Welcome to a wonderful journey through the heart of Bihar, India, where we will discover the traditional and delicious dish of Litti Chokha. This iconic dish is more than just a culinary delight; It embodies the rich culture, heritage and love for local flavors that resonate widely with the Bihari community. In this blog post, we delve into the origin, ingredients, preparation and cultural significance of Litti Chokha and invite you to savor the essence of Bihar on your plate.
Origin and History of Litti Chokha:
A well-known traditional meal from Bihar, India, is litti chokha. Its origins go back centuries, from being a staple food for farmers and workers. Litti, made from wheat and gram flour, was easy to transport and nutritious. Over time, they began to add chokha, a mixture of fried vegetables, to it. The dish showcases Bihar’s agricultural heritage and ingenuity. It is deeply rooted in Bihari culture and is eaten at festivals and daily meals. Litti Chokha is a symbol of community and shared identity. Its humble beginnings and rich flavors reflect the simple yet vibrant culinary traditions of Bihar. Even today, this dish remains a treasured dish that represents the heart and soul of the Bihari people.
How to make Litti Chokha?
Preparation of Litti:
Ingredients for Litti:
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup flour (Sattu)
- 2-3 tablespoons ghee (ghee)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- Salt to taste
- Water (as needed)
Ingredients for filling (Sattu):
- 1 cup flour (Sattu)
- 1-2 green chilies, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard oil
- A pinch of asafoetida
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon quince (carom seeds)
- Salt to taste
- Water (as needed)
For cooking food:
- Mustard oil (for applying Litti)
Prepare the dough:
- In a bowl, combine whole wheat flour, gram flour, baking powder, ghee, and salt.
- Gradually add water and knead the mixture until a thick and smooth dough forms.
- Cover the dough and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
Preparation of filling (Sattu):
- In a bowl, mix sattu, chopped green chilies, mustard oil, asafoetida, lemon juice, quince, and salt.
- Mix well and gradually add a little water until you get a crumbly, filling-like consistency.
Formation and filling of Litti:
- Preheat oven to 180°C (356°F).
- Divide the dough into equal-sized balls, slightly larger than a golf ball. Flatten each ball to form a small bowl shape.
- Place a generous amount of Sattu filling in the center of the spread dough.
- Carefully pinch the edges and make sure that the filling is completely covered with dough.
- Place the filled litti on a baking sheet.
- Brush each piece with mustard oil.
- Bake the littis in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes or until they are golden brown and crispy.
- Once baked, remove the litti from the oven.
- Serve hot with chokha, ghee, or yogurt. Traditionally, litti is served with a side dish of chokha made from fried vegetables.
Preparation of Chokha:
Ingredients for Chokha:
- 2 large potatoes
- 1 large eggplant (aubergine/eggplant)
- 3-4 tomatoes
- 2-3 green chillies, finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- Handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped
- 2-3 tablespoons mustard oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- A pinch of Asafoetida (Hing)
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper (adjust to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- Wash potatoes, eggplants, and tomatoes thoroughly.
- Prick the potatoes and eggplants with a fork or knife.
- Rub a little oil on the surface of the potatoes and eggplants.
- Roast potatoes, eggplants, and tomatoes directly over a gas flame or in a preheated oven until the skins are charred and the vegetables are cooked. Turn over occasionally to ensure even baking.
- Allow to cool after baking.
Cleaning and rubbing:
- Once the roasted vegetables have cooled, remove the skins from the potatoes, eggplant, and tomatoes.
- Mash the peeled potatoes, eggplants, and tomatoes in a bowl. You can leave the texture as puree.
Preparing the Chokha:
- In a pan, heat mustard oil until it begins to smoke. Remove it from heat and allow it to cool slightly.
- Add cumin seeds to the cooled oil and let them splutter.
- Add a pinch of asafoetida (hing).
- Add the mashed vegetables, chopped green chilies, red chili powder, turmeric powder, and salt. Mix well.
- Cook the mixture on low heat for a few minutes, allowing the flavors to blend and the chokha to warm through.
- Remove from heat and garnish with finely chopped onions and fresh coriander leaves.
Serve the chokha alongside litti, garnished with extra coriander leaves, and accompanied by yogurt, ghee, or pickles for a traditional Bihari meal.
Expert Tips Litti Chokha:
- Quality Ingredients Matter:
- Use high-quality whole wheat flour, gram flour (sattu), and fresh vegetables for the best flavors and textures.
- Perfecting the Dough:
- Ensure the dough for litti is firm yet pliable. The right consistency will make it easier to shape and stuff.
- Flavorful Filling:
- Experiment with the sattu filling by adding ingredients like chopped onions, garlic, ginger, and fresh coriander to enhance the flavor.
- Traditional Cooking Method:
- If possible, bake litti using a traditional clay oven or on a cow dung cake for an authentic smoky flavor.
- Mustard Oil Magic:
- Brushing mustard oil on the litti before baking not only enhances the taste but also gives a distinct aroma to the dish.
- Balancing Spice Levels:
- Adjust the amount of green chilies and red chili powder in the chokha to match your spice preference.
- Aromatic Temperings:
- The tempering of cumin seeds and asafoetida in mustard oil elevates the taste and aroma of the chokha.
- Tasty Toppings:
- Garnish the chokha with freshly chopped coriander leaves and onions for added flavor and crunch.