Saturday, November 27, 2010

Litti Chokha at Dalhousie & subsequent food :-)

Last Saturday DH and 2 friends of ours went out for some street food. :-) I admit, I'm stealing the captions for the photos from DH :P (sorry! NOT!) since he has a much better way of explaining them than I do.

The Coal India Bhavan can be seen in this picture. Owned by Govt of India, Coal India Limited is the world's largest coal mining company. It recently launched its US $3.5 billion IPO which was over-subscribed at $48.7 billion.

Standing across the street from Gillander House at the Clive Row and N.S. Bose Road crossing - our first destination.

Built for Gillanders, Arbuthnot & Co (established in 1819 as a managing agency), its is now a company in the G.D. Kothari group. The architect was Harry Stuart Goodhart-Rendel (courtesy

Vidya Prasad (alias Sadhu Baba) prepares Litti Chokha under a banyan tree opposite Gillander House
Readying a plate of litti chokha
 A signature food from Bihar, it is eaten usually as a snack, but can also be a meal onto itself.

Baked gram flour (chhatoo) is mixed with chopped onions, green chillies, lemon juice, daniya (cilantro) leaves and ajwain (thyme). This is placed inside a thick dough of atta (wheat flour) + besan (gram flour) and usually baked on a BBQ as in this case (it can also be deep fried).

In this case, our littis were served with liberal helpings of ghee (clarified butter), mint chutni and aloo (potato) chokha (spicy mashed pototoes).

Waiting for our turn at the littis

Littis being prepared. I noted an "innovation" - the barbecuing grills were simply cooling grills from old refrigerators. Interesting!
Vidya Prasad's young helper uses the manually cranked air compressor-cum-blower to turn up the temperature of the fire

 At the end of our meal, he offered us each a piece of "thekua" saying "Chaat puja ke prasad lijiye" or "Have a bit of Chaat puja's ( prasad (sanctified food that has been offered to God)"

Thekua is a popular dry sweet eaten in Bihar, Jharkhand and eastern Uttar Pradesh

Finally it is ready to eat - the litti off the BBQ, crushed and dipped into ghee (clarified butter) and aloo chokha with pudina (mint) chatni, served up in a bio-degradable saal leaf plate. I'm getting ready to take my tentative first bite of litti chokha

Hailing from Gopalgunj district in north Bihar, Vidya Prasad has been preparing and selling litti chokha under this banyan tree for the last 40 years.

This small shrine stands underneath this banyan tree. As Vidya Prasad pointed out, the little oil-fired earthenware lamp (the glimmer inside the shrine), apparently is never let to go out. Burning 24 x 7, it has been going on for 35 of the 40 something years that he has been there making and selling littis.
Dangling, long aerial roots of the banyan tree under whose shade the small litti shop stands.
It was yummy! After this we went for beef, which I think made me sick!
The teenaged waiter who may not have been more than 17, seated us in the "Family Section" given that we had 2 ladies in the group. And it prominently said "Ring the bell to call waiter".
 Our parathas arrived, along with this tiny, deep fried little cricket (ucchingrey in bangla). Hmmm... we know that insects might end up being important protein sources ( but today we weren't ready to eat it yet ;-)
A plate of beef bhuna. It wasnt anywhere near the best I have had so far though. (DH's comments remember...)
A friend of ours decided to try the gravies first before hitting the meat.
Our friend digs in into his paratha.
DH's plate with a crisp, flaky laccha paratha, with the yummy dahi gosht and a green chili.
As usual, I make the wrong choice of the meat. Opts for the bhuna and finds it too tough to handle
the table at the end of the meal


  1. I sure do miss Indian street food. Love all the pictures!

  2. Gosh that stuff looks good to eat! Lucky you!

  3. Lots of great looking dishes here! I can't keep up with all the dishes I want to make...there's always so many good ones :)
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