Litti Chokha Chutney has really picked up the last couple of years. I keep seeing this on the menu of several cafes off late. I am not sure how many of you have explored this as well as other food coming from the region of Bihar.
Our recent collective memory of Bihar is predominantly identified by politics, aka Laloo Prasad and Nitish Kumar. Prior to that the colonial or post colonial memory revolves around working class hailing from this region. But if we trace the real history of Bihar it dates back to Magadh Kingdom. Kautilya's Arthashastra and Nalanda University. I emphasise on the history to challenge the popular notion revolving around Bihari food, which claims, that the working class nutrition demands heavy but cheap protien and carbs. The culinary history of Litti has no written documentation, But the process and skill set required reflects the evolved culinary culture of the cuisine.
Litti are these small flour (atta) balls filled with a mixture of bengal gram flour (sattu), flavoured with nigella seeds, green chillies, garlic, salt, ajwain and pickle oil. These balls are then toasted over charcoal fire. Once cooked they are dipped in pure desi ghee (clarified butter) and slightly cracked so the ghee seeps in the filling. It is served with Chokha ( mash of roasted potatoes, tomatoes, brinjals flavoured with fresh mustard oil) and green chutney made with cilantro and mint leaves along with tamarind and black salt. Litti soaked in ghee and the Chokha flavoured with mustard oil ( which has a sharp heat like the wasabi ) makes it an amazing combination. If you are a vegan you can completely do without the ghee. It still works.
This particular place is in kolkata by the river Ganges. Near the main crematorium of Ahiritola Ghat, next to the Bhootnath Temple you will find this quaint place. Evenings can get very busy, but definitely worth a visit :)