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Litti

Bhojpuri cuisine is a style of food preparation common amongst the Bhojpuri people who reside in the Bhojpuri region of India and Nepal. Bhojpuri foods are mostly mild and are less hot in term of spices used, but could be hotter and spicier according to individual preference. The food is tailor-made for Bhojpuri lifestyle in which the rural folk expend many calories in the fields. Bhojpuri people take pride in celebrating various festivals and religious rites with food; as a result, their food resembles the delicacies offered to deities.

Bhojpuri people enjoy eating both vegetable and meat dishes.[1]

Breads

Various kinds of breads are consumed in Bhojpuri cuisine. Roti or Chapati is prepared almost every day and eaten in all three meals of the day. Millet breads are also cooked occasionally depending upon the season.

Paranthas (also called Paravathas in western districts of Bhojpur region) are prepared for breakfast. Paranthas are usually stuffed with vegetables, chhena, dal & sattu. Sometimes, Layered paranthas with flavourings of spices like Ajwain are also prepared.

Sattu Paranthas are a speciality of Bhojpuri Cuisine
Sattu Paranthas are a speciality of Bhojpuri Cuisine

Occasionally, deep fried breads like Puri, Luchui, Suhari & Kachori are also prepared. Puas (Sweet pancakes) are also commonly cooked in Monsoon season or religious occasions.

Some special breads exclusive to the region:

Litti bread being served with Baingan Chokha
Litti bread being served with Baingan Chokha
Gojha/Pangojha
Gojha/Pangojha
Thekua
Thekua

On special occasions, breads like Tandoori Roti, Stuffed Naan, Rumali Roti (used in rolling up Bihari kebab, together with called Paranthe Kebab or Bihari rolls) are also prepared.

Rice dishes

Rice is one of the staple diet of Bhojpur region. Plain boiled rice are eaten almost everyday with lentil soups, bean gravies and curries. Apart from this, other rice dishes cooked commonly include:

Noon Jaauri: Rice is cooked with salt and spices. Vegetables (green peas, carrot, cauliflower, tubers), chhena, Dal Badis (lentil balls) are also added. It is served with Raita.[3]

Noon Jauri is a rice dish from Bhojpuri cuisine
Noon Jauri is a rice dish from Bhojpuri cuisine

Meethi Jaauri: Rice is cooked with either jaggery or sugar. Dry fruits & Saffron are added to it.

Meethi Jaauri
Meethi Jaauri

Dahi Jaauri: Partially cooked rice is mixed with beaten curd/yogurt. Spices are added to enhance the taste and flavour.[3]

Dahi Jauri (Curd Rice)
Dahi Jauri (Curd Rice)

Doodh Jauri: Rice is cooked in milk with ghee, dry fruits, sugar and spices like cardamom. This dish resembles Kheer, only difference being former is thicker.

Khichdi: It is often consumed as a convalescent food. But is also prepared on Makar Sankranti and Magh month. Khichdi is mostly consumed with pickle, chutney, pappad & yogurt. Khatua, a variant of Khichdi, which is flavoured by lemon juice is also prepared.

Khichdi
Khichdi

Lentils & Pulses

Dals: Lentils are mostly cooked in form of soups and consumed along with rice and rotis. Various kinds of lentils are used in Bhojpuri cuisine like Arhar (pigeon pea), Chana (split chickpea), moong (mung bean), matar (yellow peas) and urad dal (vigna mungo). However, Arhar dal is most commonly cooked. It is often flavoured with dry mango, panchphorn and jaggery.

Dal is staple food in Bhojpuri cuisine
Dal is staple food in Bhojpuri cuisine

Dal Pitthi/Pithori: Small wheat dumplings are made and cooked along with Dal. Dal gets a thick consistency. Dal Pitthi/Pithori is a combo in itself like Dal Roti or Dal Bhaat.[4]

Bhojpuri Dal Pitthi/Pithori
Bhojpuri Dal Pitthi/Pithori

Advari: It is prepared from fermented Urad Dal. Urad Dal is soaked in water and left to ferment. After fermentation it is dehusked and ground to a paste. Salt, spices, and pulp of Matua (petha) is added in it. Small dumplings are made out of the batter and left to dry in sun. These are then fried in hot oil. Advaris are added in vegetable preparations or rice dishes.

Phulvara (Pholourie): These are fritters made using Urad Flour powder known as Dhuaans locally. Dhuaans batter is prepared and spices like black pepper and Asafoetida. Small dumplings from batter are fried in hot oil. A hole is made in their centre using a wooden stick. It is served with chutney or dipped in yogurt.[5]

Phulvara
Phulvara

Peas and Beans

Ghughni: It is a curry made of soaked & boiled peas or chickpeas. Different variations of the dish use different types of peas or chickpaes, such as black gram, green peas, or white peas.[6]

Ghughni
Ghughni

Nimona: It is a spicy curry made by mincing peas or beans and sometimes even vegetables. Matar ka Nimona is the most common variant. Other than this nimonas are also made with Kala Channa and Gobhi. It is a popular winter dish.[7]

Vegetable preparations

Four types of Vegetable preparations are there:

1. Bhujiya (Stir fried vegetables): Chopped vegetables are stir fried in vegetable oil with spices and condiments.

Aloo ki Bhujiya
Aloo ki Bhujiya

2. Rasiya/Rassewali Bhaaji or Jhol (Vegetables with gravy or soup): Vegetables are cooked with some soup or gravy. For example Aloo Rassewale or Aloo Jhol. Sometimes peas/chhena pieces are added to make Aloo Matar Jhol and Aloo Chhena Jhol.

Aloo Matar Jhol
Aloo Matar Jhol

3. Bhariya/Kalauji (Stuffed vegetables): Vegetables like Karela (Bitter gourd), Baingan (Aubergine), Parwal, Bhindi (Okra), capsicum are stuffed with a special spice-mix and then cooked.[8]

Bhindi ki Kalauji
Bhindi ki Kalauji

4. Chokha (Mashed vegetables): Vegetables like Aubergines, tomatoes & tubers are charred/barbecued and then mashed. They are then cooked with spices.[9]

Baingan ka Chokha
Baingan ka Chokha

Leafy vegetable preparations

Saag: refers to leafy green vegetable preparations. Leaves of various plants are used for preparing Saag which include: Channa, Bathua, Methi, Palak, Sarson, Matar, Karemu, Noni etc. Channe ka Saag is most commonly prepared. It is often mixed with Bathua leaves to enhance the flavour. Chavrai Saag mixed with Palak is cooked in the seasoning of panchphoran. It is often prepared in marriages. Karemu ka Saag is prepared on Rishi panchmi festival. Sometimes, tubers (potatoes) and chhena (cottage cheese) are also added to Saag.

Litti, Dal and Choka with Saag
Litti, Dal and Choka with Saag

Girvanchh/Rikvanchh: Leaves of Arua are coated with a batter of besan and spices. Coated Leaves are then folded and deep fried in hot oil like fritters. They are commonly consumed in monsoon sesaon in the months of Shraavan.[10]

Girvanchh/Rikvanchh
Girvanchh/Rikvanchh

Yogurt based dishes

Kadhi Badi: Yogurt based curry cooked along with gram flour. Fritters called Badi are added to it. It is eaten with rice.

Kadhi Badi
Kadhi Badi

Dahi Phulvari (Dahi Bada): lentil flour fritters called phulvaris are prepared and soaked in flavoured yogurt. It is specially cooked during marriages and Pitri Paksha.

Dahi Phulvari
Dahi Phulvari

Dahi Phulki: Miniature crisp puris/phulkis are soaked in flavoured yogurt.

Dahi Chura: Yogurt is mixed with flattened rice and eaten along with some jaggery.

Raitas: These are prepared using adding vegetable crush with flavoured yogurt. Some vegetables used for making Raita are: Lauki, Kakkdi, Onion and Bathua. Often Boondis (Rain drop size fried gram flour balls) are also added to make Boondi Raita. Sometimes sweet raita is also prepared using bananas.

Kakkdi Raita with Mint
Kakkdi Raita with Mint

Staple diet

Wheat (Ganhum गँहूम्) and Rice (Chawal चावल) are the staple cereal of most of the peoples. Maize (Makai मकई), Barley (Jau जौ) and Pearl Millet (Bajra बाजड़ा) are also highly consumed in Bhojpuri cuisine.

Lentils (daal दाल), beans (lobiya लोबिया, rajma राजमा), meat (sikaar सिकार) (mutton, lamb and chicken; beef and pork are avoided), green vegetables (sabzi तरकारी), leafy vegetables (saag साग), paneer (पनीर), and fish (machhari मछरी) are major constituents of the regular diet of the peoples.

Breakfast

A heavy breakfast or a brunch is traditionally called Kalewa while a light breakfast is called Jalpaan. Breakfast in the region is roti based and includes a variety of breads made up of whole wheat or refined wheat flour which includes roti, puri, parathas especially Sattu Paranthas, Chhena Paranthas and Vegetable-stuffed parathas which are served with Saag-Bhaaji, dahi (yogurt), or raita. Breakfast is often accompanied with yogurt based drinks like Mattha, Chhachh and Banarasi Lassi.

Makuni or Berahi : This is a sattu stuffed wheat bread somewhat between Kachori and Litti. It is typically eaten in the brunch.[1]

Dhuska with Aloo Chhole or Aloo Ghugni: Dhuska is a fried bread made from fermented batter of rice and lentils. It is accompanied with Chickpea-based dish like Aloo Ghugni or Aloo Chhole.[2]

Chana Chabeni or Bhuja/Bhunjna is another typical breakfast of Bhojpur region. This dish is prepared on a big make shift stove called Bhadsar locally. There is also a Bhojpuri song mentioning this dish:

Chana Chabeni, Ganga Jal jo devai karta
Kashi kabhu na chhodiye, Baba Vishwanath bhavan

One who makes available Chana Chabeni and Ganga Jal (holy water of River Ganga) easily, no one should leave the court of Baba Vishwanath (Lord Shiva), the Lord of the world

— Upadhyaya[11]

Chiura Matar or Matar Ka Bhuja: It is a popular winter breakfast in Bhojpur region and is prepared by frying Chiura (flattened rice) and Matar (peas) separately and then mixed.[2]

Matar Chiura is a popular winter breakfast in Bhojpuri cuisine
Matar Chiura is a popular winter breakfast in Bhojpuri cuisine

Dahi Chura with Gud: Flattened rice is eaten with thick yogurt. Some Gud (Jaggery) is also topped in the dish. It is specifically prepared on Makar Sankranti day.[12]

On special occasions Lapsi-Puri, Kheer/Sevai-Puri, Pua-Dahi, Chhole-Puri, etc. are commonly served as breakfast. A more common breakfast served as street food includes Puri-Bhaaji, Chana, Kachori and Jalebi.

Lunch

Lunch is rice based and includes Dal (split beans like chana dal, masoor dal, moong dal, urad dal, arhar/tur dal etc. are cooked with water, turmeric powder and salt), sabzi-korma (vegetable or meat cooked in rich but mildly-spicy and balanced gravy), chokha (boiled, roasted and mashed potatoes, eggplants, tomatoes are mixed with several herbs and seasoning), chutney (dhaniya ka chutney or coriander chutney is the most traditional chutney of the region with rich flavour of coriander, green chilli, garlic, lemon and mustard oil), bhujia (pan fried potatoes cut in finger shapes), pickle and may also include rotis for those who prefer it over rice. On special occasions, several rice dishes like pulao, biryani etc. are served and several changes can be observed in the lunch. In fact, it can be completely changed and then it could have many delicious dishes, sweets and savouries.

Snacks

Generally served with tea, at evening time. It includes many kind of snacks mostly deep fried and salted. Most of the time, as a substitute for it, a handful and generous amount of dry fruits are eaten like kishmish (raisins), badam (almonds), khajur/chohara (dates), zameeni badam/chinia badam (peanuts), akharot (walnuts), chillgooza (pinenut), kaju (cashews), pista (pistachios) and anjeer (dried figs) soaked in milk.

Dinner

Dinner is also Roti based and is eaten with different vegetable preparations like:

  1. Bhujiya: Bhujiya refers to stir fried vegetables which are sauteed in spices & tubers. These are generally dry vegetable preparations which are cooked without any gravy. Different variants of Bhujiya are cooked like: Parore Aloo Ki Bhujia, Bhindi Aloo ki Bhujiya, Karele Aloo ki Bhujiya, Kundru ki Bhujiya, Chathail/Kantola ki Bhujiya.[13]
  2. Rasili Bhaaji: These are wet vegetable preparations which essentially include some gravy or soup. Examples include: Aloo Gobhi ki Rasili Bhaaji, Kathal ki Rasili Bhaaji, Aloo Parwal ki Rasili Bhaaji.

Sometimes, roti is broken into a bowl of hot milk (can be sweetened), and then eaten. It is often called doodh-roti. Sometimes, litti is grilled over charcoal or is baked in cowdung cakes or charcoal in a clay oven and is eaten with chokha or murga (chicken korma). Dinner could change at special occasions and can be replaced by meat dishes like korma (meat with gravy), kebab and kofta (meat balls with spicy gravy) and served with tandoori roti (harder than the usual pan baked roti) or naan and Salaad (salad).

Satvik Khana

There is a tradition of eating Satvik Khana (Sentient food) in the holy city of Banaras.

It is a Lacto Vegetarian diet and excludes the uses of garlic and onion.

Non Vegetarianism

Since ancient times, peoples of this region have been consuming non-vegetarian along with vegetarian diets. Also non-vegetarian dishes are seen as delicacies and are eaten with great relish. It has always been a custom to serve the guests any non-vegetarian dish at least once in their term of stay.

After the arrival of British, poultry became popular and now has become one of the largest contributor in meat yielding animals. But still mutton is regarded as the superior meat over poultry and fish.

Fish have also been popular since ancient times due to a large number of big and small rivers flowing through the region. Freshwater fish and small freshwater prawns also form a good proportion in total meat consumption.

Essentials

Spices & condiments

Amount of spices used in cooking are very few and sometimes can be just two or three kind of spices, which imparts a perfect aroma and taste, rather than putting all spices together and making the dish very spicy and hot.

Panch-phoran: It is a mix of five spices that is commonly used in Bhojpuri cuisine. The five spices in Panch-phoran include: Jeera (cumin), Radhuni (a strong spice), Methi-dana (dry fenugreek seeds), Saunph (fennel seeds) and Kalaunji (nigella seeds).[14] This spice mix is the essence of Bhojpuri dish Panch-phoran Kohra (sweet & spicy pumpkin based curry flavoured using these five spices).[15]

Panch-phodan: the five spice mix used in Bhojpuri cuisine
Panch-phodan: the five spice mix used in Bhojpuri cuisine

Other spices used in Bhojpuri cuisine include:

Herbs, oils & nuts

Tools & techniques

Common vegetables

Festival delicacies

In the region, a festival is celebrated by preparing several delicious dishes. And the dishes are shared with all communities irrespective of religion or caste.

Khichdi/Sekraat

Also called Makar Sankranti or Tilkut Sankranti, it is the first festival of the year. On this day, at morning, people eat Til ke laddu, Tilwa, Tilkut and Laai. And at lunch time, the combo of Chura-Dahi-Gud is eaten. And at evening special Khichdi is served along with melted ghee, Pickle, papar, chokha, chutney, and dahi.

Tilkut is prepared on Makar Sankranti day in Bhojpuri households
Tilkut is prepared on Makar Sankranti day in Bhojpuri households

Vasant Panchmi

This festival is celebrated as the last day of winter season and welcoming of spring season. On this day Lapsi is made of semolina. And is eaten with Puri.

Holi/Hori/Paguwa

Holi is one of the largest festival of Bhojpuri region. On this day, meat dishes and intoxicating drinks and sweets (thandai/bhang halwa) are the main attraction. In large families, a Bakra/Khasi (he-goat/sheep) is bought few days before the festival, and is slaughtered on the day of festival. The backstrap and shoulder parts are cut into small pieces and marinated in garlic, onion and few spices and then skewered over charcoal to make Bihari Seekh Kebab. Liver (kaleji) is cut into small pieces and is pan fried with a little salt and pepper. And is one of the delicacies for children. While the rest part of the meat are cooked as korma. The korma is eaten with Pua (a batter of wheat flour and sugar with various dry fruits, deep fried in ghee). Meat dishes are eaten all day and the meat is also shared with neighbourers and relatives. Also a very sweet halwa made up of dry fruits, condensed milk and bhang is prepared.

At evening/night, peoples enjoy delicious Pakora, Gulab jamun, Chhole, Dahi-baras, and Kadhi-bari served with boiled rice.

Shivraatri

On this day, the persons specially women who did fasting eat Phalahar (fruit diet).

Ramnavami

It is also one of the major festival of the region. A night before this festival, women cook Kheer, Puri, Dal-Puri and gulgula next morning after worshiping, these are eaten as offering whole day.

Sattuani/Sattua Sankranti

This festival falls on Mesh Sankranti day. A Sattuani Thaali is prepared on this day which includes foods with coolant properties like: Sattu Ka Panna, Aam ka Tikora, Kakkdi (Cucumber) with Roasted Jeera powder & Rock Salt and Alsi ki Chutney. A cup of Jirwani (buttermilk) also accompanies the Sattuani Thaali.[16]

Janmashtami

This occasion is linked with special Laapsi of Singhara (Chestnut) and Khas-Khas (Poppy seeds).

Hartalika Teej

A day before the festival, women dedicate their whole day in preparing Perukia. And on the day of this festival, they offer this dessert and fruits to the God and after the worshiping, it is eaten as offering. It can be eaten for several days as it doesn't require preservation or refrigeration.

Navami/Navraatar and Dassahara

Satvik khana is eaten on all the nine days of Puja. And on tenth day i.e., Dussehra special dishes like Puri, Kachori, Dum-Aloo, Chhole, Jalebi Pua, Bari-Kadhi, Dahi-Bara, etc. are cooked. At evening after "Ravan-Dahan", there is tradition of meat eating.

Diwali

This is one of the largest festival of the region and people enjoy eating numerous kind of sweets and savouries, like gujia, anarsa and ladoo. One sweet always associated with Diwali is Cheeni ke Khilone.

Chhath Puja

It is the largest festival of this region. It is celebrated 3 consecutive days. On first day "Nahay Khay", after the holy bath in river, boiled small grain "arwa chawal/sama ke chawal" is eaten with lauki ki sabzi (bottlegourd sautéd in ghee and li'l rock salt is added and cooked till done) and "Chane ki dal". On second day "Kharna", people take dip in holy Ganges and take the water home to cook Kheer (jaggery is used in place of sugar) and Puri. And is eaten as Prasad at night. Next day on "Dala Chhath" Thekua and belgrami is prepared by the women who are on fasting. After both the "Arghyas", on the fourth day, these sweets along with several fruits and dry fruits are served as Prasad. And is eaten for several days.

Dishes

Some dishes popular in Bhojpuri cuisine include:

Desserts

Anarsa
Balushahi
Balushahi
Thekua
Thekua
Rasmalai
Rasmalai
Khaja
Khaja
Burfi
Burfi
Gulab Jamun
Gulab Jamun
Sohnpapri
Sohnpapri
Jalebi
Jalebi
Pedukia
Pedukia
Matka Kulfi is most famous among Bhojpuri peoples
Matka Kulfi is most famous among Bhojpuri peoples

Drinks

Traditional Banarasi Lassi in a Kulhad
Traditional Banarasi Lassi in a Kulhad
Amjhora : Raw Mango drink from Bhojpuri cuisine
Amjhora : Raw Mango drink from Bhojpuri cuisine
Thandai is a popular sweet drink
Thandai is a popular sweet drink
Kachras/Ookh ka Ras
Kachras/Ookh ka Ras
Falooda
Falooda

Snacks

Pickle

In Bhojpuri region, pickling is quite common and traditional. There are varieties of pickles (Pickle & Murabba) prepared in each and every home. Aachar includes, Aam (Mango), Aãwla (Amla), Imli (Tamarind), Mooli (Radish), Lehsun (Garlick), Nimbu (Lemon), Lemu (Lime), Gajar (Carrot), Gobhi (Cauli flower), Sonth (Dried Ginger), Laal aur Hara Marcha (Red and Green Chilli) and Murabbas are generally prepared from Aãwla (Amla), Cheri (Cherries), Aam (Mango), also called Amawat etc.

Dips, chutneys and raita

Dips like raita and chutney are important part of Bhojpuri cuisine. There are several dips prepared which are served as a side dish to enhance the taste of the centre-piece meal.

Raita

Raitas are prepared by mixing thick dahi (yogurt) with several vegetable, herbs and seasonings.

Chutney

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c Bhatt, Neha (10 March 2018). "Beyond 'litti chokha'". LiveMint. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d "Thekua, Chura Matar and Dhuska from Bihari cuisine need as much exposure as Litti Chokha - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 20 June 2022.
  3. ^ a b Upādhyāya, Kr̥shṇadeva (1991). Bhojapurī loka-saṃskr̥ti (in Hindi). Hindī Sāhitya Sammelana, Prayāga.
  4. ^ "This Dal Pithi recipe from Bihar by Chef Suvir Saran has our heart! - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
  5. ^ Upādhyāya, Kr̥shṇadeva (1948). Bhojapurī loka-gīta (in Hindi). Hindī Sāhitya Sammelana.
  6. ^ Blake, Renée; Buchstaller, Isabelle (17 September 2019). The Routledge Companion to the Work of John R. Rickford. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-429-76532-2.
  7. ^ Maliwar, Dr Jyoti (15 August 2020). DR. JYOTI'S COMFORT FOOD. Dr. Jyoti Maliwar. ISBN 978-93-5408-824-7.
  8. ^ Sadhwani, Namrata (19 November 2021). A listicle of agrarian provisioning. M/s Greygrids graphics.
  9. ^ Chandrashekhar, Patricia. Once Upon a Meal - Untold Stories From The Indian Kitchens. StoryMirror Infotech Pvt Ltd. ISBN 978-93-87269-88-0.
  10. ^ Mahrotra, Rameshchandra (1 January 2009). Manak Hindi Ke Shuddh-Prayog (Vol-2 of 4) (in Hindi). Radhakrishna Prakashan. ISBN 978-81-7119-470-4.
  11. ^ Menke, Henk; Buckingham, Jane; Gounder, Farzana; Kumar, Ashutosh; Hassankhan, Maurits S. (2 December 2020). Social Aspects of Health, Medicine and Disease in the Colonial and Post-colonial Era. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-000-32993-3.
  12. ^ "As delightful as it gets: Bhojpuri cuisine". www.dailyo.in. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  13. ^ Kumar, Prasenjeet; Kumar, Sonali (15 August 2016). The Ultimate Guide to Cooking Vegetables the Indian Way: #9 in the Cooking In A Jiffy Series. www.cookinginajiffy.com.
  14. ^ "The Bhojpuri feast". India Perspectives. 2 October 2020. Retrieved 18 June 2022. ..panchphoran (a mix of cumin; radhuni, a strong spice; dry fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds and nigella seeds) are the two pillars of Bihari cuisine
  15. ^ "A Bhojpuri food festival curated by Pallavi Nigam Sahay aims to highlight the region's cuisine". The Indian Express. 21 December 2017. Retrieved 18 June 2022.
  16. ^ "Satuani 2021: Date, significance and special foods". BombayTimes. 12 April 2021. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  17. ^ Gupta, Subhadra Sen (2004). Varanasi: A Pilgrimage to Light. Rupa & Company. ISBN 978-81-291-0165-5.
  18. ^ "9 Varanasi (Benaras) Street Foods that You Shouldn't Miss". NDTV Food. Retrieved 18 June 2022. lassi is available at almost every other street shop from morning till wee hours of the night. It is served in a kulhad topped with Rabri and flavoured with rose essence
  19. ^ Tripathi, Vishwanath (1 January 2004). Nangatalai Ka Gaon (in Hindi). Rajkamal Prakashan. ISBN 978-81-267-0876-5.