Can you think of a dessert that can be as crunchy as samosa or tacos and as sweet as rasogulla or cake?? Well, I guess you can’t even imagine such a thing if you are not a Bihari or you’ve never tasted the super famous Bihari dessert “SILAO KA KHAJA“. Silao is a town in the Nalanda district of Bihar, which made the whole state proud by registering its name in Geographical Indication for its sweet “Khaja”, which means putting Bihar on the world map for a cuisine. Now, it is a popular spot for travelling foodies. Silao is so famous because of Khaja that both words can not be separated from each other.
If you are a foodie, I am sure you must be excited to know the recipe of this super crunchy sweet cuisine. But before sharing the recipe, I would like to inform you that Khaja defines the people of Bihar. Bihari people are famous for their hard work and sweet nature, and the recipe of Khaja includes both. It takes a lot of physical labour and patience to make this awesome dessert. And even after making all the effort, it is not as expensive as other sweet dishes. Can you imagine anything which can define a Bihari more aptly than this? No, na? Well, while telling you the recipe, I will tell you more about the similarities, you just need to keep reading!
Maida(all-purpose wheat flour) is crumbled and mixed with a pinch of salt and ghee and then it is kneaded till a smooth and soft dough. After this, it is patiently kept aside for a fixed time to make it softer and fluffy. Another process that goes similar to this, making a thick paste of maida, ghee/refined/dalda and water. Water plays a significant role here, the water of Silao has a high ph level and chlorine content in it, which contribute to taste and puffiness. Then it is rolled up and divided or cut, which is called ‘Kalam’ in the local language, then it is again rolled into 50-60 layers and cut. Then it is deep-fried in oil or ghee. And then finally it is dipped into the hot sugar syrup. This kneading and rolling process a lot of labour.
Isn’t it similar to a human being(khaja) having a good amount of politeness(ghee), and layered with patience/ tolerance level and then coated with sweet nature(sugar syrup) ?
However, the GI tag to Silao Khaja was given on the 11th of December 2018 by Geographical Indication Registry, Chennai; the story of this cuisine dates back to the Buddhist era. It is said that Lord Budhha while doing vihara, visited Silao, where he was offered this sweet, and he named it Kha-ja which is a Sanskrit word that means crispy sweet. The Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang also mentioned khaja in his book where he compared it with mid-East cuisine Baklava. It is also connected with the period of King Vikramaditya.
It is not that Khaja is only made in Bihar, you can also find it in different parts of India such as Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu; but Silao, Bihar is the origin place of Khaja. So if you are a foodie or a sweet lover, in the era of new experiments, I would like to strongly recommend you to taste this historical and conventional dish so that we do not forget our traditional cuisines.
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