bihari cuisine


popular dishes from bihar, foods from bihar


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.
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.
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. 

Menu - 1
Kachori (Sattu stuffed)
Sarson wali machli
Besan ki Subzi
Arhar Masoor dal
St Rice
Ratoba ( Lauki raita)

 Recipes from  - The first cook book of Bihar - Bhansaghar  bhansaghar

Sattu Kachori
Deep fried sattu stuffed bread

For dough
Refined flour                                      300 gm
Ghee                                                    20 gm
Onion seeds                                        ¼ tsp
Salt                                                      to taste

For Stuffing
Sattu                                                    3 tbps
Chopped ginger                                  1 tsp
Chopped green chillies                        1 tsp
Chopped green coriander                    1 tsp
Asafetida                                            a pinch
Cumin seeds                                        a pinch
Salt                                                      to taste
Cooking oil                                         1 tbsp
Cooking oil                                         for deep frying

Misc en Place
Dough - Rub ghee into the flour and add onion seeds and salt. Add sufficient water and knead well to make soft dough. Cover with wet cloth and leave for 15-20 minutes.
Stuffing – Heat 1 tbsp of cooking oil in a pan. Add the cumin seeds & asafetida and cook for 1 minute now add the rest ingredients and cook for 2 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool down.
Divide the dough into small roundels.  Now shape the roundels into a bowl with remaining the help of your fingers. Take some sattu mixture and place it in the centre, seal it and shape it carefully.
On a lightly oiled surface, with a rolling-pin roll out the dough into thin 3 inches round patties or flatten this between your palms.
Heat some oil in a kadhai over medium heat. Take each rolled kachori in your palm and carefully slide it into the pre-heated oil. When the kachories swells up, flip it over and fry till both sides turn light golden brown. Take it out with the help of a perforated spoon. Serve with chutney

Defining Features
Colour – Brown
Spice – Medium
Texture - Crisp crust

Sarsonwali Machli Jhor
Fish in Mustard Gravy

Darne of fish (Rohu)                           800 gm 
Onion                                                  150 gm
Garlic paste                                         2 tbsp
Mustard paste                                     1½ tbsp
Turmeric powder                                 1 tsp
Red chilli powder                               1 tsp
Cumin powder                                                ½ tsp
Peppercorn powder                             ½ tsp
Fenugreek seeds                                  a pinch
Whole red chilies                                4
Bay leaf                                               2
Mustard oil                                          100 ml
Salt                                                       to taste
Misc en Place
Clean and wash the fish thoroughly. Add 1 tsp of salt, ½ tsp turmeric powder, ½ tsp of red chilli powder, ½ tbsp garlic paste 1 tbsp of mustard oil and mix well.
Slice the onions or make a paste of it.
Heat oil in a kadhai; add a few pieces of marinated fish, keeping the flame on medium while frying. After a few minutes when you feel one side is fried, turn it carefully and fry the other side till brown and crispy. Remove from the kadhai and keep it aside.
Add the fenugreek seeds, whole red chillies and bay leaves in the same oil. Let them crackle. Add the onions and cook till it becomes light brown in colour.
Add rest of the garlic paste, mustard paste, cumin powder, pepper powder, red chilli powder and turmeric powder. Continue cooking till it starts leaving oil. Add  around 300 ml of water and let them boil.  Now add the fried pieces of fish and cook for another 2 minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with roti and/or plain steamed rice, and green salad.

Defining Features
Colour – brown with some oil floating on the top
Spice & Taste – Medium and little pungent flavor of mustard
Consistency – Thin

Besan ki Subzi
Gram Flour Cubes in Mustard Gravy

Gram flour                                          200 gm
Tomato                                                100 gm 
Onion                                                  100 gm
Green chillies                                      4
Green coriander leaves                        30 gm
Ginger                                                 10 gm
Garlic                                                  15 gm 
Mustard seeds                                     2 tsp         
Cumin seeds                                        1 tsp
Turmeric powder                                 1 tsp
Red chilli powder                               1 tsp
Coriander powder                               1 tsp
Black pepper powder                          1 tsp
Garam masala powder                                    1 tsp
Bay leaves                                           2
Mustard oil                                          100 ml
Water                                                              as required
Salt                                                      to taste

Misc en place
Sieve the gram flour.
Finely chop the onions, tomatoes, green coriander leaves, and two cloves of garlic and green chillies.
Grind the remaining garlic, ginger and mustard seeds into a smooth paste.
Cubes of Besan: Take the gram flour in a bowl  ½ tsp salt, a pinch of turmeric powder, mix well and make a thick consistency batter by adding sufficient water.
Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a kadhai. Add a pinch of cumin seeds and let it crackle. Add 2 tbsp of the chopped onions, chopped green chillies, and garlic. Sauté them for a minute, then pour the batter into the kadhai and stir it vigorously until it forms a thick paste (3-4 minutes). Transfer this puree to a greased tray, spread it evenly, and allow it to cool. Cut into 1 inch cubes and deep fry them. Keep aside.
Gravy: Mix together garlic, ginger and mustard paste, red chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, and make a smooth paste.
Heat oil in kadhai, add the cumin seeds and allow it to crackle. Add the remaining onions and brown them. Now add the spice paste and cook for a couple of minutes and then add the tomatoes and salt. Cook till the oil separates.
Pour enough water and allow the gravy to boil.
Now transfer the cubes of besan to the prepared gravy and sprinkle with garam masala powder. Garnish with chopped green coriander leaves and serve with steamed rice, roti or parathas.

Defining Features
Colour – brown with some oil floating on the top
Spice & Taste – Medium and little pungent flavor of mustard
Consistency – Thin

Arhar Masoor ki Dal
Yellow and Red Lentil
Arhar dal                                 75 gm
Masoor Dal                             75 gm
Turmeric powder                     1 tsp                                                                
Cumin seeds                            1 tsp
Ghee                                        10 ml
Whole red chillies                   2-3
Water                                       500 ml
Salt                                           to taste

Pick wash and soak the arhar and masoor dal. Add sufficient water, turmeric powder and salt and pressure cook for 2 whistle. Alternatively you can boil this in a handi.
Tadka (Tempering)
Heat ghee in a tadka pan, add cumin seeds and whole red chillies and let them crackle.
Pour them over the cooked dal immediately and mix well. Portion in a serving bowl and serve with steamed rice. 
Defining Features
Colour – Yellow
Spice & Taste – Medium
Consistency – Medium



Whole wheat flour                  400 gm
Water                                      as required

Misc en Place
Take flour and add sufficient water, knead well and make soft dough.
Cover with wet cloth and leave for 15-20 minutes. Divide it into 10 -12 balls.
Take one small ball of dough at a time; flatten it with your palm.
On a lightly floured surface, with a rolling-pin, roll out the flattened dough into a thin circular shaped patty of around 5 – 6 inches diameter.
Pre-heat a tawa over medium heat. Transfer the rolled dough over this. When the colour changes, and small bubbles appear on the top, turn it over. When both sides are done, use kitchen tong  to remove the roti from the tawa. Hold the cooked roti over flame and it will puff up immediately. Turn it over quickly to flame and cook the other side.
Serve hot roties with a dollop of ghee on top, with subzi, bhunjia or any curry preparation.
Defining Features
Colour – Off white may have some black spots
Texture – soft
Shape  - Circular

Plain Rice

Rice                                         600 gm
Water                                      5 liters
Oil                                           1 tsp
Salt                                          to taste

Misc en Place
Pick, wash and soak the rice.
Boil water in handi/Stock Pot.
Add the rice to boiling water. Also add salt and oil.
After sometime when the rice appears to be cooked, take one grain of rice and press it between your thumb and index finger; if the rice grain is still hard cook for some more time and then drain off the excess water.
Serve it with dal, subzi, chutney or with non-vegetarian curry. 
Defining Features
Colour – white
Texture – well cooked but separated

Ratoba/Lauki ka Raita
Bottle Gourd Raita

Bottle gourd                                        100 gm
Curd                                                    100 gm
Ginger                                                 1 inch
Green chilies                                       2
Mustard powder                                 1tsp
Roasted cumin powder                       ½ tsp
Green coriander leaves                        20 gm
Black salt                                             ½ tsp  
Salt                                                      to taste

Misc en Place

Dice or grate the bottle guard. Finely chop the ginger, green chilies and green coriander leaves.
Steam or boil the bottle gourd till tender; drain off the excess water.
Take curd in a bowl and whisk in the green chillies, ginger, roasted cumin powder, mustard powder, red chilli powder, black salt and common salt.
Add the steamed bottle gourd pieces and mix well. Garnish it with chopped fresh coriander leaves and serve with any main course

Defining Features
Colour – white with some spices and mustard powder on the top
Spice & Taste – Tangy and little pungent flavor of mustard
Consistency – Coating

Full moon shaped stuffed flour pockets soaked in sugar syrup

For Dough

Refined Flour                                       250 gm
Ghee                                                    30 gm
Luke warm Water                               sufficient to make dough

For Stuffing

Khoya  (grated)                                   200gm
Sugar                                                   150 gm
Almonds  (chopped)                           6
Cashewnuts  (chopped)                      6
Green cardamom powder                  1/4 teaspoon
Ghee                                                    1 tbsp

For syrup
Sugar                                                   300 gm
Water                                                  150 ml
Milk                                                     1 tablespoon
Saffron                                                 a few threads

For garnish
Pistachios (soaked and sliced)             10

Misc en Place

Sieve the flour into a bowl. Rub in the ghee and knead into dough using luke warm water as required. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside.

Heat the ghee in a pan then add the khoya and cook on low heat, stirring continuously. Add the caster sugar, almonds, cashew nuts and cardamom powder. Mix them properly and set aside to cool.

Heat the sugar and water in a pan, stirring till the sugar dissolves. Add the milk and collect the scum which rises onto the surface with a ladle and discard. Cook till the syrup attains a one-thread consistency. Add the saffron and stir. Keep the syrup hot.

Divide the dough into small roundels and roll out each roundel into a three-inch circle. Take two circles at a time. Place one tablespoon of khoya stuffing in the centre of one circle and cover with the other. Moisten the edges and pinch or twist the edges in a pattern to seal firmly.

Heat sufficient ghee in a kadai and deep-fry the chandrakala, on medium heat, till golden brown. Drain and soak immediately in the hot syrup.

When the chandrakala are coated on all sides with the sugar syrup, gently remove, allow the excess syrup to drip down, garnish with sliced pistachios.

Defining Features
Colour – Light brown
Taste – Sweet

Texture – short eating (crumbly)  

Menu - 2
Kathal ka Bara
Bhuna Maans
Channa Ghooghni
Litti – Roasted
Aloo baigan tamatar chokha
Tamatar Chutney
Makhane ki kheer

Kathal ka Bara
Jackfruit cutlet

Raw Jackfruit                                      200 gm
Potatoes                                              50 gm
Onion                                                  30 gm
Green chillies                                      5
Ginger                                                 1 inch
Peanuts                                                50 gm
Lime                                                    1
Bread crumbs                                      for coating
Red chilli powder                               ½ tsp
Garam masala powder                        ½ tsp
Milk                                                     1 cup
Oil                                                       for deep frying
Salt                                                      to taste

Misc en Place

Boil and mash jack fruit and potato.
Finely chop the onions, green chillies, ginger and green coriander leaves.
Mix the mashed jackfruit and potatoes with chopped onions, green chillies, ginger and green coriander leaves.  Add lime juice, spice powders and salt.
Shape into cutlets and dip in milk; coat it with bread crumbs and deep fry.
Arrange the bara (jack fruit cutlets) on a plate and serve hot with mint sauce or tomato sauce.

Defining Features
Colour – Brown
Spice – balanced – medium (6/10)
Texture – Crisp from outside and soft from inside

Bhuna Maans
Mutton Curry

Mutton                                                1 kg
Onion                                                  700 gm
Garlic                                                  25 gm
Ginger                                                 20 gm
Garam masala powder                        1 tsp
Cumin powder                                    1 tsp
Black pepper powder                          1 tsp
Turmeric powder                                 2 tsp
Coriander powder                               2 tsp
Red chilli powder                               1 tsp
Cumin seeds                                        1 tsp
Dry red chillies                                    2
Cardamom                                          5
Cinnamon sticks                                  4 inches
Green coriander leaves                        30 gms
Bay leaf                                               2
Mustard oil/Refined oil                       150 ml
Salt                                                      to taste

Misc en Place
Cut mutton into medium pieces, wash thoroughly; add 1 tsp of turmeric powder and 1 tsp oil, then keep aside.
Finely slice the onions and chop the coriander leaves. Make a paste of ginger, garlic, cumin seeds, black pepper powder, turmeric powder and red chilli powder.

Heat oil in a kadhai; add the whole spices and let them crackle. Now add the sliced onions and stir fry until they turn brown.
Add the pieces of mutton; stir well and add salt. Cover and cook for around 45 minutes (or till the onions are mashed) on a very low flame. Keep stirring to avoid burning and sticking to kadhai.
Now add the spice paste and stir till it starts leaving oil. Add around 1½ litres of water, mix well and again cover and cook till the meat is cooked; stirring all the time and checking the water level. When it is done, add garam masala powder and chopped green coriander leaves.
Mutton goes well with steamed rice and/or plain roti, accompanied with onion slices, lemon wedges and papad.  On some special occasions mutton is also served with litti.

Defining Features
Colour – Dark brown
Spice – Medium (6/10)
Consistency – Thick

Bengal gram curry

Black gram                                                      150 gm
Onion                                                               100 gm
Tomato                                                             100 gm
Ginger                                                              10 gm
Garlic                                                               10 gm
Whole garam masala                                        5 gm
Turmeric powder                                              ½ tsp
Coriander powder                                            2 tsp
Garam masala powder                                     ½ tsp
Green chillies                                                  4 -5
Oil                                                                     2 tbsp
Green coriander leaves                                      10 gm
Lemon                                                               1
Salt                                                                    to taste

Misc en Place
Soak the black gram over night. Wash them and boil them.
Finely chop the onions, tomatoes, green chillies and green coriander leaves.
Heat oil in a kadhai and add the whole garam masala. Stir and then add 2/3rd of the chopped onions. Fry till it turns golden brown.
Add the ginger garlic paste and continue stirring for 2-3 minutes. Then add the turmeric powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder and salt.
Fry it for a minute and then add the chopped tomatoes and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Now mix in the Black gram and sufficient water. Cook till done and finish with garam masala powder.
Defining Features
Colour – brown
Spice – Medium (6/10)
Consistency – Thick

 Recipes from  - The first cook book of Bihar - Bhansaghar by shakesh singh. to know about the book - click  bhansaghar

Roasted sattu stuffed dough roundels

For dough
Whole wheat flour                  300 gm
Sattu                                        15 gm 
Carom seeds                            a pinch
Onion seeds (kalonji)              a pinch
Salt                                            ½ tsp
Oil                                           1 tsp
Milk                                         100 ml
Water                                        as required

For stuffing
Sattu                                        100 gm
Onion                                      75 gm
Garlic                                      10 gm
Ginger                                     10 gm
Green chillies                          4-5
Green coriander leaves            30 gm
Carom seeds                           ½ tsp
Onion seeds (kalonji)              ½ tsp
Lemon juice                            5 ml
Mustard oil                              5 ml
Water                                      2 to 3 tbsp
Salt                                          to taste

Misc en Place
Make firm dough using all the ingredients mentioned for dough.
Finely chop the onions, ginger, garlic, green coriander and green chillies.
Mix the sattu, chopped onion, ginger, garlic, green chillies, salt, mustard oil, onion seeds, carom seeds and lemon juice.
Add two tablespoons of water and mix it properly. Keep the stuffing aside.
Divide the dough into small roundels of the size of a normal roti.
 Now  make a round patty roughly 2.5" to 3" in size by hand (by moving both thumbs in the centre or inner surface and supporting and giving a bowl shape to the dough with remaining eight fingers from outer side)
Take some sattu mixture and place it in the centre, seal it and shape it carefully. In the same way, stuff each roundel.           
 Roast the litties over coal fire in the sigri or in an oven.
Take out the roasted litties, dip in pure ghee and serve with chokha, Ghooghni/ Mutton and chutney.
Defining Features
Colour –  light brown with some black spots
Texture – Hard exterior bur soft stuffing
Shape - Spherical

Baingan ka Chokha
Mashed brinjal with tomato and potato

Brinjal                                                              200gm
Tomato                                                             75 gm
Boiled potato (optional)                                   75 gm 
Onion                                                               50 gm
Garlic                                                               5 cloves
Green chillies                                                   2
Green coriander leaves                                     20 gm
Mustard oil                                                       1 tbsp
Salt                                                                   to taste

Misc en Place

Cut the brinjals into four vertical pieces but leave them attached at the tip. Now brush some oil on its outer surface and roast it on a direct flame.
Roast the tomatoes and garlic in the same way. Neatly remove their burnt skin and mash them well. Remove the skin of potatoes and mash them.
Chop the onions, green chillies and the coriander leaves.
Mix together the mashed brinjal, tomatoes, mashed potatoes and garlic with the chopped onions, green chillies and coriander leaves. Now add oil and salt and mix them well. Serve the baingan chokha with litti.
Defining Features
Colour – Pale with chopped onions and tomatoes
Spice – Medium
Consistency – medium

Tamatar ki Chutney
Savoury tomato sauce

Tomato                                                            200 gm
Onion                                                              50 gm
Garlic                                                              5 flakes
Green chillies                                                  2
Green coriander leaves                                    20 gm
Mustard oil                                                      1 tbsp
Salt                                                                  to taste

Misc en Place

Wash the tomatoes and brush some oil on its outer surface and roast it on a direct flame.
Roast the tomatoes over coal fire. Neatly remove their burnt skin and mash them well.
Chop the onions, green chillies, garlic and the coriander leaves.
Mix together the mashed, tomatoes, garlic,chopped onions, green chillies, salt and coriander leaves. Now add oil and salt and mix them well.
Defining Features
Colour – Red
Spice – Medium
Consistency – Thin

Makhane ki Kheer
Fox nut pudding

Milk                                             1 litre
Makhane                                     50 gm
Ghee                                            1 tbsp
Green cardamom powder            a pinch
Sugar                                           150 gm approx
Dry fruits and nuts                       50 gm        

Misc en Place
Roast the makhane with ghee. Grind half of them to coarse powder.
Chop the dry fruits and nuts
Boil the milk in a thick bottomed pan.
Once the milk comes to a boil reduce the heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Now add the roasted makhane and the powdered makhane  and Cook until the kheer thickens, then add the cardamom powder & sugar and remove from the fire.
Portion it in bowls and serve garnished with makhane, chopped dry fruits and nuts.

Defining Features
Colour – off white 
Taste – Sweet
Consistency – Medium

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