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There’s more to delicious Bihari food than Litti Chokha – 10 dishes to try

Bihari food isn’t just a Bihar secret—it’s a sensation from Jharkhand to Eastern UP!

Imagine the elegance of Bhojpuri, Maithili, and Magahi cuisines, all drizzled with the magic of mustard oil and sprinkled with the charm of panchphoran (Meaning “five spices”, which includes cumin seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, and nigella seed – a distinctive aspect of Bihari cuisine). Get ready to elevate your taste buds with these delectable Bihari dishes. Bon appétit, with a twist of spice and style! 

Puri Sabzi- Bihari food
Puri Sabzi- Bihari food

Flavours of Bihar: A culinary journey through history

Nestled on the fertile Indo-Gangetic plain, Bihar is a veritable agricultural heartland, particularly known for its extensive rice cultivation, with over 60 varieties grown across the state. The staple dish, daal-bhaat (lentils and rice), is a beloved staple that exemplifies the region’s culinary simplicity and wholesomeness. Adding a smoky touch with red chili is another hallmark of Bihari cooking, enriching both flavour and aroma. Bihari cuisine is distinctively marked by its use of mustard oil and a unique blend of five spices called panchphoran, along with cooking techniques such as deep-frying, roasting (bhoonna), and steaming.

In the evenings, Bihari culture comes alive with a delightful array of snacks, typically enjoyed with tea. These include bhunja, a variety of spiced, dry-fried grains. Popular versions are chooda ka bhunja (fried beaten rice flakes with onions and green chilies), chana ka bhunja (fried Bengal gram), and jhaal murhi (puffed rice with onions, green chillies, peanuts, and mustard oil).

Predominantly vegetarian due to its socio-religious traditions and abundant vegetable production, Bihari cuisine nevertheless boasts a rich array of non-vegetarian dishes, a legacy of the region’s historical Muslim influence. Favourites include shami kabab, nargisi kofta, and Champaran meat (Ahuna meat), a slow-cooked mutton curry marinated with ghee, mustard oil, garlic, onions, ginger, and spices, sealed in an earthen pot for hours to develop deep, rich flavours. Among the standout dishes is Bihari Kabab, made with boneless lamb marinated in a mix of spices and raw papaya pulp, then roasted over coals.

In the Mithilanchal region, which includes parts of northern-central Bihar, Jharkhand, and Nepal, fish is a dietary staple, diverging from the general vegetarian trend. The region’s proximity to rivers like the Ganga and its tributaries ensures a plentiful supply of fish varieties such as Rohu, Catla, Patiya, Mangur, and Tengda. Culinary techniques here often mirror those of neighbouring Bengal, with fish commonly prepared in mustard paste and featured in dishes like Maach-bhaat and Machak-jhor. Fried shrimp, or jhinga, is also a cherished delicacy.

Bihar’s culinary traditions are a rich tapestry of techniques, reflecting its diverse history and cultural influences. Whether vegetarian or non-vegetarian, each dish tells a story of the region’s agricultural bounty and the intricate interplay of spices.

Indulge in the culinary elegance of these mouthwatering Bihari dishes that you will love.

Puri Sabzi

This delicious curry is made with mashed cooked potatoes with a spicy tomato and onion sauce and is one of the dishes that you must try. Potatoes are a versatile component that may be utilized in a variety of recipes. Unlike other traditional Indian curries, it simply requires a few ingredients and takes only a few minutes to create. It’s a spicy curry that’s best eaten over puffed poori, but it’s also good with other Indian flatbreads or plain rice.

Chana Ghugni

It’s known as ghughri in Bihar. Ghugni is traditionally made using dried white peas. Some recipes call for minced lamb, while others do not. Black chickpeas, dried green peas, and even black-eyed beans can be used to make ghugni. In the eastern portion of India, it is the most popular evening snack. It goes well with nearly everything, including puris, parathas, and rotis, as well as plain ghugni.

Bihari Food: Chana Ghugni 
Image Credit: chandlervid85
Bihari Food: Chana Ghugni
(Image Credit: chandlervid85)

Dal Peetha

Bihari Dal Pitha is a rice flour dumpling recipe famous in Bihari cuisine. Pithas can be packed with either a sweet or a spicy filling. Pithas come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Fresh rice flour and spicy masala lentil filling are used to make Bihari Dal Pitha. This protein-rich snack is suitable for any occasion and is enjoyed by people of all ages. Pithas with Hari Dhaniya ki Chutney, Tomato Chutney, or Mint Chutney make a delicious appetizer or special dinner alternative.


Khaja is a traditional coastal dish that is offered as part of India’s Puri Jagannath temple’s “Sukhila Prasad.” This is a sweet meal made with fewer ingredients that consists of stacked fritters dipped in sugar syrup.

Bihari Food: Khaja 
Image Credit: pxfuel
Bihari Food: Khaja
(Image Credit: pxfuel)

Khaja should be served at room temperature. You could also eat them while they’re still hot. This Khaja recipe can be kept at room temperature for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.

Kadhi Badi

Bihari Style Kadhi Badi is a creamy kadhi made using a traditional blend of yogurt and spice masala. In Bihar, Kadhi Badi is one of the most popular dishes. Kadhi Badi is an essential part of any important celebration.

Bihari Food: Kadhi Badi 
Image Credit: Mdsmds0, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Bihari Food: Kadhi Badi
(Image Credit: Mdsmds0, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

It’s a calming sour curd foundation recipe with badi (chickpea flour dumplings) (besan). For an ordinary supper, serve Bihari Style Kadhi Badi Recipe with Jeera Rice, Kachumber Salad, and Masala Khichia.


The well-known Hanuman Mandir near Patna Railway Station is also well-known for its Prasad and Naivedyam. Its origins can be traced back to Andhra Pradesh’s Tripuri Balaji Temple. It’s made using Besan, sugar, cashews, and raisins. Green cardamoms, Kashmiri saffron, and other spices are fried in ghee and shaped into balls. The heavenly delicacy melts in your lips and leaves an unforgettable taste.

Bihari Food: Naivedyam Food 
Credit Image: Swanand Hegde, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons
(Image Credit: Swanand Hegde, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons)


Balushahi is a popular North Indian confection. The same sweet is known as badusha or badhusha in South India. Balushahi or badusha can be found in almost every mithai shop. Indian doughnuts are also known as balushahi.

Balushahi, on the other hand, has a distinct flavor and texture from doughnuts. As a dessert, serve balushahi or badusha.

Bihari Food: Balushahi 
Image Credit: Naivedyam Food
Balushahi – Bihari food
(Image Credit: Naivedyam Food)

Gur Anarsa

Gur Anarsa is a typical Bihari sweet dish that is delicious. Rice flour and jaggery (called Gur in Hindi) are mixed together to make a dough that is covered in sesame seeds and fried till golden brown. It’s commonly made for festivals like Holi and Diwali, as well as other special occasions.


It’s a deep-fried sweet recipe made with wheat flour and sugar that’s both traditional and unique. It is a bihari delicacy that is served as an evening snack in Bihar, comparable to biscuits or cookies. It is also served as prasad to gods, particularly at the chhath puja, and at feasts.


Bihari Food: Pedakiya 
Image Credit: Thamizhpparithi Maari, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Pedakiya – Bihari food
(Image Credit: Thamizhpparithi Maari, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

Gujiya (Gujhia) is a popular North Indian festival meal. In India, this delicacy is known by a variety of names. It’s a joy to eat a Gujiya. The half-moon form creates a visually distinct identity that attracts you; the crispy outer crust provides a delightful taste of light sweetness, while the mawa and dried fruit filling within melt in your mouth.

Sattu Pratha

Sattu Paratha is a popular Bihari dish known for its nutritional value and unique taste. It is made from roasted gram flour (sattu), mixed with spices like cumin, coriander, and ajwain. The filling often includes chopped onions, garlic, ginger, green chilies, and fresh coriander. This mixture is stuffed into whole wheat dough and cooked on a griddle with ghee or oil, resulting in a flavorful and hearty paratha.


Malpua is a beloved Bihari dessert, often enjoyed during festivals. It’s made from a batter of flour, milk, and mashed bananas, flavoured with cardamom. The batter is fried in ghee until golden and then soaked in sugar syrup. Garnished with chopped nuts, malpua is a sweet, rich treat.


Tilkut is a traditional Bihari sweet, especially popular during Makar Sankranti. It’s made from roasted sesame seeds (til) and jaggery (gur). The mixture is heated and moulded into round, crunchy treats. Sometimes flavoured with cardamom, Tilkut is cherished for its nutty taste and energy-boosting properties.

Champaran Meat

Champaran meat, also known as Ahuna meat, is a cherished Bihari delicacy. This mutton curry features tender pieces of mutton marinated in ghee, mustard oil, garlic, onions, ginger, and an array of spices, including a whole garlic bulb. The marinated meat is slow-cooked in a sealed earthen pot for several hours, resulting in a rich, aromatic curry. The slow-cooking process melds the flavours beautifully, making Champaran meat a flavorful testament to Bihar’s culinary traditions.

Bihari food not only nourishes the body but also offers a glimpse into the vibrant and resilient spirit of Bihar. As this cuisine continues to gain recognition and appreciation beyond its regional boundaries, it stands as a delicious reminder of the importance of preserving and celebrating our diverse culinary heritage.

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