Love Bihari Littis? Pair Them With These 8 Traditional Chokhas
Image Credit: Instagram

Bihari Chokha, or Bharta as some people like to call it, is a popular Bihari dish that has gained immense popularity because it is served on the side of sattu-stuffed Littis. But even beyond Littlis, people in Bihar and other East Indian states like Bengal, Odisha and Assam, like to eat it as a primary dish with some boiled rice and dal. On the other hand, some people consider it as an important part of everyday meals, and as one of the condiments that must be present in the meal to make it complete. 

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Mostly, the Bihari Chokha is made from boiled or roasted vegetables and is served on the side of ghee-soaked littis. Sometimes it is also made from meat and fish. The Chokha is very lightly seasoned with some subtle spices and fresh coriander leaves. There is also a subliminal hint of lemon juice. Most people are only acquainted with the Aloo Chokha or Baingan Chokha but in reality, there are multiple types of Chokha that one can find being prevalent in the state. 

Have look at some of the most popular types of Chokha in Bihar.

* Baigan Ka Bharta

This is one of the most common varieties of Chokha that is famous in Bihar. In Bihar, people like to roast the eggplant slowly on the flame. Then the flaky skin is removed and the pulp is mashed very smoothly. Now some mustard oil, sautéed garlic, ginger, salt, black pepper, and green chillies are mixed in the mashed eggplant. Some people like to cook it on the gas for some time whereas others like to just simply mix the ingredients without using any heat. It is then served with some fresh white rice.

* Arbi Bharta

Arbi is a root vegetable that is quite popular in many parts of India. The Arbi Bharta is made by boiling the root vegetable and then mashing it after it becomes extremely soft and edible. Then it is mixed with some mustard oil, green, chilli, salt, paper, coriander leaves, and some crunchy onions. All of this is mixed really well and then served with different meals. It has a very different flavour as Arbi is a root vegetable and has quite earthy notes.

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* Aloo Tamatar Chokha

As the name suggests, this Chokha is made by using some tomatoes along with potatoes. Both potatoes and tomatoes are roasted properly until they become soft. Then the mixture is crumbled properly with the help of hands until it becomes quite uniform. Now the quintessential cookie ingredients like mustard oil, lemon juice, coriander leaves and a bit of spice are added to give it a good taste. The tanginess in tomatoes adds a very good flavour to the starchy potatoes.

* Sooran Ka Chokha

Sooran Ka Chokha is another Chokha that is made from a root vegetable very popular in Bihar. Sooran is also called Jimikand. This chokha is prepared by roasting some Sooran and then mashing. The mixture is then combined with a handful of ingredients, including dry red chilies, onions, mustard seeds and mustard oil. The final step is to add some lemon juice and fresh coriander leaves. This Chokha tastes the best with the combination of some delicious Dal chawal.

* Chicken Bharta

This is a lesser-known bharta that not a lot of people might have heard about. It is a very flavourful and interesting Chokha that is made with the help of some shredded chicken that is first boiled and then roasted. It is then cooked in a mixture of mustard oil, fenugreek leaves, ginger, garlic paste, garam masala, and some coriander leaves. Salt as per taste can be added to the mixture of these ingredients. Adding some green chilli on the top is the perfect way to conclude the Chokha recipe.

* Alsi Ka Bharta

Many people might have heard of Alsi Ki Sharbat but Alsi Ka Bharta is not a very common name. This is a very rare dish in Bihar itself and is only cooked in certain parts of the state. Some flaxseeds are required to make this Bharta. The flaxseeds are roasted properly and then grinded to make a powdery mixture. The mixture is then mixed with some mustard oil, onions, green, chilli and salt. This Bharta has a very unique and different taste and might be unconventional for a lot of people.

* Parwal Bharta 

Parwal refers to pointed gourd and this Bharata is made after roasting the Parwal and then mashing it. Then the same conventional process of making a Bharta is repeated. The mashed mixture is combined with ingredients like coriander leaves, green chillies, salt, pepper, onions and some lemon juice. This dish also goes well with some fresh rice and one can easily skip on making some dal.

These are some common and popular types of Bharta/Chokha that are made in Bihar. All of these are made from pretty basic ingredients and are not at all unhealthy.