‘‘Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.”
Though Bihar is considered as the abodes of Buddhist monks, it is also the home of the oldest Hindu temple. Considered the epicenter of knowledge, this East Indian state has some of the major historical importance. Bihari cuisine is greatly influenced by East Indian style of cuisine specially with the use of spices.
Ohri’s Group of Hotels has a vast presence in Hyderabad offering some variety of food for the food lovers in the city. After the last successful campaign in Tansen, under the guidance of their Executive Chef, Amey R Marathe, who have spent a greater amount of time in Bihar, this year too they are hosting Bihar Food Festival in Ohri’s Rubaiyat from 11th – 20th November (will be extended based on demand).
Although my interaction with Bihari cuisine is only limited to Litti-Chokha, it offers a range of uniquely prepared vegetarian & non-vegetarian dishes. Thanks to Vishal Fernandes (Jet Set Eat) I got the opportunity to be part of this festival. The offerings are all on a la carte and based on your liking you can order on the table.
We were welcomed with a glass of Sattu ki Thandi, considered a cooler prevents the body from overheating and brings down the body temperature significantly. So after a refreshing start, it was time for munching delights.
Here is the highlight of everything served to us (in no particular order) as part of the festival promotion.
Ghugni Samosa – Though the ghugni didn’t turn out as expected, the aloo Samosa was quite different with the chat masala and amchur.
Dal Pitha – On the first impression, it looked nothing less than Nepalese Momo but once you have a bite, you can feel the dry cooked urad dal with the tadka inside. The accompanying chutney compliments the dish.
Litti Chokha – Needs no introduction and most people get connected to the cuisine only for this. Perfectly done on tandoor. The sattu inside was very well baked and along with chokha, it was a complete meal. Though some hot ghee on the side would have made it notch above.
Nimki – A very common snacks in Eastern region kitchen. Crunchy with tomato sauce dip. You don’t get the crispness if not served hot.
Khassi ki Litti – I am sure this might be a innovation for Ohri’s since Litti is identified more being meatless. They stuffed it with Mutton Keema and turned out to be quite a delight for the meat lovers.
Machali Pakode – This took me back to old Bengali wedding dinner where Fish Orly was a very common affair. The crispy outer layer battered and deep fried. It is believed that this dish had a French Connection but it hardly matters to a bengali as long as it’s fishy.
Murgh Bihari Kebab – One of the finest Sheek kabab I have eaten in recent times. You could feel the use of hands while making it. The juicy and enriched with the right amount of spices and served hot kick started our appetite.
Kairi ki Dal – A very common summer dish around the country. The tangy taste to the dal makes it a palate changer. The dal offered to us were mild and a little less on tanginess.
Papda ki Sabzi – Though it’s a traditional Rajasthani dish, they are quite prominent in Bihari household too. The version we were served went great with the Ajwaini Methi Paratha.
Kadhi vadi – Again this is influenced from Gujarati cuisine but the taste vary on the sweetness of the kadi. This gravy which complimented well with the Dal Poori & Sattu Poori.
Dum Aloo – Though I not much of a big aloo fan anymore, what I liked most was the tomato gravy and the roasted masala which leaves an aftertaste you would cherish.
Chicken Haldi Ghati – I couldn’t have been more excited seeing this on the menu. The last time I tried at Colonel’s Kitchen in New Delhi, I fell in love. Though the style of preparation was a little different here but full marks for the taste.
Bhunja Meat – I was seriously looking forward to this since I had the combination of Malpua & Mutton curry in a Bihari home couple of years back. Though the mutton was not as spicy here but I could relate to the homely taste. The meat could have been a little more tender had they used a younger goat but the “kosha” was done right.
Malpua – This is pancake like dessert very popular in India & Bangladesh. However, they are mostly prevalent in Odisha and is also served to Lord Jagannath of Puri in his Sakala Dhupa. The ones served for the festival was less crispy but soft and juicy. The thickness was just right to fold and have a bite. The syrup was flavoured with saffron to get a golden touch.
Balushai – Common dessert both in South & North India. The ones served in the South are juicy and usually fried in ghee. The one served in the festival was dry with the khowa inside milder on sweetness.
Shareefa Ki Rabdi – This definitely was the #dishoftheday. Why? Cause, the dish was very unique & seasonal. Custard Apple is available in abundance in the market and making a dessert so smooth and delicious needs a special appreciation for the chef. I believe they should make it a regular feature in their menu during the season. Wondering how ‘Mango ki Rabdi’ would turn out.
Taking part in this festival definitely gave me a lot of insight on the Bihari Cuisine and how it is influenced by different regional cuisines of India. My experience was totally based on the invitation extended by the business.
If you choose to visit the festival, do share about your experience in the comments section below.
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