Authentic Bihari Cuisine @ Littii Express, Kolkata ☺

Situated on Ballygunge Circular Road, beside Navdurga Mandir and opposite Azad Hind Dhaba, Littii Express is a 40 seater restaurant with see through kitchen, well equipped with LED TV, Air Conditioner, Wi-Fi, loo facility and determined “to take Kolkata by storm with the introduction of delicacies the city has not tasted before in their full glory.”

The term ‘delicacies’ here refers to the healthy and tasty vegetarian dishes of the Bihari Cuisine, a protein rich and wonderful cuisine, presence of whose outlet was a long pending yearning of many Kolkatans, who till now satiated there thirst of ‘Bihar Ka Swad’ with the availability of a couple of street food items like – Sattu-Pani, Litti-Chokha and the likes.

Littii Express is an almost square shaped eatery with a simple cafe like feel. The interior is mostly hued in shades of brown. The tables and chairs are made of rectangular plyboards with metallic pipe frame structures.

The inside of the main gate wall has a black and white installation containing the names of popular railway stations of Bihar, printed in a linear fashion with rail lines. The opposite wall comprises of the big see through kitchen window and an antique big round wall clock. The side walls are painted with Madhubani paintings and adorned with multicolor boards printed with quirky Bihari words and their meanings.

Few weeks back, I was invited by the management to attend a Bloggers Meet.

Throughout the food tasting session, a host of Beverages were presented to us for tasting. They were –

– Loopy Fresh Lemonade (Rs. 75/-)
– Iced Tea (Rs. 75/-)
– Masala Tea (Rs. 75/-)
– Aam Panna (Rs. 65/-)
– Bel Sharbat (Rs. 65/-)
– Sattu Pani (Rs. 65/-)
– Sattu Sharbat (Rs. 65/-)

During summertime, Sattu centric beverages are staples of Bihari Cuisine, as they are thirst quenching, filling, healthy and nutritious. Being quite a fan of Sattu Pani and Sharbat, I was too happy to find them served in a hygienic manner in a proper eatery. They tasted good.

The other two summer coolants i.e. Aam Panna and Bel Sharbat also tasted nice. While the former is easily available in assorted restaurants, the latter is yet to make it’s full fledged entry into the menus of the city restaurants. It was good to see them both here.

The Lemonade and the hot and cold Teas were expectantly nice.

At Littii Express, the Bihari dishes are bestowed with funny, as well as, region centric Bihari names.

The dishes presented to us for tasting were –

– Chhichhora Pakoda Tokri (Rs. 230/-): An uneven long black ceramic tray came laden with a linear stack of assorted Pakodas, garnished with some coriander leaves and a couple of Chaunki Hui Hari Mirch, sandwiched with small portions of decorative Salad at both the ends.

The Pakodas were made of – Pyaz, Sabudana, Dal Kachdi and Gobi. All the Pakodas were crisp, uniformly fried, had distinct taste. They tasted excellent. Present alongside was one portion of Darbhanga Ka Dahi Kebab which tasted soft, velvety and good.

Coupled with a Masala Tea, this dish is an apt order for the upcoming Monsoons.

– Bhagalpuri Ghoogni (Rs. 135/-): A long black ceramic curvy tray came laden with in-house roasted Chirwa, Kale Chane Ki Sabji, a slice of Lime, a couple of Chaunki Hui Hari Mirch (sauted green chillies) and some decorative Salad.

The dish was tasty, spicy and nutritious.

While Ghoogni in Bengal refers to Peeli Matar Chaat, it refers to Kale Chane Ki Sabji in Bihar, which comes paired with roasted Flattened Rice. It is popular snack of Bihar.

– Begusarai Ka Bagia Basket (Plain Rs. 230/- and Masala Rs. 250/-): A bamboo steamer lined with banana leaf came laden with both steamed and steamed & sautéed versions of Bagias, which were like long and big marquise shaped rice flour based Idlis, stuffed with spiced chana dal paste and laterally divided into three pieces before serving.

Earlier, I have had a somewhat similar dish in Benarasi Cuisine, known as ‘Phara’. But I liked the Bihari version, as it was relatively more moist, soft and filling.

– Condiments: A long black ceramic curvy tray came laden with 4 square shaped bowls containing the following Dips or Chutneys – Dhaniya Pudina (coriander mint), Jimikand (Elephant Foot) Tamatar (tomato) and Lahsun (garlic).

Needless to say, all the 4 Dips tasted excellent. Jimikand Dip was new to me. It tasted good and interesting.

– Littii Chokha (Without Ghee Rs. 175/-, With Ghee Rs. 200/-): 2 pieces of well roasted and sattu stuffed wholewheat balls aka Littiis were served with Baigan Bharta, Tamatar Bharta and Aloo Chokha with a Chaunki Hui Mirch, a slice of Lime and onion ringlets.

The crisp Littiis were smeared with some ghee on top. All the four elements of the dish had that unmistakable lovely whiff of mustard oil, which is a speciality of Bihari Cuisine.

The dish was quite well made, nutritious and filling. It tasted good.

It’s noteworthy that the same Litiis are known as Baati in Rajasthani Cuisine, wherein they are served with Dal and Choorma (a wheat flour based dessert).

– Dapithi Thali (Rs. 275/-): A black ceramic dinner plate came laden with 2 Sabudana Rotis aka dumplings, a big black bowl of whole masoor Dal, Papad, a small bowl of Raita and a small bowl of the usual combo of onion, sautéed green chilli and lime.

The Sabudana Rotis were like flattened Sabudana Vadas. They were well fried and crisp. The Dal was sans any dominant spice and infused with small pieces of semi cooked Rotis, something very similar to the Gujrati dish called Dal Dhokli.

It was a new combo for me. Though the Vadas and Dal on their own tasted nice, but I may take some time in developing the taste to consume them as a combo and that too with curd.

– Thali Of Assorted Main Course Items: The Thali comprised of a Sabji Platter, a Paratha Platter and one Dessert –

* Sabji Platter –

* Aloo Bhujia (Rs. 130/-): It was like French Fries sautéed in Indian spices.

* Helicopter Pulao (Rs. 250/-): Bearing an interesting name, it was actually a nice spicy Pulao, infused with enough brinjal and onion pieces.

* Dum Maaro Dum (Rs. 155/-): It was the authentic Bhojpuri Aloo Dum, a staple and comfort food of Bihari Cuisine.

* Aloo Chana Dal Sabji (Rs. 145/-): It was soaked Chana Dal cooked in onion gravy with Aloo aka potato.

* Besan Sabji (Rs.240/-): It comprised of Besan sheets, which were slightly cooked on tava, then slow cooked in onion and tomato gravy and tempered with mustard seeds and curry patta.

All the Sabjis and Pulao tasted nice and authentic.

* Paratha Platter –

* Sattu, Dal, Aloo and Chawal Paratha (Rs. 65/- each): The first three types of Parathas were like home food to me. Chawal Ka Paratha was something new, but I delved into it like fish takes to water. It was something refreshingly different to be paired up with the Sabjis. I liked it best with Besan Sabji.

* Dessert –

* Oye Makhana Kheer (Rs. 135/-): It was foxnuts infused Milk Pudding, something that is common in our households during fasting. So, it was like a home food to me. It tasted nice.

It needs to be mentioned that the dishes served to us were intended for a comprehensive tasting. Thus, some of them were served in small tasting portions, as well as, some of them were serve as combos. Meaning to say that, the portion size and elements depicted in the pics of the dishes may slightly differ from the original servings.

All in all, it was a nice and elaborate tasting session, filled with rustic cooking elements and comfort food.

Pocket pinch for two: Rs. 600/-

Timing: 12 noon to 11:50 pm

Address: 62/7 Ballygunge Circular Road, Ballygunge, Kolkata – 700 029

Phone No.: 033 39105353



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s