The evolution of the cuisine of Bihar can be traced back to the rulers who ruled the land and the religions practised there. Buddhism brought with it the concept of non-violence to Bihar as a result of which a large portion of the population is vegetarian in Bihar. In the lands that are drained by the river Ganga that have fertile soil, rice and wheat are grown a plenty. Consequently, Bihar is among the few north Indian states where both rice and wheat are consumed in equal measure.
Another speciality of the region is that people of Bihar give a lot of importance to eating seasonal food; their specialities change from season to season. Food is predominantly cooked in mustard oil that lends it a distinct taste. Biharis believe in letting the taste of the seasonal ingredients shine through the food without overpowering them with spices. Here is a look at the food from the state of Bihar.
One of Bihar’s contributions to the country has been this powder called ‘Sattu’ which is packed with energy. Sattu is nothing but roasted gram powder that is used in a variety of preparations – from sherbet to parathas. Being high in energy, sattu is extensively used in breakfast preparations.
‘Litti’ is a popular breakfast that nothing but wheat flour dumplings stuffed with spiced sattu and roasted on a mild flame or coal fire. It has a smoky flavour and is best eaten with mashed potatoes or mashed brinjal which go into an accompaniment called the ‘chokhaa’. So if you are in Bihar, Litti-chokhaa is something that you must try for breakfast.
Both roti and rice preparations are equally relished in Bihar as a part of lunch and dinner. Accompaniments include preparations made of fresh vegetables and meat. As we already told you, Biharis eat food that is available in plenty seasonally. So during winters, they will gorge on peas and red carrots. Ghughuni is an eternal favourite made of fresh green peas that is served with pooris or roti both during breakfast and lunch.
During the summer, you would find curries made of raw mango and jackfruit being consumed. Their kadhi badi is another classic dish made of dried gram flour balls dipped in curd based gram flour gravy that is best enjoyed with rice.
When it comes to non-vegetarian food, it is not just mutton and chicken, but different fowls and birds indigenous to Bihar that are meant to be sampled. Try them for their unique taste and texture. While kebabs are popular, you should try the Bihari Kebab roll which is a kebab wrapped in a roti - fast food that is easy on the pocket and great on taste!
Bihar is a heaven for dessert lovers what with the sheer variety in the kind of sweet dishes that are churned out there. Many of the scrumptious desserts are unique to Bihar and best sampled when you visit the state. Topping the list is the Malpua – a fried circlet made from flour, sugar, milk and bananas laced with cardamom and deep fried in ghee – potent enough to transport you to a different world altogether.
Kheer Makhana is another local delicacy that you must try when you are in Bihar. It is made of makhana or fox nuts that are roasted and cooked in reduced milk and sweetened with sugar. While you must have sampled many kinds of kheer, this one will tantalise your taste buds with its unique flavour and textures.
Bihar is a state whose food is not yet popular all over the country – that means that when you are visiting the state, you can be sure to come across some amazingly tasty preparations that you have never come across before and that are a revelation when it comes to taste.
So, when are you planning to make that trip to Bihar?