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Bihari cuisine (Hindi: बिहारी खाना, Urdu: بِہاری کھانا) is eaten mainly in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, as well as in the places where people originating from the state of Bihar have settled: Jharkhand, Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bangladesh, Nepal, Mauritius, South Africa, Fiji, some cities of Pakistan, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Jamaica, and the Caribbean. Bihari cuisine includes Bhojpuri cuisine, Maithil cuisine and Magahi cuisine.
The cuisine of Bihar is largely similar to North Indian cuisine but has influences from other East Indian cuisines (for example Bengali cuisine). It is highly seasonal; watery foods such as watermelon and sharbat made from the pulp of the wood-apple fruit are consumed mainly in the summer months, while dry foods such as preparations made of sesame seeds and poppy seeds are consumed more frequently in the winter months.
There are numerous Bihari meat dishes, with chicken and mutton being the most common. Fish dishes are especially common in the Mithila region of North Bihar due to the number of rivers, such as the Sone, Gandak, Ganges and Koshi. Dairy products are consumed frequently throughout the year, including dahi (yogurt), spiced buttermilk (known as mattha), ghee, lassi and butter.
Dishes for which Bihar is famous include Bihari kebabs, litti chokha, Bihari boti, Bihari chicken masala, sattu paratha (parathas stuffed with roasted gram flour), chokha (spicy mashed eggplant and potatoes), fish curry and posta-dana ka halwa.
For the frying and tempering (chhounkna / tadka) of certain vegetable dishes, Bihari cuisine makes use of vegetable oil or mustard oil and panch phoron — literally the "five spices": fennel seed (saunf), black mustard seed (sarson), fenugreek seed (methi), cumin seed (jeera) and nigella seed (kalonji or mangraeel). There is a lot of light frying (bhoonjnaa) in Bihari cuisine.
One remarkable tradition is "smoked food", referring to the use of smoked red chilli to infuse a strong aroma in food. Smoked chilli is used in preparing chokhaa, i.e. mashed brinjals / potatoes / tomatoes, either single or combined. Smoked chilli is also used in preparing kadam chutney (the kadam is a common fruit that is sweet-sour in taste).
- Kadhi-bari - These fried soft dumplings made of besan (gram flour) are cooked in a spicy gravy of yogurt and besan. They go well with plain rice.
- Khichdi - A mix of rice, dal and several vegetables, steamed together to give a distinctive taste of different ingredients combined in one dish. It is often topped up with ghee.
- Ghugni - A preparation made of black grams soaked (either lightly or overnight) in water and then sautéed in mustard oil in a wok. All kinds of garam masala made as paste on a sil is used for flavouring; chana is also ground to form a paste used as thickener. This thickens the masala and makes gravy as per desire. After proper seasoning and bhunjana, water is added to the mix for gravy as desired.
- Pittha - A sort of dumpling that can be either salty or sweet. It is a semi-circular or ball-shaped preparation whose crust is made of soft rice flour and filled with preparations made of channa daal lentil paste, or poppy seeds and gur (jaggery), then steamed in water or milk and 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, an energy-giving food usually mixed with water or milk. Sometimes, sattu mixed with spices is used to prepare stuffed chapattis, locally known as makuni roti.
- Dhuska - A deep-fried item prepared from a mixture of powdered rice and ghee, and salted.
- Litti - Powdered baked gram is mixed with chopped onions, green chillies, lemon juice, and 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
- Vegetarian 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 flavor. 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 grilled mutton dish called taash. Recently, in fast food restaurants, 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 biryani
- Bihari kebab
- Chicken tandoori
- Kela machali
- Aalu parauntha
- Sattu paratha
- Piyaz parauntha
- Posta-dana kaa paratha - 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
- Golgappa/ghup chup/pani puri
- Jhal murhi
- Dahi bada
- Munga saag
- Kalmi saag
- Gandhari saag
- Koinar saag
- Chakod saag
- Sarla saag
- Chench saag
- Chimti saag
- Katai saag
- Dhhahdhhaa saag
- Golgola saag
- Khesaari saag (Lathyrus sativus)
- Poi saag (Basella alba)
- Palak saag (Spinach)
- Bathua saag (Chenopodium album)
- Methi saag (Fenugreek)
Bihari fast food
- Litti - Can be prepared with minimum of utensils. It is a ball-shaped dish of the size between a table tennis and a lawn tennis ball, baked in mild fire (it can be baked in an electric oven or microwave oven, but would lack 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 by chokhaa (mashed potato or brinjals, green chilli and coriander leaf. Dill is an essential ingredient for brinjal chokhaa).
- Chokha - Pulsed and mashed vegetables with mustard oil and spices.
- Bhunjia - Sautéed vegetables cooked in spices, usually containing potatoes. Has no gravy and usually goes well with rice and lentils or chapatti.
- Samosa chaat - Basically samosa sweet chatni, curd, namkeen mixtures with chura, onion and other garnishing ingredients.
- Bhunja - Commonly eaten in the evening.
There is a large variety of traditional sweet delicacies in Bihar. Unlike Oriya and Bengali sweets, which are soaked in syrups made of sugar and are therefore wet, Bihar's sweets are mostly dry.
- Khaja - This may be compared to the Greek baklava. Famous ones are from Silao, Nalanda and Pipra, Supaul.
- Tilkut (Til Burfi) - Made of sesame seed and is available only in the winter. A thick hard base of sugar the size of a tennis ball is rolled in copious amounts of sesame seed and then hammered to roll it out in a round shape. 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 - Famous one is from Harnaut, NathNagar (Bhagalpur)
- Anarasa - A traditional cuisine of Mithila
- Motichoor ka Ladoo - Famous one is from Maner
- Gulab jamun
- Kala jamun - Munger, Bhagalpur and Banka Districts are known for Kala Jamun.
- Pantua - Same as kala jamun but the shape is elongated. Famous one is from Barahiya, Begusarai. Also called "Atom Bomb".
- Peda - Famous one is from Kesaria
- Khurma - Found only in southwest Bihar
- Parwal ki mithai - 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/gujiya - Made from flour and khoya, etc. It is a flaky pastry filled with sweet khoya and dry fruits stuffing. Khoya or Mawa is evaporated/condensed milk solids. 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 sautéed in ghee (clarified butter) in a wok. This is generally prepared in the winter season.
- Kasar - A dry sweet prepared of coarsely ground rice during the Chhath festival.
- Lai - There are several varieties of lai available in Bihar, including lai from Gaya. The main component of this lai is ram dana seeds. These ram danas are processed and mixed with khoya and sugar to create a disk-shaped sweet.
- Dangra ka Tilkut - Made of sesame seed and available only in the winter. A thick hard base of jaggey (gur/mittah) the size of a tennis ball is rolled in copious amounts of sesame seed and then hammered to roll it out in a round shape. Though available all over the state, the one from Dangra village in Gaya is famous.
- Paan peda - The famous one is from Mohiuddin Nagar, Madudabad, Kalyanpur Basti area. It is a heart-shaped peda with a completely different taste from the common peda available in the market.
- Gaja - A sweet which is cubical in form and made out of maida.
- Makhana kheer - Kheer made with makhana which is known as fox nut (lotus flower seed); it has medicinal and health benefits and it is not very sweet.
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