Chila from Chhattisgarh
Chhattisgarh is an East Indian state carved out of Madhya Pradesh. This state borders Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. Cuisine of the state is influenced by its neighboring states. Chhattisgarh has a fertile land and many crops are grown abundantly. It is called rice bowl of central India. Chhattisgarhi people like both spicy food and also sweets.
The food of the state can be categorized into tribal and non-tribal food. Rice, wheat, jowar, lentils and variety of fresh vegetables are part of everyday food. Rice and rice flour are used extensively in both tribal & non-tribal cuisines. Some of the food from this state are chila, khichidi, khadi, rice varieties, rakhi badi, snacks such as rice pakoras & fara, and sweets such as kusli, balooshahi or badhusahi, petha, moong dal halwa and bafauri.
Petha and rakhia badi are popular tribal food of Chhattisgarh. Petha is a sweet dish and rakhia badi is curry which is prepared with a fruit called rakhia. Rakhia badi is prepared with the paste of soaked and ground black gram seasoned with green chilies, ginger, coriander and cut rakhia. Small balls are made with this mixture and stored for later use or used right way in the curry. These small balls are called badi From what I read about rakhia badi, the balls should be sun dried before it can be used in the cooking, although it is not explicitly mentioned in any of the sources I read.
Another delicacy among the tribes which was made popular by Gordon Ramsay is Red Ant Chutney. He traveled all the way into the forests of Bastar to taste this chutney. It is prepared by grinding red chilies, ginger, salt, red ants and red ant eggs. From what I heard, the eggs are sour and it gives the chutney the tangy taste. hmmm, and it is apparently a must try food from the state of Chhattisgarh! No comments on that.
Bafauri, from what I read online is a sweet prepared with chana dal. I wanted to try this recipe but unfortunately could not find any recipes online. I even asked a friend from Bhopal if she knew how it is prepared. Since Chhattisgarh was once part of Madhya Pradesh, I thought she might have an idea. She said she never heard about it and it is possible it is known by some other name in Madhya Pradesh.
Coming to today’s recipe, I chose a very easy & simple recipe, chila. To put it in simple words, chila is a rice flour dosa or a crepe or a very thin pancake. When I read the recipe, I realized it is nothing other than the biyyam (rice) attlu we make in Andhra Pradesh. The only difference is we season the attu batter with some green chilies and/or chili powder, crushed cumin garlic and onions. The only seasoning in the chila recipe I followed is salt. Nevertheless, it tasted very good. Chila is served with chutney and I served mine with peanut powder.
Source: Madhu Kiran Soni
Total Time: 20 – 25 minutes
Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 – 20 minutes
Yields: 5 – 6 depending on the size. As you see, my chilas are very small and might probably serve 1 or 2 people
- 1 cups Rice Flour
- 1 – 1 ½ cups Water
- Pinch of Salt
- Oil for cooking the chila
- Mix all the ingredients except oil and make a thin batter.
- Heat a tawa or a non-stick pan. Apply some oil to the pan using a piece of paper towel.
- Take batter in a big ladle and pour it on the pan in a shape of a circle or a dosa. The pan has to be hot to get the pores on the chila. Unlike dosa, these is no spreading for chilas.
- Pour a few drops of oil around the chila; cover the pan with a lid and cook for 1 -2 minutes on medium flame.
- Flip over the chila and cook for another ½ minute and serve.
- To make the next chila, again smear some oil on the pan, spread it evenly with a piece of paper towel and then pour the batter on the pan. Follow steps 4 & 5.
- Serve the chilas hot with some chutney or podi.
- A variation to this chila is adding some chopped green chilies, chopped onions, crushed cumin garlic and coriander powder to the chila batter. Chili powder can also be added. This is how my mom makes biyyapatlu.
- Another twist to above mentioned variation is adding a tempering. If I remember correct, this is how my mother-in-law made. In little oil, add red chilies, mustard and cumin seeds. Then pour this into the chila batter.