Silao Khaja: A Flaky, Festival Sweet From Bihar
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Bihar’s food legacies are rich and storied with a wide array of mouthwatering sweet and savoury delicacies to enjoy. Silao Khaja is native to the Nalanda district of Bihar and dates back centuries to form one of the integral dishes of the state. The sweet is known for its crispy, multi-layered appearance which is often attributed to the local water and climate. With 12-16 layers it's made up of extremely thin dough sheets which are stacked and then deep fried before immersing them in sugar syrup. The Sahs community of Halwais is usually attributed to the original recipe.

In 2018, Silao Khaja also received a GI Tag which offers it legal protection as one of the country's cultural icons. According to documents submitted during that petition, the famed British archaeologist, J.D Beglar visited Silao in 1872 and described the sweet in a legend that dates back to King Vikramaditya. There is also a myth that outlines how Lord Buddha was offered Silao Khaja when he passed through the area on his journey from Rajgir to Nalanda.

It’s a staple at many festive events and is made during Dussehra, Diwali and Chhat Puja in particular. Crisp and crackling the recipe is simple with refined flour, clarified butter, sugar, water, cardamom and the optional addition of rose water for fragrance. Similar in texture to a Turkish Baklava, the dough is rolled paper thin and this is what gives the final dish its signature texture.


  • 4 cups All Purpose Flour (Maida) and extra for dusting
  • 2 tbsp ghee plus 2 tbsp melted ghee
  • 2 tsp Cardamom Powder (Elaichi)
  • 2 tsp Black pepper powder
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon Powder (optional)
  • Oil to fry
  • Chilled water

For Sugar Syrup

  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 1 cup Water


  • Add the flour, and melted ghee and mix well. 
  • Add cold water to make a smooth yet firm dough. Cover the dough and keep aside for at least 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Make a paste by mixing 2 tablespoons ghee and 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour to make a flour paste.
  • Divide the dough into eight equal parts. Take a ball and roll it into a rectangular shape sheet. Roll another one similarly.
  • Smear the prepared flour paste on one sheet and place another on top of it. Spread the flour paste on top of the second sheet and roll both sheets together tightly to resemble a log.
  • Cut this flour log into equal-sized pieces of 1 inch each. Roll each piece vertically.
  • Heat enough oil in a deep frying pan, and fry them in batches, on a medium flame until they turn golden brown on both sides. Cool them completely.
  • In the meantime, prepare sugar syrup by adding 2 cups of sugar to 1 cup of water in a saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil and cook till it becomes sticky.
  • Add cardamom powder, black pepper and cinnamon powders to it. This addition of spices is optional.
  • Grease a large plate with some butter or ghee.
  • Dip the fried khaja into the prepared syrup while it is still warm and immediately transfer them to a greased plate.
  • Serve immediately or store in an airtight box until needed.