THEKUA [BIHARI BISCUIT] – SINDHU
Here is Bihar’s answer to the western biscuit or cookie, but a rude food version. It is vegetarian, uses whole wheat and no has no eggs or baking soda. There are several variants which we shall also describe below.
3 cups of whole wheat flour.
1 cup sugar
1/2 cups water.
1 teaspoon green fenugreek (green saunff).
1/2 teaspoon of caedamom (elaichi) powder.
3 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)to be mixed with the flour and in addition ghee (clarified butter) for frying.
Method: Put the sugar in the half cup of water and set it aside for 10 minutes. Knead well the flour with 3 table spoons of ghee. Then add the fenugreek seeds and cardomom powder to the flour and knead well again. Then add the sugar syrup you had set aside to the flour and knead it well. Take small round pieces and pat it flat. At this point you may want to etch a design on to it using a wooden template called the Sancha. The sancha can be bought in any rural bazaar in Bihar. If you do not have one you can use a comb or a wooden basket to etch a design. This is purely optional and for aesthetics. The thekua will taste just as good without the design.
Now melt ghee in a pan and deep fry the thekua to a brownish hue on a slow flame. A strong flame will result in an partially cooked thekua.
The thekua is a snack item and packs a punch of energy. It lasts for a long time and is often carried in journeys and pilgrimages. Siddharth’s mother took it with her in the ardous treks to Kedarnath, Gangotri- Gaumukh and Jamnotri. It is a must offering in the Chaath festival and children wait eagerly for the offering to be made on the morning of Kartik Saptami (also called (Parna) so that they can then partake of it. Many childhood memories are associated with it.
There are variants to the thekua. If a good amount of ghee is mixed with the flour the thekua soft and in this form it called Khasta. If no ghee, sugar or elaichi is added to the flour while kneading and the peices are simply fried in ghee it is called Rot (pronounced as oat).