'Pithau' is the identity of Odia food. This way of deep frying the vegetables by using pasted rice, is a way typical only tthe Odia food. The crispiness that the rice paste renders to the fried vegetables in this recipe, is hard to find in the alternative methods, such as using the 'besan' instead of rice paste for the frying.
1 cup rice (arua chaula)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
2 bay leaves (teja patra)
4 cloves garlic (rasuna)
1 inch ginger (ada)
1 teaspoon sesame seeds (raashi)
1 teaspoon turmeric powder (haladi gunda)
1 cup refined cooking oil (rifaain tela)
salt to taste (luna)
Vegetables to be used (any, some or all):
plantain (kancha kadali)
yam (mati alu)
raw papaya (kancha amrutabhanda)
lotus stems (padma nada)
(some other vegetables may also be used)
First of all soak rice in water for one hour. Make a paste of the soaked rice, cumin seeds, bay leaves, garlic and ginger by adding a little water in a grinder. Grind it to a coarse paste till it gains consistency like the dosa batter. Shift the paste into a container and add turmeric powder, sesame seeds and salt and mix well. Keep it aside. Now wash the vegetables and cut them into thin slices. Take a kadai / pan and add the vegetables into a quantity water that would completely soak all the vegetables. Add turmeric powder. Now turn the flame on and start boiling the vegetables. Add salt to taste. Keep in mind that you have to add a little more salt since the water would have to be drained out later. Allow it to boil for about 5 minutes. Remember that we are here para boiling rather than completely boiling the vegetables. Make sure that the vegetables are not over cooked. (You can directly use brinjal and pumpkin without para boiling, since they are soft vegetables.) Now strain the vegetables and drain out water. Then heat the tawa on medium flame and pour a generous quantity of oil so that oil is spread all over the tawa. Now soak the para boiled vegetables one by one in the rice batter and place them on the tawa. You can cover the whole tawa with vegetable slices. After one minute turn each slice upside down and fry. If a little bit more oil is required, add the same and allow all the slices to be fried well on both sides till they turn crisp. Then serve hot with rice and dal. This kind of dry fried vegetables in rice paste is quite popular in Orissa. It is a quick recipe that uses lesser oil. You can also make the rice paste and keep it in refrigerator for immediate use any time.
Also see a video of the recipe at the following link.