Exploring the Rich and Soulful Cuisine of Bihar

by Dr Himanshu Talwar

Located in Northern India, Bihar is known for its rich history and cultural diversity, which also extends to its culinary traditions. Bihar’s cuisine represents the diverse cultures that have influenced it over the centuries. The Mauryan, Gupta, Mughal, and British empires, each period has left its mark on the local cuisine, resulting in a rich and varied culinary tradition.

Rice and wheat are the staple grains of Bihar used in many traditional dishes. Rice is typically consumed with dal (lentil curry) or mixed with vegetables to make khichdi, a comforting one-pot meal. Wheat is used to make various breads like roti, paratha, and puri, which are enjoyed with curries and chutneys.

Dal, or lentils, holds a special place in Bihari cuisine and is cooked in numerous ways. From the simple and comforting arhar dal to the spicy and tangy chana dal, dal dishes are a staple in every Bihari household. The use of locally grown lentils and aromatic spices lends a distinct flavour to these dishes.

Bihar’s bustling markets and roadside stalls offer a tantalizing array of street food delights. From crispy samosas and spicy chaats to steaming plates of jalebis, the street food scene in Bihar is a delectable experience. Popular street food items include samosa, kachori, litti chokha, and chana ghugni.

Traditional Bihari cuisine is a perfect mix of flavours, textures, and ingredients. With a focus on simplicity and wholesome flavours, Bihari food makes a comforting meal that is loved by all.

Here is a list of some infamous Bihari food dishes:

Litti Chokha is perhaps one of Bihar’s most iconic dishes, beloved for its bold flavors. It consists of roasted wheat balls stuffed with a spicy mixture of sattu (roasted gram flour), herbs, and spices. It is traditionally served with chokha, a mashed vegetable dish made from potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplant.
Sattu, a nutritious flour made from roasted gram or barley, is a versatile ingredient used in many Bihari dishes. It is used to make savory dishes like sattuparatha, litti, and sattu drink, as well as sweet treats like sattu ladoo and sattu kachori.
Dal (Lentil Dishes) holds a special place in Bihari cuisine and is cooked in various ways. Some popular dal dishes include arhar dal, chana dal, masoor dal, and urad dal, each cooked with a unique blend of spices and aromatics.
Chana Ghugni is a popular street food in Bihar, made from boiled black chickpeas cooked with spices, onions, tomatoes, and garnished with fresh coriander leaves. It is often served as a snack or appetizer.
Tilkut is a traditional sweet made from sesame seeds (til), jaggery, and ghee. The sesame seeds are roasted and mixed with melted jaggery to form a sticky mixture, which is then shaped into small rounds or squares. Tilkut is often enjoyed during Makar Sankranti.
Thekua is another popular Bihari snack made from wheat flour, jaggery, and ghee. The dough is shaped into small discs and deep-fried until golden brown. Thekua is crunchy on the outside and slightly soft on the inside, with a sweet and aromatic flavor.
At last, Malpua is a sweet pancake made from flour, milk, and sugar, flavored with cardamom and saffron. The batter is fried until golden brown and crispy, then dipped in sugar syrup for sweetness. Malpua is often served as a dessert during festivals and special occasions.

From hearty dal dishes to savory snacks and sweet treats, Bihar’s cuisine is both delicious and culturally enriching. With its focus on locally sourced ingredients, traditional recipes, and warm hospitality, Bihari cuisine reflects its vibrant culinary heritage and the delectableflavours of this fascinating state.

veteran with various articles, columns, travelogues, and write-ups published specifically on Tourism, Hospitality, and Aviation to his credit

Located in Northern India, Bihar is known for its rich history and cultural diversity, which also extends to its culinary traditions. Bihar’s cuisine represents the diverse cultures that have influenced it over the centuries. The Mauryan, Gupta, Mughal, and British empires, each period has left its mark on the local cuisine, resulting in a rich and varied culinary tradition.

Rice and wheat are the staple grains of Bihar used in many traditional dishes. Rice is typically consumed with dal (lentil curry) or mixed with vegetables to make khichdi, a comforting one-pot meal. Wheat is used to make various breads like roti, paratha, and puri, which are enjoyed with curries and chutneys.

Dal, or lentils, holds a special place in Bihari cuisine and is cooked in numerous ways. From the simple and comforting arhar dal to the spicy and tangy chana dal, dal dishes are a staple in every Bihari household. The use of locally grown lentils and aromatic spices lends a distinct flavour to these dishes.

Bihar’s bustling markets and roadside stalls offer a tantalizing array of street food delights. From crispy samosas and spicy chaats to steaming plates of jalebis, the street food scene in Bihar is a delectable experience. Popular street food items include samosa, kachori, litti chokha, and chana ghugni.

Traditional Bihari cuisine is a perfect mix of flavours, textures, and ingredients. With a focus on simplicity and wholesome flavours, Bihari food makes a comforting meal that is loved by all.

Here is a list of some infamous Bihari food dishes:

Litti Chokha is perhaps one of Bihar’s most iconic dishes, beloved for its bold flavors. It consists of roasted wheat balls stuffed with a spicy mixture of sattu (roasted gram flour), herbs, and spices. It is traditionally served with chokha, a mashed vegetable dish made from potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplant.
Sattu, a nutritious flour made from roasted gram or barley, is a versatile ingredient used in many Bihari dishes. It is used to make savory dishes like sattuparatha, litti, and sattu drink, as well as sweet treats like sattu ladoo and sattu kachori.
Dal (Lentil Dishes) holds a special place in Bihari cuisine and is cooked in various ways. Some popular dal dishes include arhar dal, chana dal, masoor dal, and urad dal, each cooked with a unique blend of spices and aromatics.
Chana Ghugni is a popular street food in Bihar, made from boiled black chickpeas cooked with spices, onions, tomatoes, and garnished with fresh coriander leaves. It is often served as a snack or appetizer.
Tilkut is a traditional sweet made from sesame seeds (til), jaggery, and ghee. The sesame seeds are roasted and mixed with melted jaggery to form a sticky mixture, which is then shaped into small rounds or squares. Tilkut is often enjoyed during Makar Sankranti.
Thekua is another popular Bihari snack made from wheat flour, jaggery, and ghee. The dough is shaped into small discs and deep-fried until golden brown. Thekua is crunchy on the outside and slightly soft on the inside, with a sweet and aromatic flavor.
At last, Malpua is a sweet pancake made from flour, milk, and sugar, flavored with cardamom and saffron. The batter is fried until golden brown and crispy, then dipped in sugar syrup for sweetness. Malpua is often served as a dessert during festivals and special occasions.

From hearty dal dishes to savory snacks and sweet treats, Bihar’s cuisine is both delicious and culturally enriching. With its focus on locally sourced ingredients, traditional recipes, and warm hospitality, Bihari cuisine reflects its vibrant culinary heritage and the delectable flavours of this fascinating state.

Author – Dr Himanshu Talwar is an industry veteran with various articles, columns, travelogues, and write-ups published specifically on Tourism, Hospitality, and Aviation to his credit

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