Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Litti Chokha- The Emotion of Bihari Cuisine

Culinary Journey- Patna, Bihar, India (Chapter 1)
Compiled by: Chef Subhash Jana

Slow Roasting of Litti over Cow Dung in Patna
Before we explore anything and everything about Litti Chokha let me give you a brief introduction of The Cuisine which has invented this extraordinary, low cost and high on nutritious value dish. Bihar specifically undivided Bihar along with Jharkhand (which was separated from Bihar in Nov, 2000) has Magahi Cuisine, Bhojpuri Cuisine and Maithil Cuisine under its umbrella. People of Bihar had a great influence of Buddhist and Hindu values of Non-violence, thus Magahi and Bhojpuri Cuisine predominantly serves vegetarian cuisine. Maithil Cuisine is mostly non-vegetarian and has a great significant usage of meats and fishes as proximity to its rivers. Across globe food travelled with people as they travelled from one part to another. Bihari Cuisines has incredible influence on West Bengal, Nepal, Orissa, Eastern Uttar Pradesh as Bihari community travelled to.

The Oldest Litti Shop (Estd: 1938) at Patna Jukson

The most connected dish of Bihar which is famous worldwide. There are several myths regarding its origination nut most common stories are 1. Farmers used to carry Dry Sattu (Roasted Chickpea flour) to field, then they used to consume it by roasting in field. 2. In ancient days Soldier used to carry dry Sattu along with them, which used to be most healthy diet in versatile situation. Soldier used to consume (several forms of sattu which eventually transform into litti) litti after long hours of physical work. Necessary protein, carbohydrate and other minerals are supplied from Litti which had a minimum shelf life of 2 days.  

Slow Roasting of Litti over Coal in Purani Litti Shop in Patna
The rustic yet emotionally elegant LITTI is a soft dough ball which is made of whole wheat flour then stuffed with sattu mixture (Roasted chickpea powder mixed with ginger, green chilly, dry spices and onion) then slow roasted over open flame of cow dung or coal or wood. Once these Litties are cooked then break and add ghee. CHOKHA is a traditional accompaniment of Litti which is a vegetable preparation made of roasted aubergine, tomatoes and boiled potatoes. Roasted vegetables along with boiled potatoes are mashed and then cooked, tempered with mustard oil (for pungent flavour) and cumin seeds or nigella seeds.
Chokha- Simmering Chokha over slow wood fire
There are more to the most remarkable Bihari Cuisine than Litti Chokha. Kachoori, Ghugni, Pittha, Kesar peda, Lai, Chora, Bhajiya, Dhuska, Sattu Paratha, Samosa, khadi bari, Choora, Dal muri are a few to mention. Will try to throw light in each and every integral part of the Famous Bihar Cuisine in coming days. For more related study follow my page Culinary Journey with Chef Subhash 

Samosa, Kachoori and Ghugni, a few specialities


1. LITTI (The Soft Dough Ball)
   200 Gms. whole wheat flour
   10 Gms. salt
   40 Ml Water
   10 Ml Vegetable oil
   Process: Dissolve salt in water. add oil to the mixture and then add to whole wheat flour to
   make a semi hard dough. Give rest for 20 mins.
Litti Stuffing Made with Sattu (Roasted chickpea flour)

2. STUFFING (stuffing for Litti)
   100 Gms. Sattu (roasted chickpea flour)
   25 Gms. grated ginger
   25 Gms. grated garlic
   25 Gms. chopped chilly
   10 Gms. cumin seeds
   10 Gms. coriander Seeds
   5 Gms. red Chilly
   5 Gms. sweet Fennel seeds
   3 Gms. asafoetida
   10 Gms. salt
   10 Ml, Vegetable oil
Process: Dry roast the above mentioned spices (cumin, coriander, red chilly and fennel) and crush them with a rolling pin. Then add all the ingredients and mix it together to make a stiff dough. Divide the Litti dough into 35-40 gms. each ball size and stuffing dough into 15  gms. each. Place the stuffing inside the Litti ball and close the edges by making the edge wet with water. So that It seals properly.

If Litties can be cooked in wood fire or open coal fire then nothing like it, but it has to be cooked slowly at least for 25-30 mins. Alternatively this can be cooked in preheated oven at a temperature of 180- 200 degree celsius for 15-20 mins.

3. CHOKHA (Vegetable mashed)
   100 Gms. baingan (Aubergine)
   100 Gms. boiled potato
   50 Gms. tomato
   50 Gms. Onion
   25 Gms. green chilly
   25 Gms. ginger
   25 Gms. fresh coriander leaves
   10 Ml. lemon juice
   10 Gms. red chilly powder
   10 Gms. turmeric powder
   25 Gms. salt
   15 Gms. cumin seed
   50 Ml. mustard oil
Process: Char the aubergine, green chilly and tomato in open flame. Take the skin off and mash in thick bottom handi. add boiled potato and water to cook for 15 mins. In another hot pan add mustard oil temper with cumin seeds then followed by Chopped onion, chopped ginger and chopped charred chilly, cook for 5 mins and then add red chilly powder, turmeric powder, followed by boiled vegetables. season with salt, chopped coriander and finish with lemon juice.

Finally for serving: Break Litti, put laddle full of chokha in it, serve along with pickle, raw onion and green chiily,. (Adding ghee is optional)
A plate full of Happiness, Litti Chokha
Apart from being popular, low cost and highly nutritious dish Litti Chokha has several other benefits, a few are mentioned below:
  1. Sattu (Dry chickpea flour) drink helps in cooling the body heat and thus it is an amazing drink during summer.
  2.  The diet/ dish is full of protein, fibre and rich in minerals, which provides balanced nutrients to human body.
  3. Eating sattu makes one drink more water as it creates a demand for water in human body, thus it helps to maintain a great balance of water.
  4. It increases metabolic rate and energise the human body.
  5. It is very easy to digest and is a complete whole meal.

Travel for food always Inspire me! Patna, Bihar