There is one more method of making this Litti which is mostly used towards Rajasthan. There, these stuffed Littis are rolled into smaller round balls, boiled, and then shallow fried. This also imparts an incredible flavour to the Litti, but I have never tried it on my own. The method which I am explaining though my post is the oven-roasted method. OIn the older time, the Littis were roasted in the hot sand and usually took a few days to cook. Now, in households it’s made in Stove-furnaces (Tandoor) .
Why I had to go through the pain of making this recipe and take step by step pictures?
Divya from You too can cook runs this very successful event – SNC Challenge where bloggers from South and North India come together and try recipes from each others’ regions. She has given me this wonderful opportunity to host this month’s challenge. Since I am a part of the north team, I had to think for a regional recipe to challenge the Southern team. And what a piece of work it has been !! I discussed with the fellow members and we brainstormed to give a challenge which is very traditional, not too difficult to make, and of course delicious to have. We selected this recipe, since though its very common in Bihar and Eastern U.P., I have never seen somebody from any other state with even slightest knowledge of this extremely healthy dish.
So, anyway this was our obvious choice for the challenge. Another challenge which I had to face was – not much info was available on internet about it. i.e. not many bloggers have posted the recipes or tips. So I turned to my friends and relatives from Bihar and U.P. for help. I did some research on the origin of this dish and harassed my friend so much to gather and provide as much info I could from them. I am hoping all this would be fruitful, and my friends from Southern team would understand the origin and process well 🙂
To get more info on South and North Challenge – visit here.
Although its a straight forward and simple recipe, but the major problem you may face while you are preparing Litti Chokha is that one of the main ingredients – Sattu is not easily available everywhere !!
Now, what is Sattu?
- Take 2 cups of Bengal gram, wash it properly and drain. Keep aside
- Heat 3 cups of water in a heavy bottomed pan, let it boil. Add chana dal and stir
- Let it cook covered for 7-8 minutes on medium flame. Don’t overcook it.
- Drain the Chana dal ( don’t squeeze every drop of water out of it ) and transfer it to a big bowl. Cover it up with a damp tea towel or cling film and keep it like that for 3-4 hours.
- After 4 hours, lay it out on a soft cotton cloth & let it cool. This will take around 3-4 hours, you may have to shuffle it a few times in between to arrange it evenly. It has to be dry completely, you may increase this time to 5 hours but not more than that else it will start giving bad odour
- Now, take the heaviest wide pan or wok you have. Dry roast Chana dal on a low flame, stirring it frequently in between. Like I stirred it every 5 min, for almost 40 min. Mind you, the flame must be lowest else it will burn off and wont give nice taste. You may do it in batches if you don’t have that big vessel.
- To test if its done or not, simply get one bit out let it coll and eat it. It should be soft, chewable and not mushy or hard. The texture and shape should be retained.
- Turn the flame off and let it cool, later grind chana daal to a fine powder. Store in an air tight container. You can easily keep it for 2-3 months.
Of course, you don’t have to go through all the pain if you are lucky enough to get Sattu nearby. Or if you find this job difficult, just get some of your local Chakki ( mill ) to get it done for you. Sattu can also be milled using roasted chickpeas with or without skin , enhancing the fibre content in it. Roasted barley flour is also available in markets and specialty health food stores and that is called Jau ka sattu in Hindi
What you need?
To make Litti:
- 4 cups Wheat flour
- 1 tsp Ajwain(carom seeds)
- 4 tbsp Ghee
Baking soda – 1/2 tsp
Salt – 3/4 tsp
- almost 2 cups warm water – you may not need all of it, depends on the quality of flour
- To Make Pitthi (stuffing):
1 cup Sattu
Ginger – 1 inch long piece
2-4 Green chillies
1/2 cup Green coriander leaves – finely chopped
1 tsp Jeera(cumin seeds)
1 tsp Ajwain(carom seeds)
2 tbsp Mustard oil
2 tbsp Pickle spiceLemon – juice of 1 lemon – almost 1 tbsp
Salt – add to taste
To make Chokha:
- 4-6 potatoes, boiled and peeled
- 5-6 large cloves of garlic
- 1 large onion, chopped small2 medium sized tomatoes
2-4 Green chillies
1 tbsp grated ginger
2 tbsp Green coriander leaves
Salt – add to taste – almost 1 tsp
- Mustard oil – 1 to 2 tsp
How to make?
To shape and cook Litti:
Place 1- 2 tsp Pitthi on it, wrap up the dough piece and close from all sides. Pinch the extra dough from top, press with your palms to flatten it a bit. Litti is ready for frying.
To make Litti in an oven: Preheat the oven at 200 degrees. Place all the balls on a baking dish and bake them for 30-40 minutes. Flip the side half way through, you may have to do it 2-3 times in between to get the even cooking done.
To make Litti in a home furnace ( Tandoor ) : Pre heat the tandoor and place the stuffed pieces of dough in it carefully. Cook it by turning sides regularly till they turn brown , usually takes 40-50 minutes
Finally, we will make Chokha for litti:
- Peel the boiled potatoes and mash them coarsely with hands or masher. Keep aside.
Now roast garlic and tomatoes on either the gas flame ( like I did, see the pictures below ) or simply in an oven. On the flame, it will take around 12-15 minutes on medium flame. And in an oven, it takes around 20-25 minutes but the later of course is hassle free
Allow them to cool, peel the skins, keep them in a bowl and mash with a spoon. Add in the spices, salt, oil and mix properly.
Add in mashed potatoes, just mix everything gently with hands. Chokha is ready to be served.
Litti can also be broken at the centre and then ghee can be poured on top, this way it reaches the stuffing too and pitthi gets a bit damp. I adopt this way to serve, since I love the aroma of ghee mixed with Sattu.
Some notes and tips:
- You may also add 2 tbsp of yoghurt to the Litti dough, I havent done it myself but seen people using that. They say it results in smooth texture
- Sattu is also used in making Sattu ka Paratha, Sattu ki Kachori, Sattu ka meetha etc. it’s a very versatile flour and I hope to post more recipes using Sattu in near future.
- The true flavours of Chokha come from two things – Mustard oil and roasted garlic. Even if you omit any other ingredient, its important to keep these two. Obviously, if you don’t eat them at all, then you may replace them. But it’s a definite addition in the traditional recipe
- Be ready to pour in dollops of ghee on top, since it adds to the taste manifolds
- If you are confused that we didn’t cook the mustard oil while making Chokha, you have read it all right. We DO NOT COOK the oil used in Chokha, and that brings out the raw mustard flavour. Not everyone would like it, I know. So please go ahead and heat mustard oil before adding it to the mashed potatoes mixture.
- Traditionally, Chokha is served at room temperature with hot and fresh littis. You may opt for warm chokha too as per your liking
- Littis taste best when eaten fresh. When re heated they loose the crunch. If you do have some leftover littis, you may simply shallow fry them and have them with tea or coffee. It makes a great tea time snack
I prepared this recipe specially for SNC, if anyone has any doubt or question in mind regarding the preparation, please feel free to shoot me an email any time:) Please link your entries to the linky below:
For more recipes from Bihar, click here
P.S. Thanks to Red Candy for sending out the lovely red glass kettle present in the pictures