The Cuisine of Bihar

bihari cuisine, foods from bihar, bihar ka khana, cuisine of bihar,food habits of bihar  bihari foods... shakesh singh
Excerpts from -- bhansaghar by Shakesh Singh

The cuisine of Bihar is characterized by its use of locally available ingredients. The use of hand-picked vegetables and freshly crushed spices is the hallmark of this cuisine. Wheat and rice are the staple food. Vegetables and fruits are grown in abundance and consumed in different ways. Maize, barley, gram, oilseed and pulses are important crops. Milk products, various dehydrated items (known as barriers), roasted chana powder (sattu), fresh water fish, poultry and mutton are also consumed. The traditional cooking medium is mustard oil, but ghee, vanaspati and other cooking oils are also used. 

The food habits of Bihar are an indication of how the cuisine of the State has evolved over centuries under the influence of various cultures and regimes that controlled it from time to time. Lord Buddha attained enlightenment in Bihar and hence the impact of Buddhism is significant in the State. People of Bihar are largely vegetarian though many are fond of chicken, fish and meat dishes. As Bihar has also been under the reign of the Mughals, there is an obvious influence of the exotic Mughal cuisine on the cooking style and culinary tastes of its inhabitants. Though the State has imbibed the best of the Gupta, Mauryan, Turk, Afghan, Persian and European styles of cooking, it has retained a food culture that has the distinct features of Bihar’s cuisine.

Sattu based dishes are very popular. This includes different types of litti, sattu paratha, and sattu sharbats. Sattu is also consumed by kneading it with salt and a limited amount of water, and eaten with pickles, onions and green chillies. It has a sweet and richer version which is prepared by mixing Sattu with sugar and ghee.
The cuisine of Bihar includes many mouth-watering sweet dishes. Special delicacies include pua, pitha, khajja, kheer, sevian, chandralala, ras malai, balushahi, anarasa, kala jamun, kesaria peda, parwal ki mithai, khubi ki lai and tilkut.
The day’s meal consists of breakfast, lunch, high tea and dinner.

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