A very popular Maharashtrian and North Karnataka recipe of a dry version of Pithala is also called - Zunka. This is as a tasty as it is so simple too, dont get fooled by the looks, it is so tempting to have this, one can have it all by itself though traditionally served with Jowar bhakris, which are healthy flat breads made of sorghum flour, loaded with nutrition and totally gluten free.
Zunka is simple and easy to make, I consider this as a perfect last minute recipe. Zunka is usually made all by itself without vegetables, just garlic, a version of zunka uses tomatoes, chopped onions and garlic.
2 big capsicum cut into squares , ( small pieces.)
1 tsp Mustard seeds
1 tsp Cumin seeds
3 Dried Red Chillies
1 cup Gram Flour / Besan/ chickpea flour
2 tsp Oil
1 tsp Red Chilli powder
Pinch of turmeric powder
Pinch of asafoetida powder.
Salt to taste
2 cups Water
Take the gram flour / besan in a deep bowl add water and whisk till it becomes smooth.Add a pinch of salt, asafoetida powder, chilli powder, turmeric powder. Take a separate pan, add the besan water spice mixture in the pan and keep on a low flame , allowing the besan to thicken and cook, it will become lumpy , so keep stirring , preferably using a non stick kadai.
Meanwhile heat the oil in another pan, add the mustard seeds and allow them to crackle.
Add the cumin seeds, red chillis, asafoetida , add the capsicum pieces, cook till just soft and not too mushy..
Add the chilli powder, turmeric powder..When the besan flour mixture has thickened and cooked, add it to the capsicum , and stir everything well, till the curry is completely dry and the besan starts becoming very aromatic.
Serve hot with phulkas or jowar bhakris.
My recipe doesn't use onions, garlic, feel free to prepare the original way by first sauteing onons,garlic, tomatoes and the add capsicum.
Another way of preparing this dish is by first sauteing onions tomatoes, then adding the capsicums. The besan flour/chickpeaflour is separately roasted and keep aside and added at the very end when the vegetables seem cooked with a light crunch.
In the recipe above, I made a mixture of water, besan, spices and cooked seperately , free up the lumps, then added it to the cooked vegetables. Choose which ever method suits you.