I was travelling with a large group of pilgrims through the heartland of Bihar tracing the footsteps of Lord Buddha. The bus rolled from one place to another taking us through dusty roads, busy hamlets and rustic locales most of which have a very illustrious and rich heritage. Often, I would notice people savouring roadside delicacies and immediately feel my tongue twitch, longing for that authentic rustic taste. During the journey from Bodhgaya, a co-pilgrim very kindly offered to host us for lunch in his ancestral village Jagdishpur near Vaishali. I was delighted to say the least. After days of predictable hotel food, I looked forward to an authentic and warm home cooked meal.
We were greeted with love and warmth and offered the most delicious “Litti Chokha” (check the recipe link at the end) the traditional taste of Bihar as starters. Litti is a baked stuffed flour ball and Chokha is the accompanying side dish made from mashed potatoes amd or brinjals. The dish was prepared by the ladies of the house with much care and affection. The ghee soaked Litti’s were warm and soft, just baked right in the coal powered country oven (known as Chulha). One small bite into the litti, the roasted flour cover and the sattu (gram flour) based stuffing melted in the mouth leaving me longing for more. Next, I generously served myself the mixed Chokha made of Potatoes and Brinjals laced with tomato and smoked mustard oil. The Litti tasted even better with the spicy Chokha and pieces of raw onion, adding a distinct character to the staple meal. I did bite into a fresh green chilly to make it more authentic and for a brief while my tongue was on fire. A few gulps of water, spoonfuls of homemade yoghurt and bites of ghee soaked Litti came to my rescue. I have had Litti Chokha in the fancy mall outlets and restaurants in Bangalore but this was different, authentic and straight from where it belongs. Maybe the pure unadulterated mustard oil straight from the mill and the vegetables from the fields made all the difference. If this was the starter, imagine the taste of the 4 course lunch that followed !!
Feel like trying your hand at it….check the link:http://becauseanyonecancook.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/litti-chokha-a-traditional-main-course-platter-from-state-of-bihar-india