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Bihari cuisine is eaten mainly in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, as well as in the places where people originating from the state of Bihar have settled: Jharkhand, Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bangladesh, Nepal, Mauritius, South Africa, Fiji, some cities of Pakistan, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Jamaica, and the Caribbean. Bihari cuisine includes Bhojpuri cuisine, Maithil cuisine and Magahi cuisine.
The cuisine of Bihar is largely similar to North indian cuisine and East Indian cuisines. It is highly seasonal; watery foods such as watermelon and sharbat made from the pulp of the wood-apple fruit are consumed mainly in the summer months, while dry foods such as preparations made of sesame seeds and poppy seeds are consumed more frequently in the winter months.
Bihari cuisine include litti chokha, a baked salted wheat-flour cake filled with sattu (baked chickpea flour) and some special spices, which is served with baigan bharta, made of roasted eggplant (brinjal) and tomatoes. Dairy products are consumed frequently throughout the year, including dahi (yogurt), spiced buttermilk (known as mattha), ghee, lassi and butter.
There are numerous Bihari meat dishes, with chicken and mutton being the most common. Fish dishes are especially common in the Mithila region of North Bihar due to the number of rivers, such as the Sone, Gandak, Ganges and Koshi. Among meat dishes, meat saalan is a popular dish made of mutton or goat curry with cubed potatoes in garam masala. Dalpuri is another popular dish in Bihar. It is salted wheat-flour bread, filled with boiled, crushed, and fried gram pulses.
Malpua is a popular sweet dish of Bihar, prepared by a mixture of maida, milk, bananas, cashew nuts, peanuts, raisins, sugar, water, and green cardamom. Another notable sweet dish of Bihar is balushahi, which is prepared by a specially treated combination of maida and sugar along with ghee, and the other worldwide famous sweet, khaja is made from flour, vegetable fat, and sugar, which is mainly used in weddings and other occasions. Silao near Nalanda is famous for its production. During the festival of Chhath, thekua, a sweet dish made of ghee, jaggery, and whole-meal flour, flavoured with aniseed, is made.
As the seasons change so does the Bihari thali, every 3–4 months. The constants are rice, roti, achar, chatni, dals and milk products, with some variation.
For the frying and tempering (chhounkna / tadka) of certain vegetable dishes, Bihari cuisine makes use of vegetable oil or mustard oil and panch phoron — literally the "five spices": fennel seed (saunf), black mustard seed (sarson), fenugreek seed (methi), cumin seed (jeera) and nigella seed (kalonji or mangraeel). There is a lot of light frying (bhoonjnaa) in Bihari cuisine.
One remarkable tradition is "smoked food", referring to the use of smoked red chilli to infuse a strong aroma in food. Smoked chilli is used in preparing chokhaa, i.e. mashed brinjals / potatoes / tomatoes, either single or combined. Smoked chilli is also used in preparing kadam chutney (the kadam is a common fruit that is sweet-sour in taste).
Main articles: Bhojpuri cuisine, Maithil cuisine, and Magahi cuisine
Bihari cuisine is closer to Bengali cuisine with lesser Central Asian influence. Most dishes are steamed with a chaunk of spices. Turmeric is usually added to every preparation. Dishes using garam masala are less common.
The distinctive Bihari flavour of non-vegetarian cooking finds mention in the memoirs of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, who found it quite tasty. Forms of kebabs, mutton preparations and dishes prepared from various fowl and birds have a distinctive flavor. Biharis are quite famous for their Bihari kebabs, another typical Bihari non-vegetarian dish. This dish was traditionally made from mutton and is eaten with roti, paratha or boiled rice. The region of Champaran is famous for a grilled mutton dish called taash. Recently, in fast food restaurants, Bihari kebabs are also sold as Bihari kebab rolls, which are essentially kebabs wrapped up in a paratha.
There is a large variety of traditional sweet delicacies in Bihar. Unlike Oriya and Bengali sweets, which are soaked in syrups made of sugar and are therefore wet, Bihar's sweets are mostly dry.
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