The historically rich land of Bihar is equally famous for the plethora of delicacies that feature in its cuisine. The scrumptious and exotic Bihari dishes are highly capable of tingling the taste bud of every food connoisseur.
Here is a list of must-try Bihari food dishes, dishes which are beyond the staple Sattu or Parval ki Mithai, which will surely leave you craving for more!
1. Litti Chokha
The lip-smacking taste of Litti Chokha, savoured by one and all, needs no introduction. It is your grand welcome to the food of Bihar, in all its ghee-dripping glory. It consists of wheat and sattu with spices, kneaded into round spicy balls, dipped in ghee. The texture of Litti along with the crunchy crust makes it a foodie’s delight. Chokha is prepared by mashing boiled vegetables (most common being potatoes, brinjal, tomatoes), adding spices and chopped onion, garlic etc and served with Litti as a complimentary delicacy.
Sattu or fried gram flour forms a distinctive element of Bihari food and cuisine. The sattu is mixed with spices and filled in wheat dough balls, rolled and cooked with ghee on a hot plate to form sattu paratha which is also called makuni.
The famous Hanuman Mandir near Patna Railway Station is equally famous for its Prasad, “Naivedyam”. Original roots of Naivedyam can be traced back to Tirupati Balaji Temple of Andhra Pradesh. It contains besan or gram flour, sugar, cashew, raisin, Green cardamoms, Kashmiri-saffron and other flavorings, cooked in ghee and molded into a ball shape. It is a unique Prasad, exclusive to Hanuman Mandir. The divine delicacy melts in your mouth leaving you ecstatically content.
3. Chandrakala/ Pedakiya
Very similar to Gujia, Chandrakala is another heavenly dessert for those with a sweet tooth. Stuffed with sweetened khoya, coconut, cardamom powder and dry fruits in a crispy covering and dipped in sugar-syrup, Chandrakala is a fdish from the traditional food of Bihar that is enough to sweeten your senses!
4. Chana Ghugni
Chana Ghughni is a spicy-tangy evening snack item from the food of Bihar. Extremely common yet equally delicious, this mouth-watering snack is prepared in almost every household of Bihar. Boiled chickpeas, fried with onion and spices along with “Chuda ka bhuja” (flattened rice) makes it a perfect answer to satisfy your hunger! Flattened and dried gram is also used to make other salty snacks.
Another equally tasty and scrumptious food of Bihar snack, Khaja is believed to be a 2000 year old preparation, very similar to the Baklava of Ottoman Empire. The crispy dessert is made from wheat flour, sugar, mawa; deep fried in oil. This unique dessert from Bihar is wafery in texture and yet melts in the mouth. Another variant is called Belgrami which is made from a milk solids( a form of cheese), sugar and ghee. It is less sweet and is a famous sweatmeat from Udwantnagar, which falls between Arrah and Buxar.
6. Mutton Kebabs and Reshmi Kebabs
Bihar is equally famous for its luscious non-vegetarian delights. Patna’s famous Mutton Kebabs have an equally rich and historical origin. The aroma from a small shop in Kadamkua attracts you like a magnet and introduces you to Mahgu; His Great Grandfather was a chef in the British court. Mahgu’s Mutton Kebab’s are a delightful miracle to your taste buds.
Heading towards Rajendra Nagar in Patna, Richie Rich’s delicate Reshmi Kebabs are a tough competition to Lucknow’s Galauti Kebabs.
7. Kesar Peda
Although partitioned, Bihar and Jharkhand are two states which breathe and preserve the same culture. Pedas from Devghar, which is now in Jharkhand, is an essential part of the food of Bihar. These states are home to people with one united thread of culture and belief. Every person from Bihar holds Devghar very close to his heart; the place holding deep religious affection. Situated outside the holy temple of Devghar, Gaurang Mishthan Bhandar is a 70 year old destination for worshippers to complete their fast. “Kesar Pedas” are exclusive speciality of this place. Other delicacies of Devghar include ChamCham and Lady Canning.
Laung-latika is a traditional dessert of the food of Bihar, prepared during festivals. Although similar to other stuffed delicacies, Laung lata’s Clove in the centre of the crisp crust makes it stand apart from the others. The pungent taste of the clove along with sweet stuffing dipped in sugar-syrup melts in the mouth; the complex amalgam of tastes altogether makes Laung Lata exclusive to Bihar. This delicacy is perfect for cold winters with famous shops located near the Patna Meusum.
9. Dal Peetha
Dal Peetha is the Bihari way to cook dumplings or momos. This quintessential food of Bihar is covered with rice flour and stuffed with lentil paste, along with spices and pickle. The dumpling is then steamed or fried and makes for a very healthy breakfast. Another variant of this is when the lentil paste is mixed with spices and rolled into chappatis and is called Dal-Puri.
Khajuria is the most commonly prepared snack of Bihari food. The mixture of wheat flour and jaggery is deep fried and lo! This lip-smacking snack is ready to fulfill those hunger attacks! One can also use rice flour instead of wheat flour and suger instead of jaggery to make different varieties.
Malpua is another Bihari food delight that needs no introduction. Its batter is a mixture of flour, milk, mashed bananas and sugar which is deep fried in ghee and dipped in sugar syrup. The crispy crust and soft centre melts in mouth, making it all-time favourite delicacy of Bihar. Malpuas are also complimented with thick Rabdi, only to add the yummy cherry on the cake!
12. Kadhi Badi
This all-time favourite yummilicious (if such a word exists) dish is another staple delicacy of Bihari food. The gravy (Kadhi) as well as the badi are prepared from besan (gram flour). The gravy also consists of yoghurt. It is usually complimented with rice and/or puris.
The special type of kheer is exclusive to the grand and traditional Chhath Puja, and is an opulent affair of the food of Bihar. Rasia is famous for its festive touch and equally delicious taste. Another variant is made from popped fox nuts or makhana which is called makhane ki kheer and is only slightly sweet but quite rich.
14. Pantua/Kala Jamun
Pantua is a different form of Kala jamun, famous in Bihar. The sweet is deep fried and is an addition to the food of Bihar through Bengal! Made from mawa, sugar and milk, Pantuas are elongated and have a little harder crust, but are an equally fantastic option to end your perfect Bihari meal!
15. Khurma And Laktho
Khurma also known as shakkarpara is another sweet snack from Bihari food and cuisine that is made of flour and salt, deep fried in oil and dipped in sugar syrup. The sugar syrup cools off and crystallizes to give a powedery outer texture. If you use rice flour dough and a thick jaggery syrup, you get another variant called Laktho. Both of them are really sumptuous to munch on.
A sweet, porous flour cup, enclosing a litany of flavours in the Khoya inside – that’s the Bihari food dish, the Balushahi for you. Every time you bite into one, you don’t just taste a sweet. You taste the love of the wonder, that is the food of Bihar. The sweet is filled with mildly sweetened khoya and spices like cardamom and cinnamon, sometimes even flavoured with the opulent saffron for added taste and fragrance. The flour bowl is then closed and deep fried until perfection.
17. Parwal ki Mithai
Biharis sure seem to have a sweet tooth. Yes you read that right, they even turned the plain old vegetable like parwal/patol (pointed gourd) into a sweet dish, reverberant of the food of Bihar. And boy, it tastes heavenlly. The inner pulp of the parwal is scooped out, bolied, dipped in syrup and filled with sweet khoya preperation. The end result looks as royal as it tastes!
18. Gur Anarsa
Rice flour and Jaggery come together to create this beautiful Bihari food dish that is found all year long. It is then coated in sesame seeds and fried over medium heat until it achieves the perfect shade of red. Bite into an anarsa and soak in the sweet treat that awaits you!
Jaggery syrup poured all over lightly fried cereal, and then shaped into sizeable balls by the mothers and grandmothers of the house. Talk about comfort food! The cereal may be either puffed rice (muri), beaten rice (choora) or Ram dana. The laai is going to be your favourite Saturday evening munchie if you try it!
Disclaimer- Bihar is an extremely porous state; the adjoining states share a similar culture. The author has tried best to include exclusive dishes to the food of Bihar. However, some delicacies may have a common claim by adjoining states.