Believe it or not, the most popular desi delicacy of Bihar and Jharkhand - ‘litti’ has lost its ‘desi’ flavour as it is being stuffed with sattu (gram dust) prepared from imported Bengal gram, popularly known as ‘lal chana’.
The reason – the price of Bengal gram (lal chana) has gone sky high as compared to the imported Bengal gram from Australia and some African countries.
The gram was imported by the Union government to control the soaring prices of pulses, including chana dal.
Bengal gram was available in the retail market at the rate of Rs 140 to Rs 150 per kilogram during the last quarter of 2016. This jacked up the sattu prices too, besides litti – a delicacy of people of Bihar and Jharkhand.
However, the price in retail has gone down to Rs 70 from Rs 80 per kilogram following the import of the Bengal gram, said wholesale dealers of pulse and lentil at Barwadda Agricultural Marketing yard (BAMY) in Dhanbad.
The imported variety of Bengal gram is mostly used for preparing sattu at mills, besides the roadside sattu and bhoonja sellers here.
One roadside sattu seller Shashi Mondal said: “Since the Australian lal chana is available at an affordable price, we are using this for making sattu as well as roasted chana.”
Bharat Singh, who owns a popular litti chokha joint on the Dhanbad court premises said the price of sattu has dropped since the imported variety of red gram came in.
Bharat, whose daily consumption of sattu is about 25 kilogram, said tastewise it’s not different from dehi (Indian) chana as sattu is being prepared in the same process.
Notwithstanding the difference between indigenous and imported variety of grams, the price of litti has come down with the use of imported variety. The price of plain litti that has gone up to Rs 8 per piece has come down to Rs 6 again. Similarly, the littis dipped in ghee which sold at Rs 14 per piece is selling at Rs 12 per piece now.
Vikas Kandhwey, a wholesale businessman of pulses and fruits at BAMY said the desi lal chana and pulses would be available in the market from April after the harvest.
A good harvest is expected due to good monsoon. Till then, enjoy litti and sattu drinks made from imported lal chana (Bengal gram).