The Litti-Chokha Cart

High court road, Qaiserbagh

Near Civil Court, Qaiserbagh Bus Stand.

Shyam Babu’s uncle Jitendra started this business about 30 years back. Their clan, with roots in Ballia, operates about 20 outlets selling litti– or bati-chokha all across Lucknow. Shyam used to work as apprentice for his uncle in the early days, but has been independent for the past nearly 20 years. His uncle’s cart would be parked near the Annexe Bhavan. Shyam moved to the current location near the Civil Court, while his brother has set up his own cart near Burlingtob Crossing. The litti or bati is a ball of wholewheat dough stuffed with sattu (flour made with seven grains, predominantly horse gram, maize and five different millets) and spices. It is slow-cooked on a cowdung cake fire. Chokha is made by similarly roasting potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes; mashing them up with salt and mustard oil and garnishing with cilantro and green chilli peppers. No cooking vessels are required to make either litti or chokha—they come straight out of the fire and land into the plate. Shyam says that the bati-chokha is Ballia’s signature dish.