Monthly Archives: December 2011

Methi Dal Pitha

Dal Pitha is also called Dal ka Dulha (  translated literally- Bridegroom of Dal ) in some areas of Bihar. As the name suggests,  it is Pitha cooked in Dal. It is very simple to cook, easy on the stomach  and wholesome. It requires minimum spices and has practically no fat content of any kind except that used for   baghar ( Tadka ) which also can be avoided.

Ingredients

Arahar dal and Methi leaves

Other Ingredients

Arahar dal   
Methi leaves
Red Chilies
Turmeric powder
Jeera
Hing
Salt
Ghee

Preparation

  1. Knead atta to medium consistency.
  2. Make atta balls as for roti.
  3. Roll the balls like roti about 2  inches in diameter.
  4. Using your fingers lift the outer circumference of the roti on four sides.
  5. Bring the edges to the centre and press to seal the edges in the centre so that four loops are formed.
  6. These are the Pithas.

The uncooked Pithas will look like the ones shown below.

Uncooked Pithas

Cooking

  1. Put water and arahar dal in a pressure cooker without lid and put it on fire.
  2. Add turmeric powder and salt.
  3. Heat till the water starts boiling.
  4. Add the Pithas carefully so that they do not stick together.
  5. Add chopped Methi leaves
  6. Close the lid and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or till the dal is done.
  7. Remove from fire and pour in a serving bowl.
  8. Heat some ghee in a ladle.
  9. When the ghee becomes hot,  prepare the Baghar by putting  jeera , hing and red chili pieces into it and frying till they start to crackle.
  10. Put the Baghar on the Dal Pitha.

Ready Pithas are shown below.                                        

Ready Pithas

Serve hot. This is a full meal by itself. Serve with bhartas, dhania chutney and pickles.

Variation

Dal Pitha can be prepared with Bathua leaves and Palak leaves as well or even without any leaves.  If it is prepared without leaves it may be garnished with chopped dhania leaves.

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Matar ki Litti

 
This is my  variation of the mother dish i.e. Sattu ki Litti. So in order to avoid repetition, I am describing only the ingredients and the filling. Rest of the process remains the same as that of Sattu ki Litti. Please read this along with the process for Sattu ki Litti.

Do  try Matar ki Litti. You will not be disappointed.

Ingredients

Atta

Atta
Green Peas
Gren chilies
Garlic 8 t0 10 cloves
Ginger 1 inch
Black Pepper powder 1/4 tea spoon
 Cloves 5 t0 6
Black Cardamom  3
Jeera Cinnamon 2 t0 3 medium size
Coriander whole
Ghee or butter
Salt.

 Preparing the filling


  1. Put a kadai on medium fire and pour 1 tea spoon of oil.
  2. Put jeera, black pepper, cinnamon,  black cardamom, cloves,  green chilies, garlic and  ginger and sauté.
  3. Add matar and salt.
  4. Cover the kadai and cook till matar is done and water  dries  up.
  5. Remove from fire and allow it to cool to room temperature.
  6. Grind  coarsely in a grinder.
  7. Roast the coriander in a frying pan.
  8. Cool and grind coarsely.
  9. Mix roasted coriander in the matar.
  10. The mixture is ready for filling.
  11. Make atta balls and give them the shape of a cup.
 The mixture is ready for filling.

Filling

Matar being fried

Make atta balls and give them the shape of a cup.

Depending on size of the cup, fill one or two  tea spoon of  the above mixture into the cups as shown below.

                                 

                                  Filled Matar ki Litti

The Litti is now ready for cooking.   

Litti without ghee

Litti and Tori ka Chokha

Cook   like Sattu ki Litti and serve with different kinds of bhartas. The photo above shows the Llitti with Tori ka Bhartha. I will post the recipe for Tori ka Bhatha shortly.

Sattu ki Litti

Litti is roasted stuffed balls of atta. Sattu ki litti is litti stuffed with sattu. It is the classic and most common form of Litti. However, I will post recipes for  other litti fillings also such as Matar ki litti, kime ki litti etc.

For the uninitiated – sattu is the powder of black chana ( gram ). It is available in most of the   grocery shops in North India. Otherwise you can make it at home. Buy some Chane ka Bhuja ( i.e. roasted chana ) and grind it finely to get Sattu.I hope Bhuja is available in your market.

Now let us proceed with the Litti.

Ingredients

                

     

   

  1. Atta three cups
  2. Sattu one cup
  3. Two  onions
  4. Garlic 5  cloves
  5. Ginger 1 inch
  6. Green chilies
  7. Red Chili pickle
  8. Lime juice 1 tea spoon
  9. Kalaunji
  10. Ajawain
  11. Mustard oil 1 tea spoon
  12. Salt                              

 Preparing the filling

  1. Take one cup of Chane ka sattu in a bowl
  2.  Add chopped onion, garlic,ginger, green chilies, kalaunji, ajawain,  red chili pickle, one tea spoon of lime juice, one tea spoon of mustard oil and salt.
  3. Add two to three spoons of water to just moisten the sattu and rub the mixture well with your palm to give consistent mixed sattu powder.

The filling is now ready for use.

Making the Littis

  1. Knead atta  about twice harder than for rotis.
  2. Make atta balls about twice the size for rotis and give it the shape of a cup with your fingers. The thickness of the walls of the cup should be about one and half times that of a roti.
  3. Put one or two spoons of sattu mixture into the atta cup depending upon the size of the cup.
  4. Seal the mouth firmly with your fingers.Traditionally the litti is of round shape. But it is more convenient if it is flattened slightly with your palms. It looks better also.

See accompanying photograph.The littis are now ready for cooking,

Cooking the Littis

The traditional method of cooking littis is roasting directly on cow dung fire or charcoal fire. But this is not  practicable in modern day living conditions. Hence other methods must be followed. I will explain three methods –  cooking on gas tandoor, cooking in electric oven and frying.

 Cooking in gas tandoor

Best results are, of course obtained when the littis are roasted in cow dung fire. Next best results are obtained by roasting them in gas tandoor.

  1. Place the tandoor on medium fire and pre-heat it for a few minutes.
  2. Place the liitis on the wire mesh provided along with the tandoor.
  3. Cover the tandoor and cook on medium fire.
  4. Turn the littis at suitable intervals to ensure even cooking.
  5. Cook till some black spots appear and at least some of the littis show cracks.

High flame will burn the outer layer of the littis while leaving the inner layers uncooked. When properly cooked the litti should be crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.

Cooking in electric oven

No doubt roasting in electric oven is much less messy.

  1. Pre-heat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius for about five minutes.
  2. Place the littis on the wire mesh provided withthe oven.
  3. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes.
  4. Do not wait for black spots to appear. It may make the littis hard.
  5. When the cracks appear, the liitis are cooked.

Frying

Frying is another method. But the results are not as satisfying.

  1. The littis should first be boiled.
  2. Take out the littis from the water and leave them for about fifteen minutes or so to allow the water to dry.
  3. Fry till brown.

Even the boiled liittis served hot with chutneys etc. tase nice.

Serving Littis

Littis should be eaten hot. If the littis are roasted in a gas tandoor or an electric oven, they should be dipped in ghee immediately after roasting. Littis should be served along with one  or more of its accompaniments like Chokhas ( i.e. Bhartas ), curd, chutney and pickles. Baigan chokha or baigan mixed with tomatoes goes best with littis.

Enjoy your litti.

Littis

Litti is a main course item of the meal. It is perhaps the most well known Bihari food,  at least outside the Bihari circle.  But a myth  must be dispelled. Although hugely popular in Bihar, it would be erroneous to get the impression that it is as staple an item in Bihari kitchen as idli-dosa in south India or  Chhole-Bhature in Punjab and Delhi. However, it is a very tasty and wholesome food.

It is generally believed  in Bihar that Litti   originated as staple food of the bullock cart drivers who had to stay away from their homes for long periods transporting goods over long distances in the northern parts of Bihar. It was their most popular food because it did not require many ingredients (only atta, sattu, salt and pickles ) or culinary skill.  It  was almost invariably  cooked outdoors on cow dung cakes easily available everywhere.  At the same time it was very filling and wholesome.

It gradually found its way into more affluent kitchens. Of late it has undergone substantial transformation and crept into large parties  and even dinners with five star culture. It is  not unusual to find Litti-Chokha stalls in many wedding dinners.

Litti is usually eaten with accompaniments like Chokhas ( i.e. Bhartas ), curd and pickles or chutneys of various types.  I will post the recipes for Bhartas and chutneys also one by one.

I have used the plural of Litti as title for this post.  There is only one variety of Litti which is  commonly seen , that is the one with sattu stuffing. I am going to tell you about four variety of Littis to enrich your dinner table   –   Sattu ki Litti, Matar ki Litti, Aloo ki Litti and Keeme ki Litti. 

         In the recipes which I am going to describe,  the quantities of the condiments are only approximate as they vary widely  depending on individual tastes. After all cooking is not a science like Physics. It is an  art. And artists must have their liberties of expression.  In Indian cooking eyes and fingers are better judge of quantities required than weights and measures.