Cuisines in India are as unique as they can get and I absolutely love that about it. Some of them have received their due and are fairly famous but some of them are underrated. I always feel that one such cuisine from the eastern state of Bihar. The cuisine is simple, healthy and so flavorful but sometimes feel doesn’t get its due. I am fortunate enough to have a lot of good friends to have tasted this cuisine and develop a liking for it.
The first thing I tried a few years back was Litti Chokha in winters and it touched a chord. It has become really close to my heart, I love the seemingly simple dish but so complex in flavours.
Littis are wheat balls stuffed with Sattu masala. Sattu is roasted horse gram flour. It is extremely tasty and known for its cooling properties when mixed in water and had in summers. It is also stuffed in parathas and used for a lot of other dishes. Litti chokha is a heavenly combo, chokhas are supposedly paired with super flavorful salsas. They can be made out of Eggplant/Brinjal, potatoes or tomatoes.
COOKING THE LITTIS:
I made my Littis in my air fryer this time and that took only 12 minutes to make. Cooking time would differ in how you make them. I have made them in an OTG before and that takes about 45-50 minutes. I have also tried making them in my coal barbecue. It took about 35 minutes to cook them on very low flame simmering coals to get nice and crusty. Cooking time would also differ in the size of Littis you make.
PREPARATION TIME: 25 minutes
COOKING TIME: 15 minutes
SERVINGS: 10 Littis
DIFFICULTY SCALE: High
For the Litti dough –
- Wheat flour/atta – 2 cups
- Vegetable oil – 3 tablespoons
- Water – 1-1.5 cup
- Salt – to taste
For the stuffing –
- Sattu – 1 cup
- Ginger – 1 small stick
- Garlic- 4 pods
- Green Chilli – 1
- Lemon juice – ½ lemon
- Coriander Leaves – 2 tablespoons, finely chopped
- Mango/stuffed chilli pickle masala – 1.5 tablespoon, optional
- Mustard oil – 2 tablespoons
- Onion seeds/Kalonji – ½ teaspoon
- Carom seeds/ajwaein – 1 teaspoon
- Cumin seeds/jeera – 1 teaspoon
- Fennel seeds/saunf – ½ teaspoon
- Red chilli powder – ½ teaspoon
- Clarified butter/ghee – ½ cup
- Salt – to taste
For the Baingan Chokha/Eggplant Salsa –
- Eggplant/Brinjal – 1, large
- Onion – 1, small
- Tomato – 1
- Garlic pods – 2
- Coriander leaves – a handful
- Red Chilli powder – ½ teaspoon
- Mustard oil – 1 tablespoon
- Salt – a pinch
For the Litti dough –
- Take a mixing bowl and add flour/atta to it. Add in a few tablespoons of oil and rub the oil with the flour to mix well.
- Now add the salt and start adding water in small quantities.
- Knead the dough for 5-7 minutes until it turns into a smooth and soft dough. It should be like a super soft dough – like the one you would use for pooris.
4. Spread some oil on the dough and cover it with a kitchen towel and let it rest for 20 minutes.
For the stuffing –
5. In the meanwhile, for the stuffing, crush the ginger stick, garlic pods and green chillies into a paste. I did that in a mortar and pestle.
6. Take a mixing bowl and add the sattu powder to it. Add in the crushed paste from ginger-garlic and chilli. Also, add chopped fresh coriander leaves.
7. Add in a tablespoon or two of the masala from any of your pickles. The best ones to use are mango pickle, stuffed chilli pickle or amla pickle. Don’t worry, if you don’t have this though, the raw whole spices would do the trick too.
8. Mix in all the dry spices – carom seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds and onion seed along with salt. Remember that the dough also has salt, so don’t add in a lot of it otherwise the Litti Batis would become very salty.
9. If you like it to be spicier, you could add in a little dry red chilli powder too. Mix well.
10. Now add in the lemon juice and mustard oil. Mix everything together. Remember that the mixture should not to too dry or too wet otherwise it would become very difficult to get the right Littis.
For Stuffing of Littis –
11. Now preheat an air fryer to 160 degree Celsius for 4 minutes or so.
12. In the meanwhile, once the dough has rested properly, take small lemon size pieces of it and roll it to make a perfect round.
13. Now with your fingers start spreading the dough ball to form a small flatbread. You could either do it with your hands or use a rolling pin but I find it easier to do it with hands.
14. Make a small cavity and stuff in a spoonful of the litti mix on the dough.
15. Now use your fingers to close the dough back into a round and pinch off any excess dough.
16. Roll within your fingers till a perfect round Litti bati is formed.
17. Repeat this step till the entire dough is used.
18. Now place these Littis into the air fryer dish and brush them with some oil/ghee.
19. Make sure that they don’t touch each other in the dish otherwise they won’t cook uniformly.
20. Let them air-fry for 12 minutes and rest inside for another 2-3 minutes before taking them out.
21. In the meantime, take a pan and melt half a cup of ghee in it.
22. Now with a pair of tongs, carefully place one Litti at a time on a low flame and keep rotating. This will give a lovely charred colour.
23. Keep adding these charred Littis to the pan with ghee. With the help of the tong, remove them from the ghee after a minute.
For Baingan ka Chokha/Eggplant Salsa –
24. Take a large eggplant, wash it and pat it until it’s dry with the help of kitchen towels.
25. Place the eggplant on medium flame on a grilling rack and let it get roasted.
26. Keep moving every few minutes to ensure uniform cooking on all sides. Cooking it on low flame ensure that it gets cooked from inside as well.
27. Once roasted properly, remove it from the heat and let it cool for 2-3 minutes. Remove the head and peel off the skin.
28. Now add this to a bowl and use a fork to roughly chop it.
29. Add finely chopped onion, tomato and coriander leaves.
30. Add crushed garlic pods, red chilli powder, salt and mix well.
31. Add some mustard oil and Litti Chokha is ready to be served.
Enjoy Litti Chokha!