traditional flavors and taste.
Sugar: I have used white cane sugar to sweeten the doodh puli recipe. Feel free to use Jaggery in place of sugar. Make sure that, you don’t add jaggery to very hot milk. The milk might break and curdle.
Grated Coconut: Again, coconut gives you that authentic taste. If you aren’t very fond of coconut, you can always substitute
HOW TO MAKE KHEER PULI – STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS
STEP 1 – MAKING THE RICE FLOUR DOUGH FOR KHEER PULI
In a big pot, boil water with bay leaves and a pinch of salt. Once the water comes to a boil, remove the bay leaf and reduce the flame to low.
NOTE – Bay leaf adds that authentic Odia flavor to the pitha
Mix the rice flour with some water to make a paste. Mix well and make sure there are no lumps. Add the rice flour batter to the boiling water slowly while mixing continuously. Lower the heat to very low. The water will get absorbed and the batter will come together as a dough.
Touch the dough with the tip of your finger and if it doesn’t stick to your finger, that means, the dough is ready.
Once all the rice flour is added, switch off the flame and transfer the cooked rice flour to an open plate. Let it cool down slightly.
STEP 2 – SIMMER THE MILK
In the same pot (the one you used to make the rice flour dough), add milk. Bring the milk to a boil. Keep an eye on it or else the milk will spill over, making a mess.
Once it comes to a boil, add bay leaves, grated coconut, and sugar.
Lower the heat to low and simmer the milk on low heat for 30 minutes.
NOTE – You can add a TBSP of milk powder or 1 tbsp condensed milk. Adding a bit of milk powder makes the milk creamy.
STEP 3 – MAKE RICE BALLS OR GAINTHA FROM THE DOUGH
While the milk is on a simmer, knead the rice dough to a soft dough. This will take about 5 minutes. You can grease your palms with some water to knead.
NOTE – Start kneading the gaintha dough when its still warm.
Form small balls out of the dough and keep aside.
NOTE – you can give them any shape as you wish.
STEP 4 – MAKE KHIRA GAINTHA PITHA
Add the rice balls into the simmering milk and continue to cook on low heat for another 10/15 minutes. When the pitha comes to the right thickness, add cardamom powder and switch off the heat.
NOTE – Keep an eye on the thickness. Because, once the gain pitha cools down, it becomes thicker.
TIPS TO MAKE THE BEST KHEER PULI PITHA
- The gaintha pitha can be stuffed with a mixture of coconut and jaggery. Take a golf ball-sized dough and flatten it between your palm and fingers to make a flat disk. Scoop a tsp of cooled jaggery-coconut filling and place it in between the disk. Fold the dough from all sides and cover it up completely till all the filling is secured.
- Kheer puli/Dudh Puli/Gaintha Pitha can stay refrigerated for 2-3 days. However, Doodh Puli tastes best when it is fresh.
- While milk is reduced, add gain one by one and cook on low flame. Stir it but very gently as pulis are very delicate and may break.
- When you see the rice balls turning slightly transparent, that means your rice pulse is cooked.
- Gobindobhog rice is the best variety of rice for this recipe. It gives an amazing and distinct aroma to the dish.
SOME OTHER RECIPES FROM ODISHA
Chhena poda Recipe with Ricotta Cheese
Kheer Recipe | Indian Rice Pudding (Instant Pot)
Chhena Malpua Recipe|Paneer Malpua Recipe
Khira Gaintha Pitha Recipe (Kheer Puli)
TO MAKE THE GAINTHA PITHA
- 1 cup Rice flour
- 2 cups Water
- 1 pinch Salt
- 1 Bay leaf
FOR THE SIMMERED MILK
- 5 cups Full fat milk
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 Bay leaf
- 1 Tsp Cardamom powder
FOR GARNISHING THE DOODH PULI PITHE
- 2 tbsp Cashews roasted in ghee
MAKE THE RICE FLOUR DOUGH
- In a big pot, boil water with bay leaves and a pinch of salt. Once the water comes to a boil, remove the bay leaf and reduce the flame to low.NOTE – Bay leaf adds that authentic Odia flavor to the pitha
- Mix the rice flour with some water to make a paste. Mix well and make sure there are no lumps. Add the rice flour batter to the boiling water slowly while mixing continuously. Lower the heat to very low. You will notice, that the water will get absorbed and the batter will come together as a dough. NOTE – Touch the dough with the tip of your finger and if it doesn't stick to your finger, that means, the dough is ready.
- Once all the rice flour is added, switch off the flame and transfer the cooked rice flour to an open plate. Let it cool down slightly.
SHAPE THE GAINTHA
- While the milk is on a simmer, knead the rice dough to a soft dough. This will take about 5 minutes. You can grease your palms with some water to knead.
- Form small balls out of the dough and keep them aside.NOTE – knead the dough when it's still warm.
MAKE THE SIMMERED MILK
- In the same pot (the one you used to make the rice flour dough), add milk. Bring the milk to a boil. Keep an eye on it or else the milk will spill over, making a mess.
- Once it comes to a boil, add bay leaves, grated coconut, and sugar. Lower the heat to low and simmer the milk on low heat for 30 minutes.
- NOTE – You can add a TBSP of milk powder or 1 tbsp condensed milk. Adding a bit of milk powder makes the milk creamy.
MAKE GAITHA PITHA
- Add the rice balls into the simmering milk and continue to cook on low heat for another 10/15 minutes. When the pitha comes to the right thickness, add cardamom powder and switch off the heat.
- NOTE – Keep an eye on the thickness. Because, once the gain pitha cools down, it becomes thicker.
PIN for Later:
Lovely post. The idea to revamp the old classics is brilliant. Keep it up.
Beautiful, I remember my grandmother use to make a similiar dish when I was little. But we used coconut milk and the dumplings were made from regular flour… Milk dumplings, yummy.
You remember the name of the dish?
I love cashews and almonds which is what your recipe calls for so I’m certain that I would love this dish! Thanks for sharing this great recipe!
What an interesting recipe – great idea thanks for sharing!
I’m a southern girl and omg this looks so yummy and sounds so fancy . I’m totally that girl that would try this but I’m sure I would mess it up for whatever reason deserts and baking never have gone well for me lol im thinking it might be my impatience .
I love trying out new recipes and new foods that I have never eaten before, this looks so great and delish!
I love finding new recipes! I’ve never heard of this before, but it looks so interesting! ☺️
I’ve never heard of rice dumplings. How yummy.
When do I get an invite to the dinner table???? This looks delicious but why would expect anything less.
It looks mesmerizing and I bet tastes great! Wonderful pictures!
At first I thought you said Milky Rice Pudding hahaha, but Milky Rice balls they look good I never had them before.
These looks really interesting! I am not sure if I could try them, I have a very finicky palate but my daughter would probably adore them!
what a unique dumpling dessert
Such a beautiful, delicate sounding dish! I love it – the flavours, how it looks, all of it!
This sounds so comforting and a nice way to satisfy that sweet craving.
Wow I’m intrigued by this unique dish! I would be afraid I would flub on a step but would be neat to try.
I can’t wait to try this, it’s very interesting! What is it traditionally served with? Thank you!
What an interesting looking dish. I have never had anything like this before. I love the pictures too.
I don’t believe that I’ve ever heard of this before. Sounds interesting. Beautiful pictures.
I’m so intrigued by this, I love trying new things. Pinning this to try later!
omg can we say yum??? must give your recipe a try!!!
I’m not much of a dumpling person, but I do love coconut! Definitely looks like an interesting recipe to try.
I had these when I was at my mom’s native home!! They call it Kheer Puli. Now thanks to you I have the recipe. Any alternative to evaporated milk ?
Lovely presentation. Yes! there is a thread of similairy that binds us and a world of difference in the different cuisines. This one is very similar to our Paal Kozhukattai. Lovely to know this.