Litti Chokha for Holi

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As my folks are getting ready for Holi tomorrow back in India, I’m all with memories of Holi, listening to Holi songs from Hindi movies on Youtube. During my college days, Holi started a day early for me. Playing Holi after college in the college grounds, and then walking back home (we were banned to board any bus/taxi after all those colors in our clothes). And, then there was the D-day – playing with colors started right after breakfast and continued almost till late evening. There was gulal and of course the “badure rang”, which stayed on the skin for at least the next 7 days.

Litti Chokha

After I shifted to the United States, Holi has been constricted to just a couple of hours on a weekend before or after the actual Holi date. Here, its just the colored powders. This time we went to celebrate Holi at UT Austin organized by HSA. It was a great few hours spent, with an awesome DJ playing all Hindi songs (it was an welcome break from the English songs playing DJs in the pubs). The air was filled with colors, and it felt great playing with thousands of people, of whom I only new a few.

Holi

(Some of the Holi photos are taken from Gagan Singh’s Holi album. Thanks, Gagan)

Festivals and food go hand in hand. Holi is the time for some awesome snacks and sweets. As the Holi in Bihar is an epic event, I thought of preparing some Bihari snacks for Holi. Litti is a very common Bihari recipe. It is made with sattu, and is very similar to the Rajasthai bati of dal-bati churma.

Litti Chokha

Snack, Indian, Litti chokha, Bihari cuisine, Holi recipe
Cooks in    Serves 4
Ingredients
  • For the cover -
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • For the filling -
  • ½ cup sattu
  • 1 tablespoon carom seeds
  • 1 teaspoon aamchur powder
  • 1 teaspoon nigella
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 2-3 green chilies, coarsely chopped
  • 1-2 sprigs coriander, coarsely chopped
  • Salt to taste
Directions
  • Mix the flour and salt together and pour about half cup of warm water to make a dough, add extras water if needed. Make 10-12 one inch size balls from the dough. Keep aside
  • Mix all the ingredients together for the filling, add about 2 tablespoon water and mix together to form a crumbly sand like texture. Add extra water if needed
  • Roll out each flour flour, put in about 1 tablespoon of the filling and then wrap the filling with the dough. Roll the dough under your palm to form the balls. Repeat till all the dough balls are filled with the sattu filling.
  • Preheat the oven to 450F. Place the sattu filled balls on a oven safe tray and cover it with aluminum foil. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or till the balls harden and have a charred look.
  • Serve hot with a dollop of ghee

Litti tastes best with alu chokha and baingan bharta.

Hot Tips – Do not pour excess water to the filling, else it will become like a paste and wont taste good. Altenatively, the litti can be roasted in a barbecue grill or on a stove top using a tawa.

Litti Chokha

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Posto Paneer Kofta

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Spring is here and so are the thousand colors of nature. Every nook and corner of the street is filled with red, yellow, orange blossoms. Though with the heat rising in Kolkata, there’s not much feel good feeling about this time of the year but still there is a grand festival coming up in just a few days from now. Yes you have guessed it right, its HOLI time. Holi, the National Festival of India is celebrated throughout the states of the sub-continent and West Bengal too is not far behind. The main attraction of holi, or doljatra (as we Bengalis like to say) is the Boshonto Utsav or Spring Festival in Shantiniketan. Thousands gather at the Viswa Bharati grounds on the day from all over the world.

Thinking of colors, the first thing that comes to mind is red, green, blue and yellow.  Remember those days in school, the houses had these names and everybody used to fight with the other houses – Yellow, yellow dirty fellow or the first love letter you wrote – roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet and so are you. Do you have any other such poems or phrases, you used to throw, then share it with us!

Paneer balls prepared in poppy and sesame gravy

Thinking about a colourful preparation I scratched my head but nothing authentically Bengali came to mind. So, thought of mix matching the Western with the Eastern. And, there it is the result – paneer kofta in thick poppy paste with slices of red and yellow bell pepper to spice and color it up.

Ingredients:

For the kofta:

  • 400gms of paneer or cottage cheese, mashed finely
  • 4 teaspoon gram flour or besan
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 2 teaspoon chilli powder
  • ½ teaspoon sugar, preferably brown sugar
  • Sunflower oil for frying
  • Salt to taste

For the gravy:

  • 4 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sesame, ground to a fine paste with the poppy
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 red and yellow bell pepper diced coarsely
  • 2 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • Few black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon clarified butter or ghee (optional)
  • Salt to taste

Preparation:

  • Mix all the ingredients required for kofta excepting the oil and make a soft dough
  • Prepare small balls each having a rough diameter of 3cm
  • Heat oil in a wok and deep fry these balls in batches, keep aside
  • Heat a wok with 2 tablespoons of fresh oil, throw in the cumin seeds, as they start sputtering add the bell pepper and toss for a minute or two
  • Add the turmeric powder and season with salt and black pepper
  • Pour in the poppy and sesame paste and cook till the oil separates
  • Cover the gravy with 2 cups of water and stir well, cook covered for 10-12mins, check the seasoning
  • Put in the fried koftas as the gravy starts boiling, cook for 2-3min more and take out of flame
  • Serve hot with chapattis or rice

Hot Tips – Koftas tend to dry up the gravy, so if you are a gravy person try putting in more water or else, take out the koftas after cooking and serve the gravy and koftas separately.

Further Reading – Bengali Style Matar Paneer, Palak Paneer with a Twist

 

 

 

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