Food Names in Bihar and What They Mean in Regular Hindi

7 Jan

We moved to Delhi from Patna when I was twelve. Before the move I thought that apart from the differences in personal pronoun usage and transitive verb syntax, the two places spoke the same language Hindi.

It took me by surprise when I discovered that in discussions about food, my new non-Bihari friends and I were often talking the equivalent of Greek and Latin. I told them I disliked kaddu, they assumed I disliked red pumpkin. When I said "Red pumpkin is not kaddu, it’s kohra! I meant bottle gourd", they said – "Bottle gourd is not kaddu, it’s lauki!"

And so after years of talking at cross-purposes, I’ve made a list of food nomenclature differences between Bihar Hindi and "regular" Hindi. I hope this is fun/useful for those who’ve gone through a similar geographical shift.

English Name/
Regular Hindi Name Bihar Hindi Name Remarks
Bottle gourd Lauki Kaddu  
Red Pumpkin Kaddu Kohra  
Sponge Gourd Torai Nenua  
Taro/Colocasia Arbi Arui  
Yam Jimmikand Ole Rhymes with ‘role’, not with the Spanish interjection.
Flattened rice Chiwra Chura  
Mustard oil Sarson tel Karua tel Karua = bitter, a nod to the strong flavor of mustard.
Nigella seeds Kalonji Mangrail  
Boiled rice Chawal Bhaat In Bihar, chawal is only uncooked rice. Plain boiled white rice is bhaat.
Mashed vegetables Bharta Chokha Actually, Bihar’s chokha is a lot simpler than Delhi’s bharta.
Savory pancake Cheela Papra  
Savory snack with filling Samosa Singhara  
Sweet Empanada Gujiya Pirukiya  


Know of more? Share please.

Interested in knowing more about food from Bihar? Read the Bihari recipes featured on The Steaming Pot.

4 Responses to “Food Names in Bihar and What They Mean in Regular Hindi”

  1. Nita October 12, 2015 at 12:38 PM #

    Hi dear,

    I just happened to chance upon your website and found it to be so refreshingly sorted. Also you have a special section for Bihari recipes is something that attracted me to it since I am also from Patna. My all time favourite comfort food has to be Dal-Bhaat-Chokha-Achaar.

    • S October 14, 2015 at 2:14 PM #

      Hi Nita, Lovely to hear that your feedback. Nothing like simple home-cooked food :-) I am about to post about “pua” next!

  2. Saswat Pandey January 7, 2017 at 11:38 PM #

    Sahi hai bhai. If you move to south india. It’s all together new experience. Most of vegetable named as kaai ex awakaai. Bhindi as bindikaai. Ground vegetables named as gedde like aloogedde . Saag as soppo.

  3. Binud talukdar September 27, 2017 at 10:20 AM #

    Pirar kya hota hai? Uska english naam kya hai?

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