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Fragrant Food From Bihar

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Screen Shot of original Story in Transcontinental Times

The vibrant state in Eastern India, Bihar is famous mostly for its history, the role it plays in Indian politics, and for its fragrant and tasty food.

In India, you find a different cuisine as you travel for every 50-100 km in any direction. Every district in its states offers exquisite flavours for food lovers.

It’s true in eastern India too, as cool, fresh, and fragrant breeze from the rustic kitchens of Bihar mesmerise everyone and leaves them with an overstuffed tummy but with an unsatisfied soul wanting more. The rustic beauty of Bihari food is a beautiful melee of flavour and is simple, and a must-try for everyone who wants to eat exotic dishes.

Ingredients of Bihari cuisine

Bihari cuisine is more about simplicity, restraint, minimal spices, and intelligent use of ingredients so that the end product turns out to be light yet bursting with flavours. Simply saying Bihari cuisine is soul-satisfying and not heavy on the palate. Bihari cuisine is simply an out of the box cuisine which is extremely underrepresented in the world.

The pungent aroma of mustard oil predominates the taste in Bihari dishes but the pungency of this oil is very well balanced by the flavours of other ingredients, thereby making the food finger-licking good.

Bihari cuisine uses Sattu (powdered Bengal gram) in almost every dish, and as such, you can expect sattu in puris, paranthas, dumplings (litti), and even drinks. And in fact, they do have a drink called Sattu Ki Thandai, a thick drink made of sattu and onions. It is a perfect drink to cool the body and provide the requisite protein.

The red meat preparations in Bihar are perhaps one of the best in India. Be it the kababs at Patna or Jamshedpur or the traditional mutton curry at Bihari homes with poories or parathas with a lot of onions, they are always top-notch. All in all, Bihari food is an a-la-carte festival with a range of signature dishes.

A foodie journey in Bihar

A normal food journey begins the moment you enter Bihar. You are overwhelmed by the mustard oil fragrance and sight of various Litti counters. Litti Chokha is perhaps the best-known food from Bihar to everyone in India.  Littis are made by stuffing round dough balls with sattu and then either roasted or deep-fried, and eaten with mashed veggies or chokha (potato, brinjal or tomato), green chili pods and diced onions. For meat-eaters, littis can be eaten with mutton curry or they can be stuffed with keema. Litti-chokha is served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and that shows the love for it. Other popular dishes include genuine delicacies like Dal Peetha, the Bihari version of the rice flour dumplings (shaped like Nepali momos), and Tarua.

Chaat stalls

The journey into fragrant lanes continues as the fragrance of various chaats from the nearby Khomcha (food stall) pulls you. On the khomcha various types of chaat like Aloo Matar Ghughnai Chaat, Jhaal muri, Chuda Ghughni and Gup Chups( Puchkas or Golgappas) are available. All these are delicious comfort foods that are light, flavorful, and healthy. Nothing can match the Joy of eating Jhaal Muri out of wastepaper rolled into a cone shape with the strong hint of mustard oil.

The hungry foodie will now move towards the main course, which in Bihar is a huge spread and is another grand mix of dishes. For vegetarians, they have Lal Saag with Chana and Colocasia (arbi) leaves prepped in masala gravy, and Aloo in tomato gravy and boiled rice and nonvegetarian delights like Sarson wali Macchi, Egg curry, and Mutton curry.


You cannot finish an Indian meal without feasting on Desserts and in Bihar you find a wide variety of them. Makhaane ki kheer, Khaja, Chandrakala, Parwal mithai, Thekua, Boondi, Kantua (special type Gulabjamun), Sabudana Kheer, Malpua, Balushahi … every sweet dish is a treat.

Bihar has so many sweets that a sweet lover will find difficult to relish in one go. While most of the sweets are available around the year, Thekua is specially prepared at homes, especially during Chhath Puja as prasad. And the foodie in you should be thankful that you are visiting Bihar during these festival times.

Everything is really simple in Bihari cuisine and this cuisine like every cuisine of India bears similarities to the cuisines of neighbouring regions but still having the distinctiveness of its own.

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