Bihar ka fara peetha

Peetha or Fara - Lentil stuffed dumplings from Bihar and U.P.

No oil Dumplings from the state of Bihar and U.P. - Wholewheat flour and rice flour pockets stuffed with spiced up ground lentils, boiled or steamed till done. They make the best Low calorie and high protein snack ever!
Course Tea time snack or Breakfast
Cuisine Bihari/ U.P. (North Indian)
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8 -10 medium sized Peethas
Author Nupur @ The Veggie Indian

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour atta
  • ½ cup rice flour chawal ka atta
  • 2 tbsp fine semolina sooji/rava
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cumin powder jeera powder
  • cup Warm water for kneading- about 1

For the stuffing:

  • ¾ cup chana dal
  • ¼ cup urad dal
  • inch An long ginger piece
  • A pinch of asafoetida heeng
  • 2-3 green chilies mirch
  • 3-4 garlic pods lehsun
  • ½ tsp black pepper powder kali mirch
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp red chili powder
  • tsp Salt to taste about 1

Instructions

Prepare the stuffing:

  1. Soak both the lentils separately for 3-4 hours. Drain the water and grind the lentils together with the spices and ginger garlic. Add water spoon by spoon making sure not to overdo it. You would not need more than 1-2 tbsp of water.
  2. Remember-> the consistency of this paste should be thick and not like dosa batter.

The dough:

  1. Mix the rice flour, whole wheat flour and semolina in a mixing bowl and mix well. Then add warm water and gradually knead into a medium stiff dough like for paratha. Keep aside for about half an hour.

Prepare the pockets:

  1. Pinch a small ball of dough, roll it into a small and thin circle, like the size of a puri or luchi.
  2. Spoon one tbsp. of lentil filling at the center of the circle. Then spread just a few drops of water (1-2 drops really) at the corner to make them wet. This will help sealing the fold.
  3. Fold one end on top of another (just like we do when making a Calzone, Gujhiya or Karanji) pressing the concave (curved) side slightly to seal the pocket. Leave the two corner sides slightly open which helps in cooking the mix inside.
  4. Keep it aside and prepare all of them in the same way.

Boiling method:

  1. Fill a large pot with ¾ of water. Add 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of oil and bring it to boil. Once the water starts rolling, turn the flame to medium and slip the Peetha dumplings into it. Let these fara pockets boil uncovered for the next 10-12 minutes on medium flame.
  2. All the dumplings will be submerged in water at once, but they will start coming up as soon as they start cooking. Let it cook for another 3-7 minutes after they float on the surface, takes about 3-4 minutes for the smaller ones and 7-8 minutes for the bigger pockets.
  3. To check whether they are cooked properly, take one out and insert a knife into it. If it comes out clean, means the peetha is done.
  4. Use a slotted spoon to fish them all out, you may need to boil them in two batches depending on how many you have prepared and how big your pot is.
  5. Serve immediately while they are still hot, they taste the best at this time. Keep the leftovers for frying later.

Steaming method:

  1. Line the Peetha dumplings on the plates of the steamer. You may apply a tsp of oil on each plate to avoid sticking them. My steamer is pretty good and I did not need that. Take care not to overcrowd the plates or the peethas wont be cooked properly.
  2. Cook them for about 12-15 minutes in a normal Idli/dhokla maker and 9-10 minutes in a Steamer. The gas should be at medium.
  3. Again, check if they are done using the knife and cook for a further 2-4 minutes if still undercooked.
  4. Slip them out on a plate, cut into pieces and serve hot and fresh

Shallow frying these Peetha/Fara dumplings later for snacking:

  1. You can fry the smaller ones whole and the bigger ones can be sliced and fried to make tasty and healthy tea time snacks.
  2. Cut the peetha pockets into similar sized bits. Heat 2-3 tbsp of oil in a pan and shallow fry these bits for a few minutes till they are crispy and slightly brown at places. Take out on a kitchen towel or tissue paper to drain off excess oil and serve with chutneys and chai.
  3. They don't absorb much oil and as you drain them on tissue paper any oil clinging to the surface is also absorbed by the tissue.
  4. You may also use a tempering base for shallow frying-> heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, dried red chilies and curry leaves and let them splutter. Add the fara pieces into it and shallow fry.

Recipe Notes

Peetha keeps very well in the fridge so you can store them for upto a week in an airtight container so they soak in much moisture.

The outer shell of the freshly boiled or steamed fara dumplings is thin, slightly translucent and a bit melty. It feels like momos or Gyoza, but thicker.