Bihari cuisine is eaten mainly in Bihar, Jharkhand, Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bangladesh, Nepal, Mauritius, Fiji, some cities of Pakistan, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago as these are they places where Bihari people are present. Bihari cuisine is predominantly vegetarian because traditional Bihar society influenced by Buddhist and Hindu values of non-violence did not eat eggs, chicken, fish and other animal products. However there is also a tradition of meat-eating and fish dishes are especially common due to the number of rivers in Bihar such as the Sone, Gandak and the Ganges. There are also numerous Bihari meat dishes with chicken and mutton being the most common.
Dairy products are consumed frequently throughout the year, with common foods including yoghurt known as dahi and also buttermilk known as mattha, ghee, lassi and butter. The cuisine of Bihar is similar to a great extent to North Indian cuisine but has an influence from other East Indian Cuisine (for example like Bengali cuisine, mustard oil is used in cooking). It is highly seasonal, with watery foods such as watermelon and Sherbet made of pulp of the wood-apple fruit being consumed mainly in the summer months and dry foods, preparations made of sesame seeds,poppy seeds in the winter months.
Some dishes which Bihar is famous for, include Sattu Paratha, which are parathas stuffed with fried chickpea flour, Chokha (spicy mashed potatoes), Fish curry and Bihari Kebab, Postaa-dana kaa halwaa.
As the seasons change so does the Bihari thaali, every 3–4 months. The constants are rice, roti, achar, chatni, dals and milk products with some variation.
People use both vegetable oil or mustard oil and zeera or panchforan (literally “five seeds”, namely saunf, sarson, methi, ajwain and mangraeel) for “chhounkna”/”Tadka” (tempering) of some vegetables. There is a lot of light frying, called bhoonjnaa, in Bihari food.
One of the most remarkable thing about this cuisine is “smoked food”. It refers to using smoked red chilli to infuse a strong aroma in food. It is used in preparing “chokhaa”, i.e. mashed brinjals/potatoes/tomatoes, either single or combined. Smoked chilli is also used in preparing kadam (a common fruit sweet sour in taste, technical name Anthocephalus morindaefolia) chutney.
Traditional Bihari cuisine
- Kadhi Bari – these fried soft dumplings made of besan (gram flour) are cooked in a spicy gravy of yoghurt and besan. It goes well over plain rice.
- Khichdi – a South Asian preparation made from rice and lentils (dal). Khichri is commonly considered to be a comfort food, and was the inspiration for the dish kedgeree. Khichdi has no relation with the Keralite dish Kichadi.
- Ghugni – It is a preparation made of grams soaked (either lightly/overnight) in water and then sauted in mustard oil in a wok.
- Pittha – It is something like momos. It could be either salty or sweet.It is either a semi circular/ball shaped preparation made of crust made of soft rice flour and filled with preparations made of Channa Daal lentil paste, or poppy seeds & gur (jaggey). and then steamed in water/ milk (allowed to thicken).
- Choora – beaten rice, served with a coat of creamy curd and sugar or jaggery. In winters, this is mildly baked and accompanied with a thick spicy preparation made of peas and onions.
- Sattu – powdered baked gram, a high energy giving food usually mixed with water or with milk. Sometimes, sattu mixed with spices is used to prepare stuffed ‘chapattis’, locally called as ‘makuni roti’.
- Dhuska – a deep fried item prepared from a mixture of powdered rice and ghee but is salted.
- Litti – Powdered baked gram is mixed with chopped onions, green chillies, lemon juice, coriander leaves. This mixture is filled inside atta and either barbecued over coal or deep fried with oil. Best accompanied with Ghee, Curd and Chokha and baigan bharta.
- Bharwan karela
- Veg-Korma – Subziyon ka Panchranga Korma
- Paalak paneer
- Shaahi paneer
The distinctive Bihari flavour of non-vegetarian cooking finds mention in the memoirs of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad who found it quite tasty. Forms of kebabs, mutton preparations and dishes prepared from various fowl and birds have a distinctive flavour. Biharis are quite famous for their Bihari Kebabs, another typical Bihari non-vegetarian dish. This dish was traditionally made from mutton and is eaten with roti, paratha or boiled rice. The region of Champaran is famous for a mutton grilled dish called Taash. Recently, in fast food restaurants, these Bihari Kebabs are also sold as Bihari Kebab Rolls, which are essentially kebabs wrapped up in a paratha.
- Mutton Biryani
- Shaahi Jhinga Masaledaar
- Jhor Waali Machhli
- Jhinga Biryaani
- Bihari Kebabs
- Chicken Tandoori – Tandoori chicken is a popular dish consisting of roasted chicken prepared with yoghurt and spices.
- Aalu Parauntha
- Satuwa Parauntha
- Piyaz Parauntha
- Parauntha – filling of a paste made of poppy seeds soaked overnight in water and then ground with spices, particularly red chilli.
- Dal puri
- Makai ke roti
- Naan – A yeast-raised East Indian flat bread with a delicious chewy texture, traditionally cooked in a clay oven or tandoor. Try making your own deliciously doughy naans using this fabulous recipe.
- Jhal Murhi
- Dahi vada
Bihari fast food
- Litti – can be prepared with minimum of utensils by people who away on tour. It is a ball shaped dish of the size between a table tennis and a lawn tennis ball, baked in mild fire (though it can be done in any electric oven/ microwave oven, but would miss the distinct flavour infused by fire .The crust is made of a hard dough made of wheat flour and filled with a dry amorphous preparation made of Sattu (gram flour) and spices.It is accompanied with chokhaa (mashed potato and/or brinjals, green chilli and coriander leaf. Dill is an essential ingredient for brinjal chokhaa).
- Bhurta –
- Bhunjia – Bhunjia of Bihar must not be confused with ‘bhajia’ of other regions.
- Samosa Chaat, it is basically samosa sweet chatni, curd, Namkeen mixtures with chiura, onion and other garnishing ingredients.
There is large variety of sweet delicacies. Unlike Oriya and Bengali sweets, which are soaked in syrups made of sugar and are therefore wet, sweets of Bihar are mostly dry.
- Khaja – This may be compared to patties, with a difference that this is generally sweet, sometimes found in a salty form and has no fillings. Famous one is from Silao Nalanda
- Tilkut (Til Burfi) – This is made of sesame seed and is available only in winters. A thick hard base of sugar of the size of a tennis ball is rolled in copious amount of sesame seed and then hammered to roll out in round shape. The more the seed, the softer, better and amorphous it is. Though available all over the state, the one from Gaya is famous.
- Kheer – A special form of kheer called Rasia is prepared during the Chhath festival.
- Balushahi – A classic dessert which can be found in every street corner sweet shop. Balushahi is flaky on the outside and soft on the inside. They literally just melt in your mouth. This is a perfect sweet for any festive occasion!
- Anarasa – Come from particular area Basopatti & the nearest villages
- Motichoor ka Ladoo – Famous one is from Maner
- Gulab Jamun – A popular dessert in countries of the Indian Subcontinent such as India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh. In Nepal it is widely known as Rasbari, served with or without curd, which is a popular dessert on all occasions. It is made of a dough consisting mainly of milk solids. Traditionally, khoya, an Indian milk product (buffalo milk) is rolled into a ball together with some flour and then deep fried, but at a low temperature.
- Kala Jamun
- Peda – Famous one is from Kesaria
- Khurma – found only in southwest bihar.
- Parwal ki Mithai – It is made of pointed gourd (botanical name – Trichosanthes dioica). The fruit is scrapped to remove the skin,sliced longitudinally, deseeded and boiled to make it tender and then filled with Khoyya- a preparation made of condensed milk and dry fruits. It is then imbibed with warm sugar syrup. Silver foil may be added after it cools off.
- Khubi ka Lai – Famous one is from Barh
- Murki – Famous one is from Koelwar
- Pirikya – Made from flour and khoya etc. It is famous in Basopatti and villages nearby.
- Khurchan – This is made of layers of scrapped condensed milk. Available in Patna city (old town).
- Postaa-dana kaa Halwa – a sweet pudding made of poppy seeds soaked overnight in water and then ground to a paste and sauted in ghee (clarified butter) in a wok. This is generally prepared in winter season.
- Kasar – A dry sweet prepared of coarsely ground rice during the Chhath festival.
- Dangra ka Tilkut – This is made of sesame seed and is available only in winters. A thick hard base of jaggery (gur/mittah) of the size of a tennis ball is rolled in copious amount of sesame seed and then hammered to roll out in round shape.The more the seed, the softer, better and amorphous it is. Though available all over the state, the one from Dangra village in Gaya is famous.
- Paan Peda – Famous one is from Mohiuddin Nagar, Madudabad, Kalyanpur Basti area. it is a heart shaped peda with a completely different taste from common peda available in the market.