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A Recipe of Tekeli Pitha from the Kitchen of Assam

Tekeli or keteli pitha are rice cakes from Assam. They are called so because they are made by steaming them in a kettle (tekeli) lid. Traditionally a winter food (but great to have all year round), this is my favorite comfort food of all times, something I’ve been requesting for breakfast and evening snack since childhood. 

Today’s recipe is submitted by Pari Hazarika. A dreamer with a head full of recipes, and a grubby feet prickling to take off to the next promising place to explore.


Photo | Tekeli Pitha

Cooking time: 10-12 minutes
Servings: 4-5 pitha on a medium sized kettle lid


  • 1 cup short grained rice
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated coconut
  • 1/2 cup date palm jaggery (khejur gur)
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds (optional)

You will also need a kettle and two pieces of muslin, cheesecloth or other fine cloth suitable for culinary purposes.


Photo | Ingredients

Directions to Cook:

  • Soak the rice for 2-4 hours, then spread it out on a newspaper. When the excess water has dried off, grind it as finely as possible
  • Fill half of the kettle with water and bring it to a boil
  • Add some water to the rice powder to dampen it. Add water little by little till it is still crumbly but damp enough. Take care not to make it too wet. If you press a small portion of it in your closed palm and it does not squeeze out between your fingers, that is the right consistency
  • Dampen the cloth pieces and wrap one around the underside of the kettle lid
  • Then spread a layer of rice dough over it, add about 1 tbsp of grated coconut, 1 tbsp of jaggery (or less, according to sweetness preferred). Cover with another layer of the rice dough. Take care not to press the dough too much to ensure a fluffier pitha
  • Wrap the other damp cloth over the mixture, secure it around the lid and place the lid over the kettle of boiling water
  • Steam for 10-12 minutes
  • Take off the lid, carefully unwrap the cloth and take out the pitha. Repeat the process for each pitha
  • Serve immediately. They make a great accompaniment to a piping hot cup of tea

Since ages, Pitha is one of the most loved sweetmeats from Assam and Tekeli Pitha is an integral part of their Bihu celebrations.

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