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Monday, September 14, 2020

Bihari Thaali ~ Aloo Bhujiya Subzi

My second regional thaali is from Bihar and is more like a home cooked meal rather than restaurant style one. Bihar is one of the states in the eastern part of India and so their cooking is similar to their neighbors in Bengal and also north Indian cooking in general. Bihari cuisine includes Bhojpuri, Maithili and Magahi cuisines and my thaali includes Mithila dishes like taruva and shakrouri. Everyday meals include the standard rice, roti, dals, pickles and vegetable preparations similar to the neighboring states but the dishes keep changing seasonally. Use of mustard oil, the five spice blend panch phoran, milk products are common features of Bihari cuisine while dishes with garam masala are less common. Most dishes are steamed with a light seasoning. Biharis are famous for their kebabs while they have wide range of vegetarian cuisine. Some of the vegetarian dishes popular in the region are sattu ke parathe, litti chowka,  dal pitha, thekua, tarua, posta daana ka halwa, khurma, makhana kheer, lai, kasar, paan peda and others. (Some info from wiki)
I had a vague idea about what I am going to include in this thaali  as my husband had lived about a year or so in Ranchi long back. Sattu ke parathe, aloo bhujiya, lauki chana dal, ghugni, chowka were a given. The rest came into thaali after I watched several Bihari recipes on YouTube which also included a thaali meal from the Mithila region. The woman cooks traditional food from her humble kitchen and I appreciate her daughter's efforts to showcase her mom's culinary expertise virtually. I literally recreated her sattu ke parathe, tharuve, tomato chutney, and the dessert shakrouri recipes in my kitchen. Sattu ke parathe and the chowka were match made in heaven. We very much enjoyed bhavra and tharuve that I have made the latter two more times. Shakrouri was a delight to my sweet tooth. Now I know what to do when I have leftover laddus.

My Bihari thaali menu is below.

Cucumber slices
Rice and Bread:
Sattu ke parathe - Flatbreads stuffed with sattu, roasted and ground Bengal gram
Dal and Curries:
Aloo Bhujiya - Dry potato saute 
Ghugni - Black chickpea curry
Lauki Chane dal - Bottle gourd and split chickpea dal (Recipe is here.)
Kele ke tharuva - Crisp, fried plantains (Recipe here )
Bhavra - Black garbanzo bean fritters
Tamatar ki chutney - Tomato chutney
Raita - Yogurt sauce
Shakrouri - Boondi kheer

I decided to post a simple recipe for Aloo bhujiya today as I did not take step by step pictures for this particular one. The aoo bhujiya I am referring to here is not the savory snack / the fried chickpea noodles but is a dry potato saute popular in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh states. It is a simple stir fry cooked in mustard oil, and flavored just with cumin seeds and red chillies. No garlic - ginger paste or special spice blends are needed here. The potatoes are cut into strips and cooked in mustard oil which is the cooking medium in Bihari cuisine, which lends it's signature flavor. We are not fans of mustard oil and so I used olive oil here but use mustard oil if you can. I did not cook the potatoes to a point of roasting or lightly browning them as some of the online recipes suggested. I cooked them until they were done as my husband remembers the subzi.

3 / 4 potatoes
1 to 2 tbsp. mustard oil (or oil of your choice)
1 tsp. cumin seeds
3 red chillies or to taste, broken into bits
2 pinches of ground turmeric
Salt to taste

* Peel the potatoes and cut into strips like you do for French fries. 
* Heat oil in a non stick pan until it almost reaches smoking point if using mustard oil. Add cumin seeds and red chillies. When the cumin and chilies start to turn a shade darker, add potatoes and turmeric. Stir once, cover and cook on low medium flame until they are done, stirring gently now and then. 
* They can be fried more until they turn a little crisp and brown, if desired. Add salt finally, give it a mix and cook for few seconds more. Turn off the stove and serve warm with rice / rotis.



vaishali sabnani said...

Suma , I have travelled to Bihar and met lot of chefs who were locals there , so yes , I really learnt a lot from them , but yet I do see some new names in this Thali.
We love this cuisine and your thali is tempting, everything on that plate looks excellent !
Bhujiya I understand is the name given to the dry sabzi s , sattu parathas are one of the best parathas , very delicious .

Srivalli said...

Suma, this thali is really so well set up with all the popular dishes from the cuisine. I love Bihari dishes, their dishes are quite simple and easy to make. Some of the new dishes you have shared sound so inviting, bookmarking them for later...very well put together meal...your simple setup always look so classic!..must ask for camera details offline..:)

Harini R said...

I am yet to explore Bihari cuisine and your thali is definitely a first step for me. I have heard of Sattu parathas but somehow never got to making it.

rajani said...

Such an impressive thali! My post for today also has lauki Chana but it’s prepared with the usual onion tomato masala base mix where as yours looks less heavy on masalas. I want to make sathu paratha now I know what to serve it with.

Srividhya said...

This is so amazing. I am yet to explore the Eastern Indian cuisine. A lot to learn and your thali is scrumptious. Simply love it and bookmarking it.

Narmadha said...

Another amazing thali. You do lot of research about different cuisines. This platter looks classic with each dish complimenting each other.

cookwithrenu said...

Wow interesting thali this is, healthy and delicious. I am loving that kele ke tharuva, looks nice,crispy and yummy