About Litti Chokha.
Litti Chokha is a traditional and flavorsome dish hailing from the Indian state of Bihar. It’s a beloved part of Bihari cuisine and represents the rich culinary heritage of the region. Litti, the star of the dish, is a round wheat flour ball stuffed with roasted gram flour and spices. Chokha refers to a side dish made from mashed vegetables, primarily roasted eggplant (baingan), tomatoes, and various spices.
The process of making Litti involves kneading the wheat flour into a dough, which is then stuffed with a mixture of roasted gram flour (sattu), spices, and herbs. These stuffed balls are roasted over an open flame or baked until they develop a crisp, golden-brown exterior.
Chokha, on the other hand, is a medley of roasted and mashed vegetables, often including eggplant, tomatoes, and sometimes potatoes. It is seasoned with mustard oil, spices, and herbs to create a flavorful accompaniment to the Litti.
Litti Chokha is not only delicious but also a wholesome and nutritious meal. It’s known for its rustic charm, offering a combination of textures and flavors that delight the palate. This dish has transcended regional boundaries and gained popularity across India and beyond, making it a cherished part of the country’s diverse culinary landscape.
Ingredients for Litti:
For the Dough:
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
- Water, as needed
- Salt to taste
For the Filling:
- 1 cup roasted gram flour (sattu)
- 2-3 green chilies, finely chopped (adjust to taste)
- 1 teaspoon ajwain (carom seeds)
- 1 teaspoon kalonji (nigella seeds)
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder (adjust to taste)
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons mustard oil
- Water, as needed
- 2-3 large eggplants (baingan)
- 2-3 tomatoes
- 2-3 green chilies, finely chopped (adjust to taste)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 tablespoons mustard oil
- Salt to taste
- Chopped coriander leaves for garnish
- In a mixing bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, ghee, and a pinch of salt.
- Gradually add water and knead the mixture into a firm but pliable dough. Cover it with a damp cloth and let it rest for about 30 minutes.
- In another bowl, mix the roasted gram flour (sattu), green chilies, ajwain, kalonji, turmeric powder, red chili powder, salt, and mustard oil.
- Gradually add water to the mixture while stirring until it reaches a crumbly texture. Ensure the sattu mixture holds together when pressed.
- Divide the dough into small lemon-sized balls and flatten each ball into a small disc.
- Place a spoonful of the sattu mixture in the center of each disc. Enclose the filling by bringing the edges of the dough together and sealing it well to form a stuffed ball (litti).
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the litti on a baking tray and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until they turn golden brown. You can also roast them over an open flame or on a tawa (griddle) until they are crisp and cooked evenly.
- Roast the eggplants directly over an open flame or on a stovetop until the skin is charred, and the flesh becomes soft and pulpy. Allow them to cool, peel the skin, and mash the pulp.
- Roast the tomatoes over an open flame or in the oven until the skin blisters and starts to peel off. Chop the roasted tomatoes finely.
- In a bowl, combine the mashed eggplant, chopped tomatoes, green chilies, minced garlic, chopped onion, cumin seeds, mustard oil, and salt. Mix well to create the chokha.
- Serve the hot litti with chokha. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and a drizzle of mustard oil for an authentic touch.
Enjoy the rustic flavors of homemade Litti Chokha, a traditional Bihari delicacy that’s both wholesome and delicious!
The nutritional value of Litti Chokha can vary depending on serving sizes and specific ingredients used. Here’s a general overview of the approximate nutritional content for a typical serving of Litti Chokha:
For Litti (per serving):
- Calories: Approximately 150-200 calories
- Carbohydrates: Around 30-40 grams
- Protein: 5-8 grams
- Dietary Fiber: 3-5 grams
- Fat: 2-4 grams
- Saturated Fat: 0.5-1 gram
- Cholesterol: 0 milligrams (Litti is typically cholesterol-free)
- Sodium: 300-500 milligrams (may vary depending on salt and filling)
For Chokha (per serving):
- Calories: Approximately 30-40 calories
- Carbohydrates: Around 5-8 grams
- Protein: 1-2 grams
- Dietary Fiber: 2-3 grams
- Fat: 1-2 grams
- Saturated Fat: 0.2-0.5 gram
- Cholesterol: 0 milligrams (Chokha is typically cholesterol-free)
- Sodium: 100-200 milligrams (may vary depending on salt and spices)
These nutritional values are approximate and can vary based on factors such as the size of the Litti, the specific ingredients used in the filling, and the preparation method. Litti Chokha is generally considered a wholesome and nutritious meal, rich in carbohydrates, fiber, and essential nutrients. It’s a balanced combination of whole wheat, protein from roasted gram flour (sattu), and a variety of vegetables in the Chokha, making it a popular choice for a hearty and flavorful meal.
Litti Chokha, a traditional Bihari dish, offers several health benefits:
- Rich in Fiber: Whole wheat flour used to make Litti is a good source of dietary fiber. Fiber aids digestion, promotes bowel regularity, and helps maintain a healthy digestive system.
- Protein Content: The roasted gram flour (sattu) used as a filling in Litti is rich in protein. Protein is essential for tissue repair, muscle development, and overall body function.
- Vitamins and Minerals: Chokha, made from roasted vegetables like eggplant and tomatoes, is a source of essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium and folate.
- Low in Saturated Fat: Litti Chokha is typically low in saturated fats, which are associated with heart health. It’s often cooked with mustard oil, which is considered a healthier cooking oil.
- Vegetarian and Gluten-Free Options: Litti Chokha can be adapted to suit various dietary preferences. For instance, it can be prepared as a vegetarian dish or, with the right flour substitutions, made gluten-free.
- Balanced Meal: Litti Chokha combines carbohydrates, proteins, and vegetables, making it a balanced meal option that can provide sustained energy throughout the day.
- Spices and Herbs: The use of spices and herbs in Chokha not only adds flavor but also offers potential health benefits. Some spices, like cumin seeds, have digestive benefits, while others, like green chilies, may boost metabolism.
- Cultural and Regional Significance: Apart from its nutritional value, Litti Chokha is an integral part of Bihari culture and heritage, showcasing traditional cooking methods and ingredients.
While Litti Chokha has numerous nutritional benefits, it’s important to be mindful of portion sizes and the use of oil or ghee, which can add calories. Enjoying this dish in moderation as part of a balanced diet can help you reap its health advantages while savoring its delicious flavors.
Tips and Tricks.
Here are some tips and tricks to help you make delicious Litti Chokha:
For Making Litti:
- Kneading the Dough: When kneading the wheat flour dough for Litti, add water gradually. The dough should be firm but pliable. Resting the dough for about 30 minutes allows it to become smoother and easier to work with.
- Stuffing: While preparing the sattu (roasted gram flour) filling for Litti, ensure it’s well-seasoned with spices, green chilies, and mustard oil. The filling should be slightly moist but not too wet.
- Sealing Litti: When stuffing the dough with sattu mixture, make sure to seal the edges well. This prevents the filling from spilling out during roasting.
- Roasting Litti: You can roast Litti over an open flame, on a tawa (griddle), or in an oven. Keep turning and roasting until they have a uniform golden-brown crust.
For Making Chokha:
- Roasting Vegetables: Roast the eggplants and tomatoes over an open flame for a smoky flavor, or you can roast them in the oven. The skin should blister and start to peel for easy removal.
- Mashing: Mash the roasted eggplants and tomatoes well. You can use the back of a fork or a potato masher. Ensure there are no large lumps for a smoother Chokha.
- Mustard Oil: Mustard oil is a key ingredient in Chokha, adding a distinct flavor. Heat the oil until it smokes and then let it cool slightly before using it in the recipe.
- Traditional Style: Serve Litti Chokha with a drizzle of mustard oil on top for an authentic touch. It enhances the flavors and aroma.
- Variations: Experiment with different variations of Chokha by adding other roasted vegetables like potatoes or onions for additional flavors and textures.
- Accompaniments: Litti Chokha pairs well with tangy pickles, yogurt, or a side of green chilies for those who prefer extra heat.
By following these tips and tricks, you can create a memorable Litti Chokha meal that’s not only authentic but also bursting with flavors and textures.
Litti Chokha is a flavorful and wholesome dish that can be served in various ways. Here are some serving suggestions:
- Traditional Style: Serve Litti Chokha just as it is traditionally enjoyed in Bihar. Arrange the roasted Litti on a plate alongside a bowl of Chokha. Drizzle a little mustard oil over the Chokha for an authentic touch.
- With Pickles: Litti Chokha pairs wonderfully with a variety of Indian pickles. Mango pickle, mixed vegetable pickle, or green chili pickle can add an extra kick of flavor to your meal.
- Yogurt: A side of fresh yogurt or raita (yogurt with spices and herbs) can provide a cool contrast to the spicy and smoky flavors of Chokha.
- Green Chilies: For those who enjoy extra heat, serve sliced green chilies as a condiment. It adds a spicy kick to each bite.
- Fresh Coriander: Garnish your Litti Chokha with freshly chopped coriander leaves for a burst of freshness and color.
- Chutney: Pair it with a side of mint chutney or tamarind chutney for a tangy and refreshing element.
- Crispy Papad: Crispy papads (thin lentil or gram flour wafers) can complement the textures and flavors of Litti Chokha.
- On a Banana Leaf: For an authentic touch, serve Litti Chokha on a banana leaf, which is a traditional serving method in many parts of India.
- Accompanying Vegetables: You can serve Litti Chokha with a side of lightly sautéed or steamed seasonal vegetables to create a balanced meal.
- Masala Chai: Pair this meal with a hot cup of masala chai (spiced tea) or refreshing buttermilk to complete the experience.
Litti Chokha is a versatile dish, and the choice of accompaniments can be tailored to suit your taste preferences. Whether you prefer it traditional or with a modern twist, it’s a flavorful and hearty meal that’s sure to satisfy your palate.
How is Litti Roasted?
Litti is traditionally roasted using various methods:
Over an Open Flame: Litti can be roasted directly over an open flame. Hold the stuffed Litti with tongs or a skewer and keep turning it until it develops a golden-brown, crispy crust.
On a Tawa (Griddle): Place the stuffed Litti on a hot tawa (griddle) and cook both sides until they turn crisp and brown. You can apply a little oil or ghee to enhance the flavor and texture.
In an Oven: Preheat your oven to about 350°F (175°C) and place the stuffed Litti on a baking tray. Bake them for approximately 25-30 minutes or until they become golden brown and crisp.
Combination Method: Some people prefer to partially cook Litti on a tawa or griddle and then finish them over an open flame to achieve an even crust and smoky flavor.
The choice of roasting method depends on personal preference and the equipment available. Regardless of the method, the goal is to achieve a uniformly crispy exterior while keeping the inside soft and flavorful.
Is Litti Chokha Spicy?
Litti Chokha can be mildly to moderately spicy, depending on personal preferences and the amount of green chilies and spices used in the Chokha and the stuffing of Litti. Green chilies are a common ingredient in both components and contribute to the dish’s heat. However, you can control the spiciness by adjusting the quantity of green chilies and other spices to suit your taste. Some people enjoy the dish with a robust spicy kick, while others may opt for a milder flavor profile by using fewer chilies.
What is Sattu?
Sattu is a traditional and versatile Indian ingredient made from roasted gram flour. To make sattu, grams (usually chickpeas or Bengal gram) are cleaned, roasted, and then ground into a fine flour. This flour is highly nutritious and serves as a rich source of protein, fiber, and essential nutrients. Sattu is commonly used in various Indian dishes, including Litti Chokha, where it forms the flavorful and protein-packed filling for the roasted wheat flour balls known as Litti. It’s known for its nutty and earthy flavor and is popular in many regional cuisines across India.
What is the Key Flavor in Chokha?
The key flavor in Chokha, a side dish in Litti Chokha, is mustard oil. Mustard oil contributes a distinct and slightly pungent taste to Chokha, enhancing its overall flavor profile. The oil is typically heated until it smokes and then allowed to cool slightly before being used in the recipe. This process not only brings out the unique taste of mustard oil but also adds an authentic and aromatic dimension to the Chokha, making it a flavorful accompaniment to the roasted Litti.