Descend a flight of stairs on the Atta Market side of Sector 18 Metro Station and you land amidst pushcarts huddled up selling snacks. From Papdi Chaat to Chow Mein to Gol Gappas and anything your taste bud might want to savour.
What catches the attention of even the most causal of passersby are the golf ball-sized dough being baked on a mesh of wire over a sigdi. Litti Chokha, an in-between meal from Bihar and eastern UP’s heartland, is making way into Delhi’s belly.
One of the carts is run by Sonu who dishes out several of these with ease. People line up to have their fill of litti chokhas. When Sonu came to the NCR from Balia district in eastern UP almost three years ago to eke out a living, he was unable to figure out how to stay afloat. That’s when the idea to offer an exotic snack that would delight the palate of the people here struck him.
This snack is finding a place on the many a restaurant’s menu in Bihar, Jharkhand and Varanasi. In a refined version, it has already made it on the menu of the The Grub Fest, India’s biggest food festival, at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi.
The rustic tang of the grub is what makes it different from others. Litti is made from sattu, a flour procured from grinding gram. A dough is prepared and out of it are made small balls with the stuffing of sattu kneaded in pickled oil, spiked with diced onions, moistened with lemon juice and sprinkled with finely chopped mint leaves!
Litti is generally served with Chokha, an accompaniment which complements and balances its taste. The Chokha is either made of mashed potatoes or brinjal made in mustard oil, with coarsely chopped onions and garnished with mint leaves.
Most places in East Delhi have pushcarts selling Litti Chokha. You can spot it on the streets in Mayur Vihar Phase I, Laxmi Nagar, and many places in Noida and Indirapuram. If you happen to stay in South Delhi, you can drop in at Dilli Haat where you can savour the fare at the local state food stall.
Also at: Mr Littiwala
SRC 15, Shipra Riveria Bazar, Gate 8, Indirapuram, Ghaziabad
The Masala Trail
52, Janpath, New Delhi
The Potbelly Rooftop Cafe
116-C, 4th Floor, Shahpur Jat, New Delhi
Contributed By: Dilip A Bihari babu in the heart of Delhi