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Bihari Litti Chokha

    Litti, along with chokha, is a complete meal originated from the Indian state of Bihar. It is also popular in Jharkhand and parts of Eastern Uttar Pradesh. It is a dough ball made up of whole wheat flour and stuffed with sattu (roasted chickpea and barley flour) mixed with herbs and spices and then roasted over coal or cow dung cakes or wood then it is tossed with lots of ghee. Although very often confused with the closely related baati, it is a completely different dish in terms of taste, texture and preparation. It may be eaten with yogurt, baigan bharta, alu bharta, and papad. The litti are traditionally baked over a cow-dung fire,but in the modern day a new fried version has been developed.
    Litti is a staple food of Bihar, Jharkhand and Eastern Uttar Pradesh. It is pocket friendly for the working classes and also healthy in terms of proteins and nutrients. It is made of whole-wheat flour and stuffed with sattu (gram flour powder). Cooking and serving of litti is very important to realise the actual taste of this food. The best littis should be cooked in low fire of cow dung cake so that the littis are baked properly and the inside fillings are cooked and mixed well. The taste of litti lies in its stuffed material, namely sattu. Dry sattu is mixed with chopped garlic and ginger and some Indian dry species to give a tangy flavour, and after the litti is baked it is broken into pieces, and hot ghee is poured all over it. It is best served with raw onions soaked in lemon and vinegar, chokha (spicy mashed potatoes) and chicken/meat gravy.

    Ingredients

    for outer cover of litti
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour or 240 grams whole wheat flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or oil
  • ¾ to 1 cup water or add as required
    for litti stuffing
  • 1 cup sattu (roasted gram flour)
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon saunf (fennel seeds or aniseeds)
  • ½ teaspoon ajwain (carom seeds or bishops weed)
  • ½ teaspoon nigella seeds (kalonji or onion seeds)
  • ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chopped green chilies
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon black salt
  • regular salt as per taste
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
    for serving
  • baingan chokha
  • tomato chokha
  • aloo chokha
  • ¼ cup melted ghee or use as required

    Instructions

    preparing dough cover for litti

    1.   In a mixing bowl, take 2 cups whole wheat flour/atta (240 grams) and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Also add 1 tablespoon ghee or oil.
    2.   Now add water in parts and knead to a smooth soft dough. I added 3/4 cup water. Depending on the quality of flour, you can add 3/4 to 1 cup water.
    3.   Knead till smooth and soft. Cover the dough and keep aside.

    making stuffing for litti

    1.   In a mortar-pestle take 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds and 1/2 teaspoon saunf (fennel seeds). Lightly crush them and keep aside.
    2.   Take 1 cup sattu/roasted gram flour in a mixing bowl or pan.
    3.   Add the slightly crushed cumin seeds and fennel seeds.
    4.   Now add 1/2 teaspoon ajwain, 1/2 teaspoon nigella seeds and 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder, 1 to 2 teaspoons chopped green chilies, 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger, 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic, 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves and 1/4 teaspoon black salt. Also add regular salt as per taste.
    5.   Also add 2 teaspoons lemon juice and 2 teaspoons mustard oil
    6.   Mix very well.
    7.   Sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons water all over and mix the flour with water evenly. Do add more water if required. The sattu stuffing mixture should not be too dry or too wet.If the mixture is dry, then the dryness is felt when eating littis.

    stuffing & shaping litti

    1.   After 30 minutes, now make small or medium sized balls from the dough.
    2.   Sprinkling some flour, roll each dough ball to a circle of about 5 to 6 inches.
    3.   Place 2 to 3 tablespoons of the stuffing in the center.
    4.   Pleat and then join the edges. Press the joined part and lightly roll the stuffed dough balls in your palms, so as to get a round shape. Keep aside.
    5.   Another method is to flatten the the dough ball with your palms and make a shallow cup.
    6.   Now place the stuffing.
    7.   Gently bring together the outer dough cover in the center, while pressing the stuffing. Join and then seal the edges. This is a bit tricky method. So please use the method which suits you.
    8.   Keep the prepared littis under a cotton towel or napkin, so that the dough does not dry out.
    9.   Prepare all stuffed littis this way and place them on a baking tray, which has been greased with some oil. Do grease baking tray well, otherwise the littis can stuck to the tray.

    baking litti

    1.   Place the littis in a preheated oven at 200 degrees celsius. Preheat the oven for 20 minutes at 200 degree celsius prior to baking.
    2.   After 10 to 15 minutes of baking, remove the tray and flip each litti. Keep the tray back in the oven.
    3.   Again after 10 to 15 minutes, remove the baking tray and flip each litti. Place the tray back in the oven. This has to be done once or twice more for even baking of littis.
    4.   Bake till the crust looks done with some light brown or golden brown spots on them. Timing will vary upon the size and litres of oven. It took me about 45 minutes for these to bake.
    5.   Brush the littis with some melted ghee all over.
    6.   This step is optional and only to get charred spots on the litti. Secure the litti in a pair of tongs and place it on fire. Rotate for a few seconds till you see some charred spots on littis.
    7.   Serve these bihari style litti with baingan chokha, aloo chokha and tamatar chokha accompanied with a small bowl of melted ghee. The litti is broken, dipped in ghee and then had with the chokha.

    making baingan chokha

    1.   Rinse 1 large baingan/eggplant/aubergine (420 grams) in water. Place it on a wired rack on a stove top or you can place it directly on fire.
    2.   Keep turning the eggplant after 2 to 3 minutes on the flame, so that its evenly cooked.
    3.   Roast the baingan till its completely cooked and tender. With a knife check the doneness. The knife should slid easily in baingan without any resistance. Remove the baingan and immerse in a bowl of water till it cools down.
    4.   Then peel it and chop.
    5.   Add the chopped baingan in a mixing bowl along with its juices.
    6.   Then add ⅓ cup chopped onions, ½ teaspoon chopped green chilies, ½ teaspoon chopped garlic and 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves.
    7.   Add 1 teaspoon mustard oil. If you want, you can add ¼ to ½ teaspoon lemon juice for a slight tang. Season with salt.
    8.   Mix everything very well.

    making tomato chokha

    1.   Rinse 2 medium to large tomatoes (200 grams) very well in water first. Then place them on a wired grill rack and begin to roast the tomatoes. You can also place them directly on the stove top. You can also grill the tomatoes or roast in the oven. But then you won’t get the smoky flavor.
    2.   Turn them after a few minutes for even roasting. The tomatoes should get charred.
    3.   Roast the tomatoes till they are completely cooked from within. With a knife check the doneness. The knife should slid easily in the tomatoes without any resistance.
    4.   Once the tomatoes cool, then peel them and remove the charred skin. Chop them and add the chopped tomatoes along with its juices in a mixing bowl.
    5.   Add ½ teaspoon chopped green chilies, ½ teaspoon chopped garlic, 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves, ½ teaspoon mustard oil and ½ teaspoon lemon juice.
    6.   Season with salt as per taste. Mix very well.
    7.   Check the taste and add more lemon juice or mustard oil or green chilies or salt if required.

    making aloo chokha

    1.   First boil or steam 2 medium potatoes (160 grams) till they are thoroughly cooked.
    2.   Allow them to become warm. You can steam them in a pan or electric rice cooker or pressure cook them in 1.25 to 1.5 cups water for 5 to 6 whistles.
    3.   When the potatoes become warm, peel and mash them.
    4.   Add ⅓ cup chopped onion, ½ teaspoon chopped green chilies, ½ teaspoon finely chopped garlic, ½ teaspoon mustard oil and ½ teaspoon lemon juice.
    5.   Mix very well. Check the taste and add more salt, lemon juice or green chilies if required.