Okay, who is your favorite Bihari? And please no mention of Laloo Prasad here. He doesn’t qualify. He is a politician.
My favorite thing about Bihar are two things. Sattu ka Paratha and Langra Aam, those aromatic, pulpy delights, an all-time summer staple in Patna. Actually, make it two and a half. I also love the little Anarsas, those little treats coated with toasted sesame seeds (or was it poppy seeds?), we got straight from the woks in Sabzibagh, in the heart of Patna.
Its all hazy for me now. But not the Sattu ka Paratha, which is kind of hardcoded in me, along with this Tomato Chutney with onion, garlic, green chilies and fragrant cilantro. Something my friends would get in their lunch boxes for me to share from them.
For those who do not know, I grew up in Patna and that’s the college I went to!
Simplicity throbbed in our hearts, while the rest of the world stood by and made fun of Biharis. When I stepped out in the big, bad world (read Delhi), people were surprised I could speak in English. Or the fact that I could eat with a fork…
…and happily give up that fork and knife to enjoy the earthiness of the Sattu ka Paratha with some Tamatar ka Chutney. Pretty predictable for a Patna lass I guess.
Ingredients for Sattu ka Paratha are:
For the stuffing:
1 heaped cup sattu
1 medium size onion very finely chopped
5-6 fat cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 small piece of ginger finely chopped
Handful of coriander leaves finely chopped
7-8 green chilies finely chopped
Juice of half lemon
1 tablespoon mustard oil
1 teaspoon nigella seeds
1 teaspoon carom seeds
Pinch of crushed cumin seeds
Add all the ingredients for the filling in the sattu and mix well. Add drizzles of water to make a lumpy filling. Just to zing it up a notch, I also add the oil and spice from my mango pickle. The filling should make little balls in your palm without disintegrating.
1 cup wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon + enough Canola oil for toasting the parathas
Knead a dough mixing all the ingredients and a teaspoon of oil, adding little water as you mix. Make golf ball-size portions of the dough and start rolling small discs to fill the sattu stuffing.
Stop midway and add a little dollop of sattu stuffing to the rolled out dough. Fold neatly, forming a round ball. Start rolling this ball again till you make a bigger flatbread. Dust with dry flour to roll evenly and without sticking to the counter surface.
Heat a pan and roast both the sides of the paratha, browning the sides a bit. Drizzle oil and toast the parathas till they get golden brown and crispy.
In my family, we usually had the Sattu ka Paratha with some Baigan ka Bharta and Coriander Chutney, and sometimes with Kosha Mangsho.
But we had a neighbor who introduced us to this Tamatar ka Chutney (tomato chutney), which is pretty simple and can be made with the leftover chopped onions, garlic, green chilies and coriander from the sattu stuffing for the parathas.
For the Tamatar ka Chutney you will need:
2 large hothouse tomatoes, quite ripe I must add
1 small red onion finely chopped
3-4 fat cloves of garlic, finely chopped
4-5 green chilies, finely chopped
Few sprigs of coriander finely chopped
Few drops of mustard oil
Half teaspoon sugar
Quarter teaspoon red chili powder
Grill the tomatoes on the stove top or on the direct flame of the gas. I used the roti mesh I got from India. It should take about 7-8 minutes on each side.
Peel off the skin of the tomatoes after they has cooled down a bit. Mash them with the back of a fork. You can churn it in a blender if you must but try not to. The idea is to retain the rustic-ness of the chutney.