To know about the history, geography, economical status and culture of the state of Bihar one can take a look at its cuisine. Food habits of Bihar shows how the cuisine of the state has evolved over centuries under the influence of various cultures and regimes which controlled it from time to time.
Lord Buddha attained enlightenment in Bihar and hence the impact of Buddhism is significant of the state.People are largely vegetarian though many are fond of chicken and meat dishes. Bihar has also been under the reign of mighty Moghuls and naturally the exotic Mughal cuisine affected the Bihar style of cooking and the taste of the inhabitants of the state. Remarkable factor of the Bihari cuisine is that the state has imbibed the best and most suitable aspects of the Gupta, Maurayan, Turk, Afghan, Persion and European style of cooking and at the same time retained a food culture that bears a distinct hallmark of Bihar.
Wheat and rice are the staple food of Bihar and Jharkhand (Jharkhand was till recently a part of Bihar and shares food habits with its parent state). Vegetables are grown in abundance and cooked in a variety. A regular Bihari meal consists of dal, bhat (rice), phulka (roti), tarkari (sabzi) and achar (pickles). But as the seasons change so does the Bihari thali. It is said that just as the seasons change four times in a year, so does the contents of the Bihari meals.
Striking feature of Bihari cuisine is their 'chhonkna' (tadka) with 'panchforan' (a mix of five seeds - saunf, sarson, methi, ajwain and mangraila). People here are very fond of doing 'bhoonjana' to food items, this implies light frying. Dishes are generally very spicy and colourful. Mainly mustard oil is used as a medium of cooking.
Dishes and drinks made from energy rich, sattu (powdered gram) are popular all over the country. Food habits differs in various regions of the state. Tribals which constitute a significant percentage of the state population have their own style of cooking food. Mahua flour, maize, millets and edible roots and tubers are are the chief ingredients of a typical tribal meal in Chhotanagpur area.