RCI: Cuisine of Bihar

This month’s RCI is the Cuisine of Bihar, hosted by Sangeeta of Ghar ka Khana.

The Bihari cuisine is an amalgamation of simplicity of style and variations in colour. The style being handed down to the new generation by the older one, and the colours being provided by the seasonal vegetables and fruits. Bihar sees all different seasons. Fruits and vegetables are abundantly grown, consumed and also exported from Bihar, Litchi being noteworthy.

As the seasons change so does the Bihari thaali, in every 3-4 months. The constants are rice, thin round chapaatis made over tava and flame (called phulka or simply roti in Bihar), daals ( with seasonings changing with the seasons !) and milk products.”

Characteristic of this cuisine is the use of pungent mustard oil, and   the use of panchforan (Mohita’s spelling) in cooking vegetables.  Please note that this is not the panch phoron that I blogged about. This spice mixture has ajwain or carom seeds instead of cumin seed. Bihari panchforan is made by mixing together the same qunatities of fennel seeds, mustard seeds, ajwain/carom seeds and nigella/onion seeds. Furthermore, there is a lot of light frying in Bihari food, and the food is generally spicy.

(SOURCE: Mohita Prasad)

 

The dish I have chosen has the above characteristics: it uses panchforon, and the potatoes are lightly fried in the masalas. It is very simple to make, and still delicious. If you can, don’t omit the ajwain seeds because they give a distinct note to the dish. I made a mistake in beginning used my panch phoron, and corrected it by adding 1/6 tsp ajwain seeds popped in some hot oil. This made a real difference to the dish.

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IMG_8029

Aalu Tomato Rasedaar In Panchforan

SOURCE: Bihari Cuisine by Mohita Prasad

PREPARATION TIME: 2 min

COOKING TIME: 20 – 30 min

CUISINE: Indian – Bihari

SERVES: 2 (as a main course)

Ingredients

4 medium potatoes, cubed
2 medium tomatoes*
oil – 6 tbsp
coriander leaves
panchforan ( or cumin seeds) – 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Water as needed

Powdered masala:

Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder- 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder- 1 tsp
Red Chili powder- 1/2 tsp

Method:

1. Heat the oil in a pan,  and add panchforan seeds to it.

2. As soon as panchforan starts to splutter, add the potato to it.

3. Saute the potato for 2 minutes over medium heat, then add the powdered masalas to it. Saute for 3 minutes.

4. Cover the pan and cook on low heat for 5 minutes.

5. Add the chopped tomatoes, water (depending on how much sauce you want)and cover the pan again. Keep it covered till the potato gets tender and the curry starts looking red. The tomatoes will have dissolved completely, and the oil will start to float on the surface. This usually takes 10 minutes.

6. Garnish with chopped coriander leaf, and serve with chapaatis or rice.

Notes

* I am serving this with naan, and I wanted more sauce, so I added 1 can of tomatoes instead of fresh tomatoes.

Don’t use more panch phoron than indicated, because the fenugreek seeds will make it rather bitter. If you like it bitter, by all means, go ahead and add more!

IMG_8015

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Blogging event Regional Cuisines of India (RCI) was started by Lakshmi of Veggie Cuisine, to celebrate the rich and diverse cuisines of India, and is hosted by a different blogger each month. I think this event is a fantastic idea, because not only does it encourage us to explore the many varieties of regional Indian food, but the round-ups also provide excellent resources of information and recipes! For this reason, I’ve decided to dedicate a page to it, so I can find it and refer to it easily!

I also took part in RCI Punjab with my post on Chana Masala.

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