Friday, January 11, 2013

Litti - Chokha


Ask any true blood Bihari about the defining dish of Bihar and I can bet you about the answer "Litti-chokha". Having lived in Bihar most of my early childhood can recollect describing the whole setup as a wintry evening, star-lit skies, fragrance of fired cow dung-cakes, aroma of ghee being heated, and sound of kids playing around.
 To describe this iconic and intrinsically Bihari recipe to a non Bihari won't be easy. A dry mix of Sattu (described in my previous post) with salt, spices and spicy oil from a jar of mango pickles is made. Wheat flour is moulded into rounded hollow balls into which you fill this sattu mix. As the balls are getting formed, you stoke a “barbecue” with dried cow dung cakes (gointha). The sattu balls are then inserted into the smoldering fire with potatoes, aubergine and tomatoes following it for company later. After sometime, the vegetables are pulled out manually, followed by the littis.

Long live "Litti-chokha"


Serve: 4

Preparation Time: 45 mins

Cooking Time: 30 mins



Ingredients

Wheat (gehun) flour:                       2 cups
Refined oil:                                     2 tbsp
Salt:                                               1 tsp


For Stuffing
Sattu:                                            1 cup
Green chillies:                                2-3 (finely chopped)
Roasted cumin seeds (jeera):         1/2 tsp
Ginger (adrak):                              1 tsp (finely chopped)
Garlic (lehsun):                               1 tsp (finely chopped)
Coriander leaves(dhania):               1/2 cup (finely chopped)
Dried mango powder (amchur):      1 tsp
Green mango pickle masala & oil:   1 tbsp
Carom seeds (ajwain):                    1/2 tsp
Nigella Seed (Kalonji):                    1/2 tsp
Onions:                                          1/2 cup (finely chopped)
Salt to taste

For Chokha
Potatoes:                                       2 medium sized boiled
Brinjal (baingan / eggplant):            1 medium sized
Tomatoes:                                      3 medium sized
Green chillies:                                 2-4 finely chopped
Coriander leaves(dhania):               1 tbsp finely chopped

Ginger (adrak):                              1 tsp (finely chopped)
Garlic (lehsun):                               1 tsp (finely chopped)

Mustard (rai / sarson) oil:                1tsp
Salt to taste




Method
1) Sieve the flour and add salt & refined oil. Knead the dough properly with water and make a stiff dough.
Cover with a wet cloth and keep aside.
2) For stuffing: Take sattu or roasted gram flour in a bowl. Add all the ingredients and mix well. In case the stuffing is bit dry, you can add little water.
3) For Littis: Take the dough and make 6-7 medium equal sized balls.
4) Take each ball and flatten the ball a bit with your palm and make depression. Try to make a bowl kind of structure
5) Fill a portion of the stuffing and close the balls by lifting the sides by hand and flatten the littis a bit by pressing your palm. Keep it aside.
6) You can either use a cow dung cake (gointha) or coal to make a barbecue. You can either use a gas tandoor (I am using this). Else an easier option is to heat oil in a kadhai and fry the littis till golden brown.
7) Roast the littis in barbecue/ tandoor until nice and crisp turning around in between.
8) For Chokha: Boil the potatoes and keep aside. Make incision on the Brinjal and roast on the fire from all the sides until it becomes soft. Roast the tomatoes as well
9) Peel of the burnt skin of the Brinjal and Tomato.
10) Mash boiled potatoes, Brinjal and tomatoes together.
11) Add all the other ingredients like finely chopped coriander leaves, salt, green chilies  ginger, garlic and oil. Add salt to taste. Mix all the ingredients well.

For serving
Break the litti in equal halves and put 1 tsp hot ghee in between. Relish it hot with chokha.

BON APPETIT..