This week’s recipe comes courtesy of Vivek Vasan, our special guest and host of the Historical India podcast. The recipe is based on his mother’s recipe, so you know it’s gotta be good. I haven’t been able to try it yet, mainly because finding many of the ingredients require a special trip to the local South Asian grocery, but I will be trying it soon.
It sounds complex, but each of the four major steps require some rest time, leaving plenty of time to proceed to the next. Start with making the dough, then build the filling while the dough rests. While the litti cooks, you can make the baigan chokha. To bake the chokha, you can bake in a conventional oven, since you’re likely not to have either a Tandoori oven nor to fuel said oven with upla (animal dung). While they bake, chop, sauté and season the eggplant. Then all will be ready.
To make dough:
- Wheat flour - 400 grams (2 cup)
- Ajwain (carom seeds) - ½ Tsp
- Ghee (clarified Butter) -2 Tbsp
- Curd - ¾ Cup
- Baking Soda - ½ Tsp
- Salt - ¾ Tsp
For Stuffing (Pitthi)
- Sattu (roasted black bengal gram flour with the skin retained) - 200 Grams (1 Cup)
- Ginger - 1 Inch Long Piece
- Green Chilli - 2 To 4
- Coriander - ½ Cup, Finely Chopped
- Jeera (Cumin seeds) - 1 Tsp
- Ajwain (Carom seeds) - 1 Tsp
- Mustard Oil - 1tsp
- Pickle Spices (you can add any Indian pickle e.g. You should be able to get Priya Mango or Lime pickle in your local Indian store) - 1 Tbsp
- Lemon Juice - 1 Lemon
- Salt - Add To Taste or 1/2 Tsp
For Chokha – this is one option for the accompaniment - Eggplant or you can try the Potato one
- Brinjal (Big Eggplant) - 400 grams (1 Or 2)
- Tomatoes - 250 gms ( 4 Medium Sized)
- Green Chillies - 2 To 4, Finely Chopped
- Ginger - 1 ½ Inch Long Piece, Finely Chopped
- Coriander - 2 Tbsp, Finely Chopped
- Salt - Add To Taste or 1 Tsp
- Mustard Oil - 1 To 2 Tsp
Prepare dough for Litti
- Filter the flour and keep it in a utensil, put Ghee, baking soda, Ajwain (carom seeds) and salt in flour then mix well.
- Beat curd and put it in flour as well.
- Knead soft dough using warm water.
- Cover the dough and keep aside for 30 minutes.
- Dough required to make Litti is ready.
How to make Stuffing for Litti
- Wash, peel and finely chop ginger (you can also grate it).
- Break the stems of the green chillies, wash then finely chop them.
- Clean green coriander, wash then finely chop the leaves.
- Take out Sattu (Bengal gram flour) in a utensil put chopped ginger, green chillies, coriander, lemon juice, salt, Jeera (cumin) , Ajwain (carom), mustard oil and pickle spices in it.
- Mix all the ingredients properly, if the Pitthi seems dry then add 1-2 spoons of water to it, Sattu Pitthi is ready.
How to make Litti
- Break off medium sized pieces from the dough.
- With the help of your fingers expand the pieces 2-3 inches in diameter.
- Place 1 - 1 ½ tsp Pitthi on it, wrap up the dough piece and close from all sides.
- Press this stuffed pieces to flatten it a bit, Litti is ready for frying.
- Heat the Tandoor(furnace), place the stuffed pieces of dough in the Tandoor and cook it by turning sides regularly till they turn brown (traditionally Litti is cooked on a Upla). - You can stick it in the convection microwave, keep an eye while it’s cooking till the sides are browned on its top and bottom and the dough is hardened. It should take about 20 minutes at 250 degrees Celsius (482 F)
How to make Chokha for Litti
- Wash eggplant and tomatoes then fry them. Allow them to cool, peel the skins, keep them in a bowl and mash with a spoon.
- Put the chopped spices, salt, oil and mix properly.
- Eggplant Chokha is ready.
- If you prefer garlic and onion then peel 5-6 cloves of garlic then finely chop them. Peel 1 onion, chop it finely and mix these with brinjal.
Aaloo (Potato) ka Chokha
- Peel 4-5 boiled potatoes break them into small pieces, add chopped ginger, green chillies, green coriander, red chilli powder and salt to it then mix well. Aaloo ka Chokha is ready.
- Put Chokha in a bowl, dip hot Litti in melted Ghee, Litti can also be broken at the centre and then dipped. Serve with Chokha, green coriander chutney.
Courtesy of Vivek Vasan