While Litti Chokha is indeed the crown jewel of Bihar, but it shouldn’t be the reason you leave out other treats
Mention Bihari cuisine and the first thought that most of us, who aren’t from Bihar, would be of Litti Chokha. Well, some would also think Sattu Paratha, but that’s more or less about it. However, dig deep and you’ll find a whole bunch of delicious delicacies from the East Indian state of Bihar. While Litti Chokha is indeed the crown jewel of Bihar, but it shouldn’t be the reason you leave out other treats. Bihar is fairly vegetarian but has a good amount of meat and fish eaters, which explains the popularity of Bihari Fish Curry.
Sattu is one of the most popular ingredients used in Bihari cuisine beside Bengal gram or chana dal. While sattu can be used as a paste for drinks and stuffing in litti or parathas, chana dal is most often used to make puris wherein it is stuffed inside the puris. Along with these, mustard and certain spices including panch phoran, khada masala, garam masala, choora or flattened rice (poha) and rice flour are some of the most common ingredients found in a typical Bihari household. So, if you are looking to prepare an authentic Bihari feast at home, we have some amazing recipes here:
1. Litti Chokha
Mention of Bihari cuisine is incomplete without Litti Chokha. It is a combination that involves Litti, a dough ball made from atta, spices and ghee which is served with a spicy mashed mix of vegetables known as chokha. It isn’t cooked like a regular sabzi, but is a roasted vegetable mix. The origins of litti chokha has several stories behind it, with one of them going back to the kingdom of Magadh. It is believed that Litti was a staple food in the court of Magadh and places around it and gained prominence during the times of war as an important meal, primarily because it needed very less water and minimal utensils. It was easy to make besides the fact that it could stay fresh for as long as two to three days.
A biscuit like dessert, made using wheat flour, coconut, sugar, ghee and lots of dry fruits, Thekua is deep fried in pure ghee. It is also known as Khajoor or Khajur, and is super crispy. Thekua is made more commonly during the time of Chhath Puja, a 3-day Hindu festival dedicated to the Sun God which is widely celebrated in Bihar.
3. Dal Pitha
A rice flour dumpling with sweet or savoury filling, dal pitha is mostly eaten in breakfast or enjoyed as an evening snack with garma garam chai. Dal is lentil, pitha or pithi means dumplings which are made with the rice flour and stuffed with a spicy lentil filling. Mostly shaped like Gujiyas, these dal pithas go best with spicy mint-coriander chutney.
4. Laung Lata
Or Lavang Latika of Bengal, it is one of the simplest desserts of Bihar, ‘Laung' means cloves and Laung Lata is a clove infused sweet treat made with flour, oil and milk. It is stuffed with a hearty filling of khoya, cardamom and sugar, which is then fried till crisp and then dipped in a sugar syrup.
5. Bihari Fish Curry
Bihari fish curry is unlike any other fish curry you would have tasted in other parts of the country, simply for the way it is cooked. The secret lies in the spicy, typical masala which is made from coriander, cumin, black pepper, mustard seeds and red chili, that are slightly roasted over low heat and grounded, before being added to the fish curry. Mustard oil is another ingredient that lends a distinct flavour to the curry.
So which Bihari delicacy are you making next?