Litti Chokha | Traditional Bihari Recipe

Litti Chokha

“So, you are a food blogger? What part of India are you from?”

“Bihar”

“Aah! Then you must teach me how to make litti chokha!”

Remarks like this are the reason I have not shared one of the most loved recipes from my home state Bihar! It is almost like saying that Italians eat only pizza. Or that tapas are an everyday feature at the table in a Spanish home! This and many other similar stereotypes and expectations made me almost pledge to never share this recipe. The fact that being a Bihari in India comes with its own share of woes and discriminations, and I had suffered a fair share of them studying and working outside of my home state. This baggage did not help either.

So What Changed?

Well! Let me first share with you a little secret about my personal journey. I have always been a sensitive person. Since I started blogging, it was very hard to deal with constant judgment and brutality. Something that bloggers are perpetually subjected to. I am not exaggerating but most of the brutality came from people who know me. I was already dealing with my own demons already. This added burden did not help. I started to question my decision to blog. Nothing good seemed to be coming out of it. In fact, things were only going south – not many followers on the blog, not much remuneration, and definitely no peace of mind! Then why was I doing what I was doing?

Now, as with most things in my life, by some cosmic intervention, a few things happened almost at the same time which helped to pull me together and bring my mind and soul to a safe place:

  1. I was recommended a book on Goodreads called the Power of Subconscious Mind and I started reading it
  2. A friend who had just completed some sessions happened to speak about her therapist to me
  3. And most importantly in one of the rare moments of optimism I reminded myself why had I started a blog in the first place – for the pure love and joy of sharing!

To deal with constant judgment, remember this – People’s opinion of you is a reflection of their character (and life experiences) and not yours. So, every time I am faced with opinions and unkind remarks I just remind myself of this. I stay true to myself and focus on my goal, no matter what 🙂

It’s in 2020. So Let’s Start New.

Why am I sharing all this with you when I should be focussing on more important matters like the recipe for Litti Chokha? Well! First things first, blogging or not, we all go through significant ups and downs in life. But not all of us are infused with copious amounts of endorphins to deal with these ebbs and flows and take it in our stride. Many of us find ourselves at sea and overwhelmed, to say the least, dealing with these. So, since my job is to share I  took the liberty to share the above with you the things that worked for me and helped me cope. I sincerely hope that at least one if not all of these help you too. Do remember that no matter how much love of family and friends you are surrounded by, there is nothing more important and effective than self-love. So, be it seeing a therapist, taking a few hours every day to be with yourself or just reading a self-help book, take the plunge, without any guilt or second thought. We all need constant reminders- one cannot pour from an empty vessel!

And Finally Litti Chokha!

Coming back to the recipe, there are four parts to it – making the litti, baingan bharta (eggplant mash), aloo bharta (mashed potatoes), and tomato chutney. While together it might sound like a lot of work, when you start putting it together you will realise it really isn’t hard. Just a little bit of planning and patience goes a long way. Here are a few tips to help you make the perfect litti chokhas.

Littis: They should not be disjointed when they come out of the oven hard. If you like them soft and crumbly, double the amount of ghee while kneading the dough. The best way to enjoy them is piping hot. Use two hands to break them and then dunk it in some melted ghee and mix with the bharta/chutney. Traditionally the litti stuffing was some oil, lime juice, and salt. Today however you will find various takes on the stuffing. Here I am sharing the one we enjoy as a family.

Litti-Chickpea flour stuffed whole wheat dumpling

Baingan Bharta: Whether you roast it on an open flame or on an iron tawa placed on an open flame, do slit them halfway in the centre. Not all the way to the end splitting it into two! Insert 6-8 pods of garlic. Roast the baingan and garlic together. Later use the garlic for flavouring both the bhartas and chutney. Yumm!!

Eggplant/Aubergine Mash(perfect accompaniment with Littis and parathas)

Aloo Bharta: You can boil potatoes in a pressure cooker and then further roast in a preheated oven for 5-10 minutes to add that smoky flavour. It would taste great both ways.

Mashed and spiced potatoes/Aloo Bharta

Tamatar Chutney:  Peel the skin of the tomatoes and roughly chop the tomatoes. Mix this with other ingredients of the chutney using a fork or blend together. It just changes the consistency, the former is lumpy and latter is liquid but it doesn’t effect the taste.

Tomato/Tamatar Chutney-Perfect accompaniment with litti Chokha

With my pro-tips up your sleeves, you are sure to rock this recipe 🙂

 

Litti-Chokha (Chickpea flour stuffed Dumplings with Aubergine Mash)

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 100

Serving Size: 3-4

Ingredients

    For Litti Dough
  • Whole wheat flour- 2 cups
  • Ghee- 1.5 tbsp
  • Salt- 1.5 tsp or to taste
  • Water- 1 cup approx (to knead the dough)
  • For Litti Stuffing
  • Sattu (roasted gram flour)- 1 cup
  • Ajwain (carom seeds)- 1/2 tsp
  • Saunf ( fennel seeds)- 1/2 tsp
  • Red Chilli powder- 1/2 tsp
  • Lemon juice- 2 tsps
  • Onion, finely chopped- 1.5 tbsp
  • Coriander leaves, finely chopped- 1.5 tbsp
  • Mustard Oil ( or oil from homemade mango or red chilli pickle)- 2 tsps
  • Finely Chopped Ginger- 1 tsp
  • Finely Chopped Garlic- 1 tsp
  • Salt - 1.5 tsp or as per taste
  • Water- 2 tbsp approx to bring the stuffing together
  • For Baingan Chokha/Bharta
  • Baingan -1 (large variety)
  • Garlic pods roasted - 2-3
  • Green chilies roasted- 1-2 or as per heat level desired
  • Mustard oil- 1 tsp
  • Chopped coriander leaves- 1 tbsp
  • Salt-1.5 tsp or as per taste
  • For Aaloo Chokha
  • Medium sized potatoes- 2
  • Green chilies roasted- 1-2 or as per heat level desired
  • Finely chopped onions -1.5 tbsp
  • Mustard oil- 1 tsp
  • Chopped coriander leaves- 1 tbsp
  • Salt-1.5 tsp or as per taste
  • For Tomato Chutney
  • Medium sized tomatoes- 2
  • Garlic pods roasted - 2
  • Green chilies roasted- 1-2 or as per heat level desired
  • Mustard oil- 1 tsp
  • Chopped coriander leaves- 1 tbsp
  • Salt-1.5 tsp or as per taste

Instructions

    Making Litti Dough
  1. In a deep and wide mixing bowl,place all ingredients; do not add water yet
  2. Between the palm of your hands rub the flour-salt-ghee mix for 5-7 minutes
  3. Then add little water and combine the dough; add water gradually to make sure the dough is of right consistency- soft and pliable and not very hard. Cover and keep aside
  4. Preparing Litti Stuffing
  5. In another deep bowl bring all the stuffing ingredients, except water together and mix well with your hands
  6. Add 1 tbsp water and mix well. The mixture should not be too dry but also not very wet, just sightly clumpy. You can test it by pinching some mixture between your fingers and if it almost holds shape it is good to go; add some more water if its very dry and powdery
  7. Rolling,Stuffing and Baking Litti
  8. Pull out a small ball of dough and roll between your palms as you would when making rotis
  9. Then roll out these balls to make almost a 4-6 inch roti, then place about 2 tbsps of the stuffing mixture in the centre
  10. Seal the edges by bringing them in the centre and pressing together
  11. Then gently roll them between your palms to make a ball
  12. Proceed similarly for the remaining dough
  13. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil
  14. Place the stuffed littis on the tray and brush them all over with ghee
  15. Bake for approximately 20-30 minutes or until the exterior is slightly charred and baked well
  16. Also, halfway through the process , flip the littis over for even baking; brush them again with some more ghee
  17. Making Baingan Chokha
  18. Slit the baingan/eggplant halfway (and not all the way till the end), press 6-8 garlic pods inside and roast on open flame or an iron tawa placed on the flame till the exteriors are charred and black and the white inside is cooked through;keep turning the eggplant while roasting so it is evenly done
  19. Roast 4-6 green chilies alongside
  20. Then peel off the skin, remove the stem and pull out the garlic pods
  21. Peel the garlic pods and keep aside
  22. In a bowl mash together two garlic pods, roasted green chilies as per taste, mustard oil, salt and roasted eggplant using a fork until well combined
  23. Garnish with chopped coriander
  24. Making Aaloo Chokha
  25. Boil potatoes in a pressure cooker until done
  26. Roast these boiled potatoes over flame on an iron tawa or in an oven at 200 degrees for 10 minutes; you can also skip the roasting step if you are pressed for time
  27. In a bowl mash together roasted green chilies as per taste, mustard oil, salt and boiled/roasted potatoes
  28. Garnish with chopped coriander
  29. Making Tamatar Chutney
  30. Poke holes into tomatoes and roast on an iron tawa , turning sides till the skin is nice and charred and tomatoes cooked through
  31. Peel the skin, chop into cubes and mix well with the remaining ingredients using a fork or you could blend all ingredients except the coriander to make a more homogeneous thick liquid
  32. Garnish with coriander
  33. Serve hot littis with a side of ghee, chokhas and chutney. Winter is truly incomplete without this meal!
https://onewholesomemeal.com/litti-chokha-traditional-bihari-recipe/

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3 Comments

  • Reply
    Joan
    August 10, 2020 at 11:02 am

    Hi Asmita, you may be interested in knowing that the Indian diaspora that left India late 19th and early 20th century as indentured labourers still cook these foods. Here is an example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinidad_and_Tobago_cuisine. You may also be pleasantly surprised how the people have moved on.

    • Reply
      onewholesomemeal
      August 10, 2020 at 2:07 pm

      Hi Joan! Thanks for sharing. Yes, I do have some understanding of the same. I guess people want to hold on to their culture and past and what better way to do so by preserving one’s heirloom recipes

  • Reply
    Daal Peetha - Steamed Glutenfree & Vegan Dumplings, a Bihari Speciality
    August 18, 2020 at 7:13 pm

    […] gravy. We, however like to eat it with a spicy tomato chutney, the recipe for which you can find in this post.Feel free to adjust the spice level as desired […]

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