Diversity is a thing of beauty in India. Since time immemorial, our nation has been the cultural melting pot encompassing in itself various languages, traditions, music, art, and whatnot. And this inclusion of different cultural elements is quite evident from our heterogeneous food landscape that comprises the best of regional preparations to make one wholesome national cuisine. And even though Indian food is famous for luring gourmands from far and wide, there’s still a lack of knowledge when it comes to our regional delicacies. One such little-known but oh-so-delicious fare of India is Bihari food. We say ‘little known’ because most of us, who are not from the area would struggle to even name a few of Bihari dishes other than its signature ‘Litti Chokha’.
And that is precisely why this authentic Bihari food serving chain, The Potbelly has been doing so great since its first restaurant opened its door in Chanakyapuri's Bihar Niwas.
By far, the only chain up north that holds the bastion for this cuisine, The Potbelly has since opened two more outposts in Delhi NCR, The Potbelly Divine in 32nd Milestone, Gurgaon, and The Potbelly Rooftop Cafe in Shahpur Jat, South Delhi, both of which endeavor to introduce foodies to the novel delicacies and flavors of Bihar, beyond 'Liiti-Chokha'.
The culinary magic of this unique place is not only limited to Delhi. After its successful endeavors in the National Capital Region, this much-adored eatery has now opened its doors in the city of Bengaluru as well. An eponym of its famous Delhi branch, Potbelly Divine in Bengaluru's popular Indiranagar area is now set out to open the palate of local diners' to the unexplored gastronomy of Bihar.
Staying true to its Bihari roots, the food at Potbelly features ingredients that are unique and local to the region. For instance, their gravies are tempered with ‘Panch Phoran’ a whole spice blend originated from Bihar and other Eastern Indian regions that features a mix of fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, nigella seeds, cumin seeds. This mixture along with the traditional usage of cold-pressed mustard oil and the principal technique of slow cooking are some of the predominant elements that give Bihari cuisine its signature depth and complexity of flavors.
Now talking about some of their signature dishes, start your culinary adventure with their delectable appetiser-‘Bachka Basket’, a combination of potato, spinach, raw banana, and eggplant fritters served with Tomato and Parwal Chokha and Chutney.
Moving on to the mains, you have got to try the Bihar’s trademark- Litti Chokha (whole wheat balls stuffed with a spiced gram flour called Sattu and dipped in Ghee, Aloo, and Baingan Chokha), which is available with vegetarian and non-vegetarian accompaniments.
Their Dehati Platter, with Dal, Sabzi, Poori, Pulao, Chokha, and Raita is also another popular and extremely delicious option. For nonvegetarians, their house special Ahuna Mutton, slow-cooked in earthen pots, is a popular East Champaran dish. Seafood lovers are sure to fall in love with their Sarson Machhli, a traditional mustard gravy-based fish curry preparation served with steamed rice.
And to tie it all together, end your meal on a sweet note with their decadent Raspua, a pancake of refined flour and fennel seeds cooked in ghee, dipped in sugar syrup, and served with homemade kulfi. So, fellow foodies, the next time you have a hankering to try something different or feel like treating yourself to a grounding yet delightful dining experience, head to any of the Potbelly restaurants in your city and indulge in a flavorful Bihari feast like no other
Gargi Bisht is an event copywriter/conceptualizer turned writer currently working with EazyDiner Pvt. Ltd. Compulsive eater, book hoarder, dog lover and pop culture enthusiast with an innate love for storytelling. Usually the quietest person in the room, Gargi is an introvert who loves her own company. When not eating, can be found in front of her laptop watching movies. Knows a thing or two about art and literature.
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