Have You Tried Tilkut: The 150 Years Old Bihari Dessert?
Image Credit: Tilkut

Bihari cuisine has carved a niche for itself among the regional cuisines of India. The traditional dishes of the state, like litti chokha are well-known across the country. However, there are many other dishes that are a part of Bihari cuisine, like chana ghugni, dal peetha and plenty of traditional desserts. Talking about traditional desserts, the first thing that comes to mind is the delicious thekua, which is mostly prepared during the festival of Chhath. Just like thekua, there is another special dish, that can tingle your taste buds. Tilkut is a sweet and savoury dish that is available only in winters. It has a 150-year-old history and was first made in the princely state of Tekari in Ramna, Gaya. It's said that the king loved tilkut and encouraged the art of tilkut-making.

 Tilkut is a healthy dessert that is prepared from punched sesame seeds. It is one of such sweets that require skill and careful preparation as any mistake can ruin the luxurious taste of this traditional dish. It is cooked with crushed sesame seeds rolled into a ball along with sugar. Then it is heated at an optimum temperature with jaggery and lint and then comes the most unique and hard part of preparing tilkut, beating them into biscuit-like shapes.

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There are three types of tilkuts in Bihar, each of which has its own flavour. First is white tilkut and the most common type, made of refined sugar. Second is shakkar tilkut which is made of unrefined sugar and finally, the dark brown tilkut made of jaggery. It is an important dish prepared during Makar Sankranti, the harvest festival of India. According to religious beliefs, sesame seeds, the main ingredient of tilkut is sacred and blessed by Lord Yama (God of Death). Therefore, it is considered a seed of immorality and symbolizes a prosperous future.

Tilkut is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties as it is made of sesame seeds and contains zinc and calcium, which are good for bone health. The best tilkut is made in Gaya and the manufacturers even get orders from other countries.

If you want to prepare the Bihari delicacy at home, here is an easy recipe of tilkut ladoo for you:


  • 2 cups white sesame seeds
  • 1 cup grated jaggery
  • 3 tsp broken cashew
  • 1 pinch of cardamom powder
  • 3 tsp ghee
  • 2 tsp water


  •  Roast the sesame seeds until they start popping and grind them to a coarse powder.
  •  Add jaggery and water to a pan and heat it until the jaggery melts.
  • Boil the jaggery syrup after filtering the impurities.
  • Then add the cashew, cardamom, and sesame seeds and mix thoroughly.
  • Switch off the flame and transfer contents to a plate and allow it to cool.
  • And then apply little ghee to hands and shape ladoos with the mixture.
  •  Allow it to dry for 4-5hours and store in an airtight jar.

Enjoy this traditional delicacy of Bihar with your family.