In today’s episode, we bring you a brief Mithai trail between Patna to Gaya. The sweets available in this stretch are not of any robust and luxuriant kinds but are humble and traditional stuff. There were four destinations on this trail. This included Fatua, Dhanarua, Nishalganj, and Silao. Let's see what all did we try and what was so unique about them.
While driving down the National highway, the first place that we halted at was a crowded tea stall under the four-lane flyover in Fatua called Neha Tea Stall. Our intention was to replenish our spirit with an energizing cup of tea because it had been a while since we have been driving. Interestingly it was not the usual milky tea but matke wali chai or tea made in a clay pot. The earthy tone from the clay pot lent a unique taste to this well-brewed tea. Speaking to the locals we came to know about this sweet from Fatua called Mirjai. After gulping down two cups each of this matka wali tea, along with equally yummy peanut encrusted cookies we set out in search of Mirjai.
A short drive led us to Maharani Chowk in Fatuha. Mirjai is the popular sweet in this part. It is a deep-fried sweet snack made from maida, jaggery, or sugar and shortening. This disc-shaped snack had a firm yet crumbly texture and was fun to have. After a quick chat with the owners of Amit Mirjai shop, we headed to our next destination Danarua that is famous for Lai Ke Ladoo.
After a 32 km drive, we reached Om Sai Baba Lai Bhandar in Dhanarua that is quite a renowned one among the numerous lai shops. We were lucky to arrive there right at the time when a fresh batch of lai ke ladoos was being made over here. Made with Khoya, sugar and a unique ingredient called khobi dana which was very similar or perhaps is the amaranth seeds, this sweet was light and delicious. The khoya too was prepared in the shop itself. The use of cardamom powder also enhanced its deliciousness. They were so good that we got some packed for later use.
While heading to our next destination Silao, we came to know about this small town called Nischalganj where Pedas are a popular thing. The place is lined with numerous shops selling this traditional sweet made of khoya and sugar. To find out what was so unique about the pedas available over here, we checked into Shiv Shankar Ji shop. At one corner the khoya was being cooked and at the front part, fresh balls of pedas were being rolled out from prepared khoya-based dough. The soft, dense, and delicate pedas were so yummy indeed.
From there we resumed our journey for Silao, a town famous for the sweet treat called khaja. This classic stuff, that Silao is renowned for is a super delicate, multi-layered deep-fried puff pastry. This too is lined up with khaja stores but the most famous one is the old Kali Shah Khaja Shop. Under a popular belief system, the moreish and delicate taste and texture of these khaja are attributed to the air and water of this area. Due to its quintessential fame, it has received the GI tag as well. Silao ka khaja is a must try if you are travelling en route to Gaya.
As we headed to Gaya in search of its popular flavours, we felt enriched and delighted to learn about the unique sweets available across this region. We will see you soon in the next exploration. Till then keep walking and keep exploring.