Bihari food is the food made by people living in Bihar, India, and also by bihari people settled elsewhere. Bihari cuisine comprises both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, although the latter is not consumed by some communities. Some of the popular Bihari foods include aloo chokha, bihari kebab, sattu paratha, dal paratha, litti, seekh kebab, and shammi kebab.
Historical and Cultural Influences
Bihari cuisine is influenced by cuisines from North India and Bengal. Buddhists and some communities of Hinduism do not eat non-vegetarian foods due to ethical reasons. Bihari cuisine is also influenced by seasons, and foods made with seasonal fruits are popular here.
Commonly Used Ingredients
Dals such as moong dal, masur dal, channa dal, rice, gram flour, wheat flour, vegetables, spices, five seeds called panchforan, and mustard oil are some common ingredients used in this cuisine.
Major Everyday Recipes
Some of the everyday Bihari foods include rice, chapati, dal, vegetable curries, chutney, and achar (pickle). Dahi, which is yoghurt, and mattha the buttermilk are used everyday along with other dairy products like ghee and butter. Vegetable fries, curries, and gravies are also made.
Bihari food is mostly cooked with mustard oil. The cuisine also uses smoked red chillies to enhance aroma in foods. The vegetables are fried in a wok and not usually deep fried. Some are even roasted in open fire or using ash or coal, much like a barbecue.
Recipes Popular In Foreign Culture
Paranthe kebab is popular by the name of bihari kebab rolls in New York and Canada.
Khichdi, pulao, litti, chiwra, pittha, and sattu are some of the traditional recipes from Bihar. Khichdi is a dish that is made with rice, dal, and many vegetables and served with ghee. Chiwra is made with beaten rice, curd, and sugar. Bihari litti is a dish where a mixture of baked gram, onions, and chillies are filled inside flour and deep fried. Pittha is a rice flour ball filled with channa dal and spices. Parathas of different types are also popular.
Festive and Special Foods
Sweet dishes such as mal pua, chawal ki kheer, rabri, motichoor ka laddu, laktho, churma, khaja are made during festivals and celebrations. Mal pua is made with maida, milk, banana pulp, coconut, curd, and spices. The kheer is a delicious dessert made with milk, basmati rice, sugar, ghee, almonds, and spices.
Bihari Food Habits
Every bihari meal has at least two vegetables, and it is made sure that one of them is a leafy vegetable. Most biharis start their day with a sattu drink (made with gram flour), which they believe gives them energy.
Health Benefits of Bihari Cuisine
The bihari cuisine includes a variety of vegetables with minimal oil, making the food healthy and nutritious. Dals of various types, rich in protein, are used in most dishes. Dairy products like milk and buttermilk help keep the body cool during summer.
Hindus in Bihar abstain from non-vegetarian foods during the month of Shraavan. Some Hindu communities eat non-vegetarian foods only on Sundays.