My earliest memories of Litti is when one of my uncles used to cook them in our courtyard and the whole "event" was done on a massive scale. He always used to make around a hundred/hundred-fifty litties for our large family and a few folks were assigned to be his helpers for doing things. It was strictly a man's business then and all the ladies were only expected to make chokha and chutney to go with them.
One snowy, wintery night, 12-13 years ago in New Jersey, My husband and I, along with a few of our friends were trying to make Litti. Unfortunately, we had no experience in making this signature dish of Bihar, though we all were from Bihar. Finally, when it came out of the oven, with all our effort, it was rock-solid. So, as in all food-fail situations, pizza saved the day. Well, I still remember, while making these litties, we wasted almost half of the pure ghee from India one of our friends received from her mother. Well, she was nice enough not to kill us that night!!!!!!
So for a few years, I didn't try to make litties at all, until one of my husband's colleagues invited us for dinner. He made Litti Chokha that was really good. He gave me hope again and armed with his directions and my mom's advice, I tried it again.
Voila!!!!! It was a success this time, and after that I was unstoppable. We had Litti parties for friends in Minneapolis winters quite a few times and those cold days were brighter and cheerful because of those get-togethers, I must say.
Those were different times, however. I love to make litties and I finally perfected the art of cooking it in the oven. It tastes awesome but I still miss the litti which is traditionally cooked over the low flame of cow-dung cakes. You need to be an expert in it and litties cooked this way is charred and gives a wonderful smoky flavour.
Litti-chokha is a protein-packed powerhouse. Litti is stuffed with a spicy mixture of roasted gram flour/sattu. It tastes good with charred tomatoes, eggplant bharta, and alu chokha which is nothing but spiced Indian style mashed potatoes, and a charred eggplant dip. One more interesting fact is that leftover litti tastes even better the next day, so I always make the quantity double to have leftovers.
So for the first blog post of this new year, I thought of making my new start with a recipe which comes from my roots and for which I am always proud to be associated with.
This winter, make this awesome dish of Bihar, dunk it into ghee and experience sheer bliss with your family and friends!!!!!!!
Making of Litti---
First we will make the dough.
Whole Wheat Flour- 3 cups
Desi Ghee- 3 tablespoons
Yogurt / Curd-3 tablespoons
Salt- ½ teaspoon
Mix every thing together and make a soft dough out of it.
Cover it with a cloth and keep it aside.
Sattu- 1 ½ cups
Mustard oil -1 tablespoon. (Please don't use any other oil while making litti or chokha. Mustard oil gives it the real authentic taste.)
Red onion-1 medium sized, finely chopped
Garlic cloves- 5-6 finely chopped.
Green chillies-1 finely chopped
Ginger- 1 inch finely grated.
Cilantro -¼ cups finely chopped
½ teaspoon ajwain seeds/carrom seeds
½ teaspoon kalongi/nigella seeds
Lemon juice-1 tablespoon or you can use amchoor powder
Salt-According to taste.
Pickle masala-2 tablespoons (sometimes I use stuffed red chilli pickle or mango pickle. According to me, it doesn't make any difference.)
Around two tablespoons of water to wet the filling.
Mix everything together with your hands. You can use a spoon, but I totally believe in getting my hands dirty while working in the kitchen.
Making of Litti-
Divide dough into 12 -13 equal size dough balls. The size shouldn't be very small or big.
Fill the balls with sattu. You can do it in your palm. No need to use a rolling pin or anything. (will share a video to show how to make the dough balls and stuff them with sattu stuffing.)
Preheat the oven for 350 F.
Bake it for 35-40 minutes, or till it's evenly browned. Flip it a few times to make sure it's even.
After removing from the oven, grill it on the gas stove or outdoor grill for a charred effect . Don't burn it .
Remove it from the oven and dip immediately into desi ghee. That will make your litties super soft and crumbly in texture.
Making of alu, tamatar, baigan ka chokha--
Grill one medium size eggplant in the oven or on direct fire above the grill/gas stove.
The same way, roast 2 juicy red tomatoes and boil one large potato.
Remove the skin of everything, and with the help of a masher or fork, mix them.
Roast 3-4 cloves of garlic. Add it to the mixture.
Add one teaspoon of mustard oil to it.
Take one teaspoon of finely chopped green chillies and mix well.
Add finely chopped red onion - 1 tablespoon
Cilantro -Finely chopped, one tablespoon.
Salt according to taste.
Mix everything together. Your chokha is ready.
Making of green chutney-
There are several types of green chutney. Here I made a green garlic and cilantro chutney.
Take 1 cup of fresh green ciliantro.
⅓ cup of green garlic leaves.
Green chilli-1 teaspoon.
Amchoor powder or lemon juice-1 teaspoon.
Salt - according to taste.
Grind every thing together. Your chutney is ready.
To enjoy this heavenly Litti, after breaking it dip it into ghee or pour ghee over it. Serve hot with chokha and chutney. Enjoy!!
Leftover Litti tastes awesome, and you can keep this for 2 days at least at room temperature.