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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

BENGALI CUISINE:

HISTORY:

1) A distinct culinary tradition emerged in Bengal based on the availability of local ingredients.
The great river systems, heat and humidity combine with the fertile soil to allow rice and an
abundance of vegetables to thrive; these became the corner stones of the diet. Mangoes,
bananas, coconuts, and cane sugar grew in abundance; fish, milk, and meat were plentiful;
yogurt and spices such as ginger and black mustard would season the dishes.

2) Even though fish and meat were generally popular, there was a predisposition to
vegetarianism, based on religious principles, that has continued to the present.

3) Rice, the staple of Bengalis since ancient times, has remained untouched by the currents of
religious change and its preparation has held to a continuing high standard. One crop a
year was sufficient to sustain the people, providing ample leisure time for the Bengalis to
pursue cultural ideals: folklore, music, and the culinary arts. Before the arrival of
Europeans in the early 16th century, the staple of Bengali cuisine was locally grown rice, as
it is today. According to Shunya Purana, a medieval text, fifty kinds of rice were grown in
Bengal.

4) In the 9th and 10th century, there were over 40 varieties of rice, 60 kinds of fruits and more
than 120 varieties of vegetables in Bengal. Vegetables included cucumber, carrot, various
kinds of gourds, garlic, fenugreek, radish, lotus root, mushroom, eggplant, and green leafy
vegetables. Among the fruits eaten were peaches, water melon, banana, mango, amalaka,
lime (nimbu), grapes, oranges (imported from China or Indochina around the beginning of
the Christian era), pear (also introduced by the Chinese), jujube, almond, walnuts, coconut,
pomegranates, bananas, and many fruits with no Western equivalent.

5) Until the 12th century, spices used in Bengali cooking were limited to turmeric, ginger,
mustard seed, long pepper, poppy seeds, asafoetida, and sour lemon. Long pepper was
replaced first by black peppercorns brought from the west coast of India and later by the
cheaper chili, which thrived in Bengali soil. Spice traders also brought cinnamon,
cardamom, and cloves. Various methods of preparation were used, including frying in both
shallow and deep fat. Cooking media included ghee by those who could afford it, mustard
oil, still popular today in Bengal, and sesame oil.

6) The European traders introduced food from the New World - potatoes, chillies, and
tomatoes. Bengalis incorporated them into their diet, combining them with a variety of
native ingredients creating new dishes.

7) The Bengali love of sweets goes back into the Middle Ages. Sugar has been grown in Bengal
and India since ancient times, as indicated by its Sanskrit name, sharkara. Texts dating
back to the 12th and 13th century texts describe a number of dishes based on milk, partly
thickened milk, and milk solids.

BENGAL, the laud of maach (fish) and bhat (rice), of rosogolla and sandesh. The cuisine of West
Bengal differs from that of Bangladesh. The Brahmins of Bengal eat fish and no celebration is
complete without it. The market is flooded at anytime with all sizes and shapes of carp, salmon,
hilsa, bhetki, rui, magur, prawns, koi etc which can be fried, steamed or stewed with curd. Most of
the Bengalis will not touch the salt water fish complaining that the fish is not sweet enough.
Historically, food in Bengal has always been strongly seasonal. The range of food materials in moist
and fertile Bengal is exceptionally wide, ranging from cereals, tubers and rhizomes, vegetables,
green pot herbs to a variety of spices and fish.

The most important part eating Bengali food is eating each dish separately with a little bit of rice.
Bengali cuisine is a combination of vegetarian and non – vegetarian dishes. A day begins with
moori (puffed rice) with potatoes, cucumber, green chilli and mustard oil, tea or milk.

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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

CUISINE CHARACTERISTICS:

1. The staple food of Bengal is rice and fish. The fishes commonly used in this cuisine
includes Hilsa (Ilish), Carp (Rui), Dried fish (shootki), Indian butter fish (pabda), Clown knife
fish (Chitol maach), Mango fish (Topsey), Sea Bass (Bhetki), Prawns / Shrimps (Golda chingri
/ kucho chingri), Catfish (Tangra / Magur), Perch (koi), Katla. Lightly fermented rice is also
used as breakfast in rural and agrarian communities (panta bhat).

2. The principal medium of cooking is mustard oil. A distinct flavour is imparted to the fish
dishes by frying them in mustard oil, before cooking them in the gravy. Mustard paste is
also commonly used for the preparation of gravies.

3. Fish is also steamed by the Bengalis (e.g, Bhapa Ilish ). The most preferred form of meat in
Bengal is mutton, or goat meat. Khashi (castrated goat) or Kochi pantha (kid goat), is also
common.

4. Special seasonings such as i) panch phoron - a combination of Cumin seeds (jeera), Fennel
seeds (mouri), mustard seeds (sorse), Methi seeds and onion seeds (kalonjee). Sometime
Celery seeds (radhuni) also becomes a part of the panch phoron. (ii) Radhuni (iii) Poppy
seeds (posto) are extensively used in the cuisine.

5. The garam masala made up of Cloves (laung), Cinnamon (dalchini), Nutmeg (Jaiphal), Mace
(Javitri), small and large cardamom (Elichi) etc.

6. Bengalis also eat flowers like those of bokphul, pumpkin, banana, water reeds, tender
drumsticks and peels of potato or pumpkin.

7. A lunch consists of Rice, Bhaja (assorted fried items including vegetables and fish), Leafy
vegetable - Saag (palong saag, Pui saag, Lal saag etc), Sukto, Various dals (lentil) such as
Moong, Masoor, Beuli, Arhar, Cholar dal etc, followed by different Vegetarian preparations,
Fish and Meat (Chicken or Mutton) preparations. This is followed by the Chutney and
papad and finally the sweets of which there are endless mouth watering varieties such as
Rosogolla, Sandesh, Misti doi, Rabri, Mihidana, Sitabhog, Rajbhog, Kamalabhog, Kalakad etc

8. Roti, Paratha, Luchi are also common.

9. The very common snacks include the “Jhal moori” various kinds of Telebhaja (Chops -
vegetable, egg etc, Beguni, Peyazi), kachudi, singhada, egg roll, chicken roll, puckha (puffed
mini stuffed with mashed potato and dipped in tamarind water), nimkis (maida dough rice
with black onion seeds shaped into triangles and deep fried), chanachur etc.

10. Sweet Dishes reflect a special culinary expertise of the state and the variety is one of the
largest in the global culinary spectacle. The most common ones include: Rosogolla, Sandesh
(Narompak – soft or korapak – hard), Misti doi, Rabri, Mihidana, Sitabhog, Rajbhog,
Kamalabhog, Kalakad, Chum chum, Jolbhora, ladycanny/ladykini, Chaler payash, Chenar
payash, darbesh, Malpoa, shor bhaja, langcha etc. The two basic ingredients of Bengali
sweets are sugar and milk. The milk is thickened either by boiling it down to make a thick
liquid called khoa, or by curdling it with lemon juice or yogurt to produce curds, called
channa. Sugar is not the only ingredient with which the sweetness is imparted in the
sweets, various jaggery (gur) which includes patali gur, khejur gur (date jaggey) etc. The
main body of the sweets are mostly made of coconut, til seeds, rice, rice flour, refined flour etc
apart from Chenna.

Traditional home made delicacies include the following:


• Various kinds of Pitha (a pancake like sweet base of semolina or flour which is rolled
around a variety of fillings like coconut and kheer and fried in ghee - chandrapuli, gokul, pati
shapta, chitai piţha, aski pithe, muger puli and dudh puli). Pithas are usually made from rice or
wheat flour mixed with sugar, jaggery, grated coconut etc. These are usually enjoyed with the

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sweet syrups of Khejur gur (Date tree molasses)/ they are usually fried or steamed – the most
common ones include bhapapitha (steamed), Pakanpitha (fried) and Pulipitha (dumplings)

• Moa (flat rice or puffed rice bound with jaggery cooked to a correct degree and then made
into dumplings). Another popular kind of moa is Jaynagarer Moa, a moya particularly made in
Jaynagar, South 24 Parganas district, Paschimbanga (West Bengal) which uses khoi and a
sugar-milk-spices mixture as binder. Moas are made specially during winter.

• Naru (Grated coconut or til seeds bound with cooked jiggery or sugar and formed into
dumplings) etc.

• Aamsotto (thickened mango pulp) is another home made delicacy.

A TYPICAL BENGALI MEAL STRUCTURE

The procession of tastes at a meal runs from a bitter start to a sweet finish.

• To start with, especially at lunch, is Sukto.

• Rice is first savoured with ghee, salt and green chillis, then comes dhal accompanied by
fried vegetables (bhaja) or boiled vegetables (bhate), followed by spiced vegetables like dalna
or ghonto.

• Then comes fish preparations, first lightly-spiced ones like maccher jhol, and then those
more heavily spiced.

• This would be followed by a sweet-sour ambal or tauk (chutney) and fried papads. The
chutney is typically tangy and sweet; usually made of aam (mangoes), tomatoes, anarôsh
(pineapple), tetul (tamarind), pepe (papaya), or just a combination of fruits and dry fruits
called mixed fruit chutney served in biye badi (marriage).

• A dessert of mishti-doi (sweet curds), accompanied by dry sweets, or of payesh,


accompanied by fruits like the mango, will end the meal, with paan (betel leaves) as a
terminal digestive.

Traditionally meals were served on a bell-metal thala (plate) and in the batis (bowls, except for the
sour items). The night meal omits shukto and could include luchis, a palao and a dalna of various
delicately spiced vegetables.

COMMON BENGALI COOKING STYLES:

1. AMBAL : A sour dish made either with several vegetables or with fish, the sourness being
produced by the addition of tamarind pulp.
2. BHAJA : Anything fried, either by itself or in batter.
3. BHAPA : Fish or vegetables steamed with oil and spices. A classic steaming technique is to
wrap the fish in banana leaf to give it a faint musky, smoky scent.
4. BHATE : Any vegetable, such as potatoes, beans, pumpkins or even dal, first boiled whole
and then mashed and seasoned with mustard oil or ghee and spices.
5. BHUNA : A term of Urdu origin, meaning fried for a long time with ground and whole spices
over high heat. Usually applied to meat.
6. DALNA : Mixed vegetables (echor) or eggs, cooked in a medium thick gravy seasoned with
ground spices, ginger especially garom mashla (hot spices) and a touch of ghee.
7. DOM : Vegetables, especially potatoes, or meat, cooked over a covered pot slowly over a low
heat.
8. GHANTO : Different complementary vegetables (e.g., cabbage, green peas, potatoes or
banana blossom, coconut, chickpeas) are chopped or finely grated and cooked with both a
phoron and ground spices. Dried pellets of dal (boris) are often added to the ghanto. Ghee is
commonly added at the end. Non-vegetarian ghantos are also made, with fish or fish heads

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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

added to vegetables. The famous murighanto is made with fish heads cooked in a fine
variety of rice. Some ghantos are very dry while others a thick and juicy.
9. JHAL : Literally, hot. A great favourite in West Bengali households, this is made with fish or
shrimp or crab, first lightly fried and then cooked in a light sauce of ground red chilli or
ground mustard and a flavoring of panch-phoron or kala jeera. Being dryish it is often
eaten with a little bit of dal pored over the rice.
10. JHOL : A light fish or vegetable stew seasoned with ground spices like ginger, cumin,
coriander, chilli and turmeric with pieces of fish and longitudinal slices of vegetables
floating in it. The gravy is thin yet extremely flavourful. Whole green chillies are usually
added at the end and green coriander leaves are used to season for extra taste.
11. KALIA : A very rich preparation of fish, meat or vegetables using a lot of oil and ghee with a
sauce usually based on ground ginger and onion paste and garom mashla.
12. KOFTAS (or Boras) : Ground meat or vegetable croquettes bound together by spices and/or
eggs served alone or in savoury gravy.
13. KORMA : Another term of Urdu origin, meaning meat or chicken cooked in a mild yoghurt
based gravy with ghee instead of oil.
14. KASSA: This is a way of cooking for specially red meats like lamb or mutton is bhunoad in a
very thick spicy masala of onion, ginger, garlic, chilli powder, turmeric powder and cumin
powder and made into a gravy sort.
15. PORA : Literally, burnt. Vegetables are wrapped in leaves and roasted over a wood or
charcoal fire. Some, like eggplants (brinjals/aubergines), are put directly over the flames.
Before eating the roasted vegetable is mixed with oil and spices.
16. PHORON: It is predominantly the kind of tempering, which is used in the preparation of
lentils, with various lentils having their own tempering.

COMMON BENGALI COOKING EQUIPMENTS:

1. Bonti :- A curved raised blade attached to a long, flat cutting vegetables, fish and meat. The
bonti used for fish and meat is kept separate from vegetable bonti and the non-veg ansh-
bonti (ansh implies scales of fish).
2. Hari :-A cooking pot with a rounded bottom, slightly narrowed at the neck with a wide rim to
facilitate holding, while draining excess of rice water.
3. Dekchi :-Referred as saucepan without a handle, usually of greater depth. Used for boiling,
sautéing
4. Karai :-A cooking pot shaped like a Chinese wok, but much deeper. Used for deep frying,
stir-frying as well as for preparations and sauces and gravy. It’s usually made of iron or
aluminium and usually has two-looped handles.
5. Tawa :-It’s a griddle, used for making porothas.
6. Thala :-A circular plate of authentically brass, but now a days of steel, on which food is
served.
7. Khunti :-Long handled implement of steel or iron with a flat thin belt-shaped piece, used as
stirrers.
8. Hatha :-A metal spoon with indention, used as stirrers and also for transferring food stuffs.
9. Sarashi :-An equipment, used for holding vessels hot on range.
10. Chakni :-A sieve.
11. Chamuch :-A spoon.
12. Sheel nora :-Grinding stone, slab of 16 inches by 10 inches and a small bolster-shaped
stone roller 9 inches long. Both the slab and roller are chipped from time to time as they
are worn smooth.
13. Hamal Dista :-Motar and pestle, which could be used in place of sheelnora. Usually used for
grinding spices to a fine powder or to a fine paste with the addition of water .
14. Dhenki: A long wooden board mounted on a short pedestal, in the middle, much like a sea-
saw. The tradition Bengali instrument of taking the husk off the rice.
15. Ghutni: It is a wooden hand blender used for pureeing lentils and sauces.
16. Jhanjri: It is a large wier meshed flat spoon used for deep frying fish or breads.
17. Belun chaki: Round pastry board and rolling pin.
18. Kuruni: It is a uni - tasker, to grate coconuts.

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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

BENGALI FOOD ITEMS:

Dolma or Patoler Dolma: The name is coming from Turkey, but the food is different. The vegetable
Patol is stuffed either with a combination of grated coconut, chickpeas, etc. or more commonly with
fish and then fried. The fish is boiled with turmeric and salt, then bones are removed and then
onion, ginger and garam masala are fried in oil and boiled fish is added and churned to prepare the
stuffing.

• Paturi: Typically fish, seasoned with spices (usually shorshe) wrapped in banana leaves and
steamed or roasted over a charcoal fire.

• Polau: Fragrant dish of rice with ghee, spices and small pieces of vegetables. Long grained
aromatic rice is usually used, but some aromatic short grained versions such as Kalijira or
Gobindobhog may also be used.

• Tarakri : A general term often used in Bengal the way `curry` is used in English. Originally
from Persian, the word first meant uncooked garden vegetables. From this it was a natural
extension to mean cooked vegetables or even fish and vegetables cooked together.

• Chorchori : Usually a vegetable dish with one or more varieties of vegetables cut into
longish strips, sometimes with the stalks of leafy greens added, all lightly seasoned with spices
like mustard or poppy seeds and flavoured with a phoron. The skin and bone of large fish like
bhetki or chitol can be made into a chachchari called kanta-chachchari, kanta, meaning fish-
bone.

• Chhanchra : A combination dish made with different vegetables, portions of fish head and
fish oil (entrails).

• Chhenchki : Tiny pieces of one or more vegetable - or, sometimes even the peels (of
potatoes, lau, pumpkin or patol for example) - usually flavored with panch-phoron or whole
mustard seeds or kala jeera. Chopped onion and garlic can also be used, but hardly any
ground spices.

• Chitol Macher muitha: Chitol is a fish specially consumed during the Durga puja. The meat
from the back part after removing the bones is shaped into koftas and simmered into a
gravy.
• Chingri malai curry: The preparation is a speciality of the cuisine and is normally prepared
during the special occasions. Prawns are stewed in a gravy made with boiled onion paste,
thickened with coconut milk with a touch of red chilli powder and turmeric.
• Doi maach: This is a classical preparation of Bengal in which the fish is stewed in a yoghurt
based gravy.
• Kasha mangsho: This is a semi – dry preparation of the lamb that gets a unique dark colour
from the iron kadhai in which it is cooked and caramelized sugar. This can be had with
luchi.
• Dhokar dalna: A gram flour batter is cooked with spices and then spread on a tray and
steamed. It is then cut into small pieces in the shape of a diamond and deep – fat fried. The
fried dumplings are now stewed in a gravy of boiled onion paste, thickened with gram flour
and whole spices.
• Kobiraji cutlet: This preparation is made from the chicken breast which is marinated with
turmeric, salt, ginger and garlic paste, onion paste, green chillies and red chilli powder.
The marinated chicken is coated in alight batter of rice flour and eggs and deep fat fried
until golden brown.
• Aloo posto: Potatoes are cooked in freshly ground poppy seed paste and flavoured with
diffetent spices and turmeric.
• Chop: Croquettes, usually coated with crushed biscuit or breadcrumbs.
• Cutlet: Very different from the Cutlets of the Brits, this is referred typically to a crumb
coated thinly spread out dough, made generally of chicken/mutton minced, mixed together
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with onion, bread crumbs and chillies. Generally it is then dipped in egg and coated in
breadcrumb, fried and served with thin julienne of cucumber, carrots, radish and onions.
Often an egg mixed with a teaspoon or two water and a pinch of salt is dropped on top of
the frying cutlet, to make it into a "Kabiraji" the Bengali pronunciation of a "Coverage"
Cutlet, influenced by the British.
• Shukto: This is a dish that is essential bitter, made up of neem or other bitter leaves, bitter
gourd, brinjals, potatoes, radish and green bananas, with spices like turmeric, ginger,
mustard and radhuni (celery seed) pastes.
• Shak: Any kind of green leafy vegetable, like spinach and mustard greens, often cooked till
just wilted in a touch of oil and tempering of nigela seeds.

BENGALI BREADS: Though Bengalis, primarily loves to eat rice, yet there are a few typical Bengali
Breads, which are quite famous in various parts of Bengal. Some of the prominent among these
are,

1. Luchi :-Eaten for mainly snacks, equivalent to the north Indian poories (the difference is
that luchi is made out of refined flour and fried without colour) and taken very commonly
with cholar dal tempered with coconut.
2. Khasta Luchi :-The dough is much richer with fat and flaky. Hence, known as khasta
kachuri.
3. Porotha :-It is a kind of flaky bread, made out of whole wheat flour and is essentially
triangular in shape.
4. Roti :-Whole wheat flour bread, toasted on griddle.
5. Radhabollobbi :-An urad dal stuffed poori made out of whole wheat flour normally had with
aloo dom.
6. Dhakai porotha :-Flaky, layered bread from Dhaka in Bangladesh.
7. Matter (green peas) kachuri:-Flaky bread, stuffed with matar (green peas) paste and deep-
fried. Heing is commonly used in the green peas mixture.

SEASONAL AND FESTIVAL CONNECTION WITH BENGALI FOOD: The Bengali calendar is a solar
one based on the six seasons – two months for each of Grishma, Summer; Barsha, Monsoon;
Sharat and Hemanta, early and late Autumn; Sheet, Winter and Basanta, Spring.

Summer – Grishma :-

• Summer vegetables include lau, white gourd, or okra or potol, the small striped gourd or
parwal, karola and uchche
• Meat, eggs, onions and garlic, on the other hand, are studiously avoided.
• Neembegun – where small dices of aubergines are fried with the leaves of neem trees is said
to have anti-chicken pox properly.
• Especially for lunch menus during summer sukto (a stew of seasonal vegetables, with
bitterish in taste) is an integral part of every household menu. And, among the other dishes
which makes up the menu, are Moong dal, Masoor dal and lemon, Macher jhol, lau-
chingiri, lau-ghanto etc

Monsoon – Rainy (Borsha):

• The most well-known Bengali dish associated with the monsoon is Khichuri, rice and dal
cooked together and panchphoran and ghee. There are of course many kinds of khichuris,
depending on what kind of dal is being used. The consistency may be thin, thick or dry and
fluffy like a pilaf, plain or with seasonal winter vegetables like new potatoes, green peas and
cauliflower added to the basic rice-dal mixture. The one constant factor is the use of atap
rice, usually of the short-grained variety.
• The vegetable varieties include kachu or taro, pumpkin, kumro, green like shashni shak,
puishak, kachu shak. The monsoon is also associated with the ilish, called hilsa by the
British. It is referred to as the caviar of the tropics.
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Sharat – Hemanta – Autumn :-

• It’s the season of festivity. First too come is Lord Biswakarma (god of tools) in which day fire
is not lighted in any household. So, all the foods are cooked a day prior and hard. Next, to
come is goddess Durga. The day of Astami is purely vegetarian, whereby for lunch we have
khichuri, with papors and pickles, and at dinner after spending the whole evening Pandal
hopping, there would be round golden fried luchis, puffed up like a balloon. However, if a
lot of fat is observed during the process of making the dough, the bread instead of becoming
puffy becomes flaky and is known as khasta luchi. Though luchis, can be eaten with
anything, the two classical vegetarian dishes associated with this ceremonial occasion; a
potato dish called alur dam, and a dal made with yellow splitpeas and tiny pieces of
coconut. Alur dam to Bengali means a dish of potatoes, usually whole or quartered, cooked
with a thick spicy sauce. It is usually eaten with luchis or wheat-flour chapatis, but not
rice. And the dessert course being kheer (simply reduced milk) or payeesh (rice cooked in
milk and cardamoms flavour). Navami, being the last day of Durga’s stay, is
gastronomically opposite of Ashtami, meat eating is the order of the day, but without any
onion or garlic. And on the evening of Bijoya Dashami, the images in the community
pandals are loaded on to trucks and taken to the nearest river, the Hooghly in Calcutta, for
the final site of bhashan – throwing them into water. It is then in the wake of departed
Goddess, that the most beautiful aspect of Bijoya Dashami comes discarding all ill-
feelings of hostility, anger and enimity. Within the family the younger people touch their
elders’ feet (pranom) and receive their blessings, while contemporaries embrace each other
with good wishes. As the evening deepens, relative's friends and neighbours drop in to
convey their Bijoya greetings. They are offered sweets.
• By the end of the month of Kartik (October), urban Bengalis resume there normal pattern of
life in school, college and offices. But in rural Bengal this is a time of great expectation. For
the following month, Agrahayan (November), is also the time to harvest the rice that gave
the region its soubriquet, ‘Golden Bengal’ (Sonar Bangla). The name itself, Agrahayan, is
compounded of two words – agra (best or foremost) and hayan (unhusked rice).
• Once the rice has been harvested, rural Bengal propitiates the gods for their bounty
through the joyful festival of nabanno, which literally means ‘new rice’. An offering to god of
milk, gur, pieces of sugar cane, bananas and above all the new rice.

Sheet – Winter :

• In the country one can feast your eyes on fields of mustard awash in yellow blossom, on
patches of maroony-red lalshak, on the subtle greens of cabbages on the earth and the
climbing vine of the lau spreading over thatched roofs and bamboo frames.
• In the city markets the rich, purple aubergines are offset by snowy-white cauliflower's
peeking from within their leaves, carrots, tomatoes, beet, cucumbers, scallions and
bunches of delicate corriander leaves invite you to stop cooking and make only salads.
• The infinite variety of leafy, green spinach, mustard, laushak, betoshak, muloshak,
• But somehow the most important and joyful thing about winter to a Bengali is the
opportunity and ability to eat far more abundantly than during any other season, to indulge
in all the rich meats, prawns, eggs and fish dishes.
• The colonial years have left behind the festivities of Christmas and New Year which the
Bengali has enthusiastically adopted and the early winter month of Poush sees the
pithaparban, a folk festival designed specially for the making and eating of large quantities
of sweet.
• Cabbages, potatoes and peas became the base for a spicy winter ghanto which rivals the
mochar ghanta has been a favourite since medieval times.
• Cauliflower's, combined with potatoes, were made into a rich and fragrant dalna that was a
wonderful variation of the summer specialty, the potal and potato dalna.
• As for green peas, the Bengali spurned the plain boiled version served on the dinner tables
of his British ruler and made delectable savories like matarshutir kachuri or chirar pulao or
the filling for shingara (Samosas) with them, aside from adding them to other vegetable
dishes.
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• Perhaps, one of the major festivals of winter is the Saraswati puja – goddesses of books and
the official harbinger of spring. During Saraswati Puja, eating of Gotasheddho is
compulsory, whereby none of the vegetables are cut and one just boiled whole. The goddess
is offered fruits like apple, shakalu, sugar-cane bits, bananas, dates and kul (a kind of
plum) that would be offered to the goddess. The bananas offered to Saraswati are special
type, very sweet, but full of large black seeds.

UNIQUENESS OF BENGALI CUISINE:

An abundant land provides for an abundant table. The nature and variety of dishes found in
Bengali cooking are unique even in India. Fish cookery is one of its better-known features and
distinguishes it from the cooking of the landlocked regions. Bengal's countless rivers, ponds and
lakes teem with many kinds of freshwater fish that closely resemble catfish, bass, shad or mullet.
Bengalis prepare fish in innumerable ways - steamed or braised, or stewed with greens or other
vegetables and with sauces that are mustard based or thickened with poppyseeds. You will not find
these types of fish dishes elsewhere in India. Bengalis also excel in the cooking of vegetables. They
prepare a variety of the imaginative dishes using the many types of vegetables that grow here year
round. They can make ambrosial dishes out of the oftentimes rejected peels, stalks and leaves of
vegetables. They use fuel-efficient methods, such as steaming fish or vegetables in a small covered
bowl nestled at the top of the rice cooker.

The use of spices for both fish and vegetable dishes is quite extensive and includes many
combinations not found in other parts of India. Examples are the onion-flavored kalonji seeds and
five-spice (a mixture of cumin, fennel, fenugreek, kalonji, and black mustard). The trump card card
of Bengali cooking probably is the addition of this phoron, a combination of whole spices, fried and
added at the start or finish of cooking as a flavouring special to each dish. Bengalis share a love of
whole black mustard with South Indians, but the use of freshly ground mustard paste is unique to
Bengal.

All of India clamors for Bengali sweets. Although grains, beans and vegetables are used in
preparing many deserts, as in other regions, the most delicious varieties are dairy-based and
uniquely Bengali.

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GOAN CUISINE

INTRODUCTION:

Goa is famous because of its 451 years history and dominant culture. Mughals ruled all
over the India but Portuguese had a strong hold over Goa and thus similarity in cuisine.
Port city of Goa up the mandvi river traded in everything from Chinese silk to asafetida so
it was named as‘GOA DOURADA’ or Golden Goa.

Culinary traditions in goa are regionally divided in to hindu, muslim and latin catholic.
Hindu’s are mainly fish and rice eating. Konkan farmers and fisherman are mainly hindu
by caste. Muslims are pilaf eaters. Latin catholic cook their food in olive oil and are mainly
beef, sea food and pork eaters. The intermingling of Arabian, Portuguese and native
cultures is reflected in the cuisine of Goa, which is a unique blend of richness and
simplicity- the constantly recurring notes being struck by the fish and the coconut. Goa
is also unique in the sense that this mixture of East and West co-exists in a friendly and
peaceful lifestyle. The best of both worlds has been absorbed and knit into a culture very
distinctly different from that of any other part of India. This is well reflected in its cuisine.

Goan cuisine has a number of influences from its Hindu foundations, contemporary
methods of culinary art, and 400 years of Portuguese rule. The state experiences a large
number of footfalls from both domestic and international tourists and they visit the place
for its pristine seashores and momentous historic locations. Therefore, Goan cuisine plays
a key role in its tourism industry and has achieved global fame.

People of Portugal fetched tomatoes, potatoes, guavas, pineapples, and cashew nuts from
Brazil to Goa. Till the latter part of the 20th century, potatoes and tomatoes were not
acknowledged by the Hindus. The most significant segment of spices in Goa, the chili, was
put into use by the Portuguese which turned out to be very popular. All the aforesaid
ingredients were not used in Goan food prior to the arrival of the Portuguese settlers.

Goan food today is a fusion of many cuisines, and in many ways it brought the colonizer
and the colonized closer. Goan food drew on different influences – Arab, Konkan, Malabar,
Malaysian, Portuguese, Brazilian, French, African and even Chinese. There are many
dishes common to Goa, Daman, Kerala, Mangalore (other areas of Konkan), Malaysia,
Macau, Portugal, Brazil and Sri Lanka. The history of the evolution of Goan cuisine not

10
Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

only helps us understand the complex processes of assimilation and exclusion, it also
serves as an exemplar of Indian multi-culturalism.

BRAHMIN AND CHRISTIAN CULINARY VARIATION:

BRAHMIN: Hindu Goans use less heat, tamarind and Kokum for souring and jaggery for
sweetening. They use asafoetida, fenugreek, curry leaves, mustard and urad dal. It is not
very spicy, less amount of onion and garlic is used. It also includes more use of
vegetables, lentils, pumpkins, gourds, bamboo shoots, roots, etc. It is less oily and the
medium of cooking is coconut oil. In the early period the Hindus of Goa did not eat tomato.
Even today most Goan Hindu families do not cook tomato, aubergine, radish and papaya on
festive religious occasions when they prepare ‘food for the Gods’ since these vegetables are
from ‘across the seas’ and considered polluting.

Goan Saraswat Brahmin sub-castes, Daivajna Brahmins are mostly fish eaters. Broadly
they can be considered as facultative vegeterians, i.e. they eat fish and chicken on most
days, while eating strict vegetarian (no meat, no-fish diet) food on some days, due to
religious reasons. Fish and meat in their diet is considered as non-vegetarian. On the
other hand other Brahmins belonging to Pancha Dravida category are strictly vegetarian.
Their vegetarian cuisine is unique. The rest of the Goan Hindus are non-vegetarian, but
unlike the Catholic Goans, do not eat beef or pork, due to religious beliefs.

PORTUGESE / CHRISTIAN: During the Portuguese period (1510-1961) many traditional


habits were discarded, new ones added and recipes circulated and modified to suit the
needs of the rulers and the ruled or the availability of certain ingredients. Many new food
products and customs percolated into Goan society. Among these was the use of potato by
people of all communities in making savouries such as samosas, batawadas, potato baji
as well as in meat and fish recipes.

The new food products brought to India changed the lifestyle of the people, sometimes in a
subtle way. Many of the food producing plants became an integral part of the local flora,
altering the economy and food habits of the people. Few realize, for instance, that chillies
which are widely used in Goan and Indian cuisine were a stranger to our continent until
the Portuguese introduced them from the Americas. Chillies, particularly the dried red
variety, are used widely to add pungency, flavour, texture, marinate meats and fish and to
make the world famous Goan humon – prawn/fish curry and other curries. They are also
used in tempero (a paste of spices, chillies, garlic, turmeric ground with vinegar) popularly
known among Goans as recheio/recheio-masala to stuff fish or to make the famous Goan
pork sorpotel , prawn/ fish or pork balchão, while the green variety is used to make
chutneys, pickles, give pungency and taste to vegetables, meats and fish.

Rulers, merchants, missionaries, Portuguese women in India, exiles, slaves and others, all
played different roles in introducing various types of food, knowledge of food habits and
for circulating recipes. It has often been pointed out that the nuns of the Convento da
Santa Monica in the old city of Goa were responsible for introducing Portuguese recipes
and for creating the Indo-Portuguese recipes – particularly sweets like dedos da dama,
petas de freiras (similar to the French sweet, pets de none), pasteis de natas, pasteis de
Santa Clara. These conventual sweets are still served as dessert in some Goan Christian
homes on festive occasions. Some of the Indo-Portuguese recipes created by them are a
blend of Portuguese and Goan recipes or Portuguese recipes adjusted to meet the needs of
the time and availability of ingredients. In addition to sweets, the Portuguese brought to
Goa their guisados, caldei-radas and assados prepared with fish and meats. Dishes such
as racheiado, caldeirada and cabidela reflect the legacy of the state's colonial heritage
11
Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE CUISINE:

• The basic components of Goan cooking are, not surprisingly, local products. The
claim that every part of the coconut is used for something is not an idle one.
Coconut oil, milk and grated coconut flesh flavour many dishes. Groundnut oil is
also sometimes used as a cooking medium.
• Although coconut is an essential part of the everyday cooking, there is no coconut
in several of the popular delicacies like rissois de camarao, sopa grossa, balchao
and vindaloo, and that wedding favourite, caldo.
• Rice is the staple food here.
• Meats such as beef, pork and chicken are widely used. Beef and pork is not
consumed by the Hindu community but relished among the Christians. All the
parts of pork are used. Sorpotel is one of Goa's most famous meat dishes, and is
prepared from pork, liver, heart and kidney, all of which are diced and cooked in a
thick and very spicy sauce flavoured with fenni.
• Chouricos are spicy pork sausages, which owe more than a passing debt to
Portuguese culinary traditions. Goan sausages are prepared used well salted and
spiced cubes of pork. Once they have been made, the strings of sausages are dried
in the sun and then hung above the fire where they are gradually smoked.
Traditionally they are eaten during the monsoon, when fish is scarce. In
preparation, they are soaked in water and then usually fried and served with a hot
sauce and rice.
• Goa is famous for its seafood, the 'classic' dish being fish curry and rice. Kingfish
is probably the most common item, on the menu, but there are many others
including pomfret, doumer, shark, tuna and mackerel. Among the excellent
shellfish available are crabs, prawns, tiger prawns and lobster. Other seafood
includes squid and mussels. Besides fresh seafood, dried and salted fish dishes are
also highly prized by Goans.
• Toddy, the sap from the coconut palm, is also used to make vinegar and to act as a
yeast substitute. Coconut palm fenni and cashewnut fenni are very popularly used
for marination and to wash down the meals.
• Another important product of the palm is jaggery, a dark colored sweetener that is
widely used in preparing Goan sweetmeats. Jaggery made from sugarcane is also
used which has got a lighter colour compared to the cocnut palm one.
• Goan cooking generally involves liberal amounts of spices, too, giving dishes a
strange taste and distinctive aroma. The most commonly used include cumin,
coriander, chilies, garlic and turmeric. Traditional Goan cooking calls for plenty of
muscle and time. Grinding is always part of the recipe and the nicer the dish the
longer it takes to make.
• Chillies, particularly the dried red variety, are used widely to add pungency,
flavour, texture, marinate meats and fish. The green variety is also used to make
chutneys, pickles, give pungency and taste to vegetables, meats and fish.
• The Christians prefer to use vinegar, while the Hindus use kokum and tamarind
to get the tang in their respective cuisines.
• Particular combinations of spices have led to a number of styles of cooking, which
have subtly differing flavours-masala, vindaloo and balchao being some of the
most famous.
• The northerners of Goa grind their coconuts and masalas (spices) individually while
the southern Goans like to grind them together, and then pass it through a fine
muslin cloth to retain the goodness.
• Bakers regularly do the rounds of each village in Goa, pushing bicycles laden with
fresh bread and either rings a bell or hooting a horn on the handlebars to let the
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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

villagers know they've arrived. There are several types of local bread. Uned, a small
round crusty rolls, which are usually served fresh from the bakery, and an ideal
alternative to rice when eating, say, a sorpotel. Traditionally fenni was used to
ferment the bread dough.
• Particularly famous and unique in goa are sanna, which are steamed rolls made
with rice flour, ground coconut and coconut toddy, which are ideal to eat with any
of the spicy Goan dishes.
• Sweets: Offering an impeccable blend of European extravagance and simplicity of
Konkan cooking, the sweetmeats of Goa are a must try for every holidayer.
Although, the desserts are kept simple in Konkan, it takes a lot of effort to create
those culinary magic dishes. Many of Goa's most popular cakes, including the rich
'Bebinca', were developed in Goa's convents and monasteries, where time was
never in short supply. Their sweets usually have the same core ingredients of rice
flour, coconut milk, palm jaggery, semolina and eggs, from which a formidable
array of sweets and savouries are created.

EQUIPMENTS USED IN THE GOAN CUISINE:

• Clay Pots: Most of the Goan cooking is done in the earthen pots. The use of the
earthen pots improve the flavour of the food and in these vessels it does not get
spoilt easily. A classic example is the Goan fish curry, which when kept for a day in
this vessel tastes even better.
• Brass utensils: Pots and pans of brass are commonly used in cooking desserts.
This is because of the fact that the thick and heavy bottom metal prevents the
sticking of jiggery and coconut to the bottom.
• Varn: It is a grinding stone which has a round stone that is moved around in
circular motions to grind and make pastes of spice.
• Dantem: This equipment is used for grinding the cereals. It consists of two wheel
shaped stones fitted on top of each other. The stone on top has a hole in the centre
in which the grains have to be put. The top stone is rotated and the friction cause
the grains to be ground into flour, which collects all round the stone.
• Doules (Coconut spoons): A very economical use of the coconut shells is as a
spoon for cooking. The shells are split into halves, polished, and attached to along
wooden handle to make a spoon.
• Moltulem: these are earthen ware dishes that are traditionally used for serving the
prepared dishes. They give an attractive and ethnic appeal to the Goan food and
also helps to retain the flavour and aroma of the food.
• Vantleo and confro: Vantleo means the uniform moulds made out of Stainless
steel. Confro is an air – tight steaming chamber.

HAVING A GOAN MEAL:

• Pez, a rice gruel with leftover curries and pickles is a common mid – morning meal.
Food for daily consumption consists of rice, curry, fish/vegetables and pickles
depending on the economic status. Goans are basically non-vegetarian. Fish is an
important item of their diet.
• Hindus, unlike their Christian counterparts, are usually vegetarian and do not
consume fish and meat (chicken and mutton) during religious festivals.
• Rice is eaten in different forms. Rice for meals is boiled in water and drained.
Hindus cook it without salt. A canjee is also made of rice. In the past canjee was
cooked in a container called modki and was popular as breakfast or as a light meal
when ill. Rice flour is also used to make a variety of roasted breads.
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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

• Curry is made of coconut juice or by grinding coconut shavings to a fine paste with
chillies, garlic, turmeric, dry coriander and tamarind.
• Hindus cook their food in copper, aluminium or stainless steel vessels while the
Christians (in colonial times) used fired clay vessels. Today, aluminium and
stainless steel vessels are common to people of all communities as they are easily
available and durable and firewood has been replaced by gas as a cooking fuel.
‘Food for the Gods’ meant for religious occasions, particularly among the upper
classes, is cooked in special vessels that are kept apart.
• Among the Hindus and Muslims the food is served and eaten together – rice, curry,
vegetables/ fish and pickles. This is followed by drinking kaddi made of an extract
of kokum in a container called peló. The upper classes drank coconut juice with
kokum in a vati. In the past, sweets were generally not eaten after meals. Hindus of
all classes eat their food with fingers without messing up the rest of the palm.
Therefore, it is common practice to wash hands before and after meals. Earlier the
upper classes used metal spoons to serve food while the poorer classes used
spoons made of coconut shell.
• Among the Christians, the manner of serving food reflected the class they belonged
to. The lower classes eat food sitting on the floor or on a low stool known as bakin.
Food is cooked in fired clay pots and eaten in clay or metal plates, or cheap quality
porcelain ones. Doules (spoons) made of coconut shells were common in Christian
kitchens. The upper classes and even middle class Christians ate their meals
sitting on chairs around a table in the dining room/hall or in a passage near the
kitchen. The table is covered with a tablecloth or a synthetic material. On festive
occasions the tablecloth would be of white damask, Chinese embroidery or crochet
lace. This class mainly used porcelain dishes to serve and eat food.
• On festive occasions, Chinese blue and white pattern porcelain and other imported
porcelain is used. Upper class Christians use cutlery to eat which is placed
according to the custom in Portugal, usually the French or Russian style – the fork
on the left, the knife on the right and the spoon in front besides a dessert spoon.
Separate glasses for water and wine are arranged on the table on festive occasions.
In colonial times, among the upper class Christians, domestic staff served food,
course by course – soup, fish followed by meat, vegetables, rice and curry. It was
customary to eat a dessert or fruit after a meal.

DISHES IN GOAN CUISINE:

Caldo verda: This is a Goan soup that is thickened by adding mashed potatoes and is
garnished by juliennes of spinach. It is usually served during the Christmas feasts.

Fish Curry: A popular version of fish curry in Goa is the Ambot-Tik which literally
translates to Sour-Spicy. The sour comes from the use of the petals of the tart 'Kokum
solam'. Known to be a cooling agent and honoured for its medicinal value, the red-
coloured fruit of 'Kokum' is the real king of Goan cuisine.

Grounded coconut is mixed with red chillies, peppercorns, cumin seeds, coriander seeds,
turmeric powder, garlic and ginger to make a fine paste. Sliced onions, tamarind juice and
green chillies are added along with a cup of water and salt. The mixture is cooked and
dried mango and kokum are added in process. Later, fish is added and is cooked till
ready. The dish is a hot favourite of all seafood lovers.

Fish Recheado: Recheado means stuffed in Portuguese and in this recipe, a fresh whole
fish, usually a mackerel or pomfret, is slit down the center and stuffed with a spicy red
paste, after which it is shallow fried. Mackerel Recheado is one of Goa's most famous

14
Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

dishes. Other fish can be used is well. The fiery-red Recheado masala made of kashmiri
red chilies, garlic, cumin, peppercorns and tamarind is ground into a smooth but thick paste
using vinegar. It is very versatile and can be used to prepare many other Goan seafood
dishes. The Recheado masala can be made and stored in an airtight container for months
as the vinegar in it acts as a preservative.

Fish Caldeirada: This is a mildly flavoured offering in which fish or prawns are cooked
into a kind of stew with vegetables, and often flavoured with wine.

Fish Caldeen: It is a thick fish curry made by grinding coconut, turmeric, ginger, garlic,
cloves and cumin. Rice is the thickening agent used in the dish and the base of the gravy
is coconut milk.

Prawn Balchao: Prawn Balchão is another Goan favourite. Brought to Goa by the
Portuguese, Balchão originated in Macao, where it is called Balichao. Balchao is a method
of cooking either fish or prawns in a dark red and tangy sauce. Balchao is almost like
pickling and can be made days in advance without reheating. The traditional Balchao
uses a paste made from dried shrimp known as 'galmo' in Konkani spices and feni. This
paste is added to fresh prawns, onion, spices and oil to prepare a prawn balchao. Balchao
is often bottled and eaten as an accompaniment in meals.

Mergolho: This is made from pumpkin and papaya and breadfruit curry.

Kotkotem: This is a dish made out of several vegetables, pulses and coconut is a
favourite dish among the Goan Hindus.

Pez: This consists of Goan rice (also known as Ukade rice that are reddish in color and
thick grained), water and salt to taste. This is usually eaten with pickle or Papads or dried
roasted fish or prawn curry (very thick). Pez is very popular in Goan homes and usually
eaten at around 11.00 am everyday.i.e, it is a mid – morning meal.

Pork Vindaloo: Pork is a must for any festive occasion in Goa and the most famous
preparation is the vindaloo. There are diverse interpretations of the etymology for this
word one being 'vinho' for wine, 'alhos' for garlic (Portuguese), 'viande' and 'aloo' for meat
and potato (French and Indian). It is a spicy concoction, lots of red chilies, garlic, cooked
with chunks of pork, Goa vinegar, and hard palm jaggery and is best enjoyed with plain
boiled rice.

Sorpotel: Sorpotel is unarguably the essence of Goan Christian cuisine. Adapted from the
Portuguese dish of *Sarabulho, it is served traditionally at Christmas and on feast days.
Sorpotel is one of those classic dishes that truly highlights the melange of Goan and
Portuguese cultures in the cuisine of this state - Goan because of the generous use of
spices; Portuguese because of the use of vinegar, which is hardly seen elsewhere.

*Sarabulho in its original form consisted of pork meat, liver, ears, tail and limbs. Only a few spices were added
to the cooking. Goan Christians discarded the ears, tail, limbs, added tempero paste and called it sorpotel
(sarapatel)

Sorpotel is prepared from pork, liver, heart and kidney, all of which are diced and cooked
in a thick and very spicy sauce favoured with red chilies, cinnamon, cloves bathed in
tangy toddy vinegar, which is needed to balance the strong taste of pig's blood: another
traditional ingredient of this revered dish. Sorpotel, like balchao, keeps for several days,
and is actually considered to taste better if left for three to four days before being
reheated.

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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

Chouricos (Spicy Goan Sausages): Chouricos are spicy pork sausages, which owe more
than a passing debt to Portuguese (chouricos de rien) culinary traditions. Goan sausages
are prepared used well salted and spiced cubes of pork. Once they have been made, the
strings of sausages are dried in the sun and then hung above the fire where they are
gradually smoked. Traditionally they are eaten during the monsoon, when fish is scarce.
To prepare them, they are soaked in water and then usually fried and served with a hot
sauce and rice.

Chicken Cafreal: A Goan dish of tribal origin is cafreal. It was named after the African
soldiers or Kaffirs who brought it to Goa centuries ago. Today, the dish is made by
marinating pieces of chicken in a paste made of spices, chilies, garlic and ginger and
lemon juice and then deep-fried or shallow fries till dry. The result is rather dry, but spicy
dish. This is the equivalent of Portuguese-style grilled chicken and the sauce it is
marinated in tastes a lot like the famous Portuguese Peri-peri sauce.

Chicken (Galina) Xacuti: Xacuti makes use of plenty of spices like nutmeg, coriander
leaves, red and green chillies, ginger and cloves. Additionally tamarind and lemon juice
make for a pungent curry. The base of the gravy is made from grated coconut which is
roasted and then ground with the spices to make a rich, dark gravy.The recipe can also be
made with mutton,pigeon, lamb or fish.

Rissois are snacks or starters, which are made from prawns, fried in pastry shells.

Beef Assado and Pork Assado: There are different variations of this dish. Usually pork
or beef are used in the preparation. Assado which means roast is prepared by first boiling
the meat till it is almost cooked and the water used to cook it is almost dry. It is then
sliced and fried with Ghee or oil. This is very popular as it does not get spoilt easily and
does not involve much trouble to cook.

A very simple way of preparing roast beef is by first marinating the beef cut into blocks in
ginger garlic paste and a little of chilli paste ground in vinegar. In a pot onions are fried in
oil and to it is added the marinated blocks of beef. After frying for some, time sufficient
quantity of water is added. Then cinnamon, cloves and pepper is added. Green chillies are
also added. It is then allowed to cook fully. When the water is almost dry it is removed
from fire. The beef is then sliced and fried.

Sanna: This is a traditional steamed rice preparation popular among Catholics and
Hindus alike and prepared by them on several special occasions. On the outside Sannas
would appear to be somewhat like idlis but they are totally different in texture as well as
taste.

Sannas are prepared by mixing ground rice, grated coconut and toddy and a bit of sugar
to aid the fermentation process. The mixture is kept overnight to ferment. Early in the
morning, the mixture is put in uniform moulds called “vantleo” made of stainless steel.
These moulds are then placed in a large copper vessel with an air tight lid called “confro”
for steaming. After a certain amount of time dictated by the size of the mould they are
removed and the next batch goes in. Freshly made Sannas are nice and soft in texture
and slightly sweet in taste. Another variety is prepared by mixing Coconut Jaggery in the
batter and the process of making them is similar to the plain variety.

Putte: To make this dish, a paste of rice flour stuffed with grated coconut and jiggery is
wrapped in a jackfruit leaf to resemble a cone and steamed. The dish is commonly used
by the Hindus during the Nag Panchami and by the Christians for the Novem.

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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

Shevyo: it is made from the rice dough, previously steamed and then pressed in the
vermicelli press to make fine vermicelli like strands, which are eaten with a mixture of
grated coconut and jaggery. Shevyo is usually made to mark the harvesting season in
Goa.

Bebinca: The most famous Goa's sweetmeats is bebinca also known as bibik. There is a
legend that says that Bebinca was made by a nun called Bibiona of the Convento da Santa
Monica in Old Goa. She made it with seven layers to symbolise the seven hills of Lisbon and
Old Goa and offered it to the priest. But, he found it too small and thus the layers were
increased. There are some claims that it is made with 20 layers. But, ideally it is 14 or 16
layers. According to some culinary experts this is a modified version of bebingka made in
Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia.

It is a wonderful concoction made from layer upon layer of coconut pancakes. The extract
of coconut milk is added to flour, sugar, eggs and ghee and other delectable ingredients
are used to make this delicacy. Each scrumptious layer has to be baked before the next
one is added, traditionally it has 16 layers but can be made with less or more. The dessert
is baked in a specially-made clay oven, with hot coal as a source of heat, placed above.
Though the process of making bebinca is tedious process the dessert is a mouth-melting
dream.

Dodol: Dodol is another famous Goan sweet, traditionally eaten at Christmas time, and
made with rice flour, coconut milk, black jiggery of coconut palm and cashew nuts. It is
usually cooled in a flat pan and served in slices, and is very sweet. (The Hindus call it Alvo
and use a lighter colour jaggery made of sugarcane).

Batica: Batica is a Goan sweet dish or dessert is prepared by first peparing a batter of
grated coconuts, rawa, sugar, eggs and butter. The batter is mixed thouroughly and kept
overnight. It is then poured into a baking dish and baked the next morning.

Some common spice mix used in the Goan Cookery: (04 pax)

Source: Cooking with the Indian Masters (PRASHAD)

Balchao:

• 20 whole red chillies


• 4 sticks of cinnamon (1 inch each)
• 15 green cardamom
• 15 cloves
• 03 gm black peppercorn
• 03 gm cumin
• 10 gm garlic
• 30 gm ginger
• 150 ml malt vinegar

Goan fish curry:

• 15 whole red chillies


• 15 gm coriander seeds
• 05gm cumin seeds
• 05 gm turmeric
• 05 gm garlic
• 20 gm ginger
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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

• 40 gm tamarind

Vindaloo:

• 08 whole red chillies


• 4 sticks of cinnamon (1 inch each)
• 03 gm cumin
• 10 gm coriander seeds
• 03 gm turmeric
• 10 gm garlic
• 30 gm ginger
• 100 ml malt vinegar

Sorpotel:

• 05 whole red chillies


• 05 gm black pepper corn
• 03 gm cumin
• 03 cloves
• 03 green cardamom
• 05 gm garlic
• 30 gm ginger

Fenni:

An accompaniment to wash down all Goan food is the locally brewed feni. The Goans
probably first distilled this from the fermented sap of the coconut flower-stalk, but later
they also made it from the fruit of the cashew tree which the Portuguese had brought to
the state with them. Though other forms of liquor are readily available across the state,
the Goans are as emotional about their feni as they are about their food.

There are two types of feni, both of which are made from local ingredients. Coconut or
palm feni is made from the sap drawn from the severed shoots on a coconut tree. In Goa
this is known as toddy, and the men who collect it are toddy taper's. Cashew or caju feni,
on the other hand, can only be made during the cashew season in late March and early
April.

Undoubtedly Goa's most famous triple, double distilled perfectly clear and fearfully potent
(has an alcoholic strength of around 30% yo 35% proof), this is a drink which deserves
respect.

************************************************************

MAHARASHTRIAN CUISINE

INTRODUCTION:

It is well known that the people of Maharashtra consider their food as Anna he
poornabrahma meaning they consider anna, or food, equal to Brahma, or the creator of
the universe. Food is God and should be worshipped. Apart from this, the people of this
state also believe in offering their food first to the lord as a thanksgiving for all that He has
given. Especially, on festive occasions, some specific mithais (sweets) are offered such as
Ukadiche Modak (Ganesh Chaturthi) and Satyanarayan Puja Sheera.

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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

Overlooking the vast expanse of the Arabian Sea, Maharashtra cuisine is largely
influenced by seafoods and the cuisine that is popular in the interiors of the state
presents a strong blend of the traditional and the contemporary preparations. The
coastline of Maharashtra is usually called the Konkan and boasts its own Konkani
cuisine, which is a harmonized combination of Malvani, Gaud Saraswat Brahmin, and
Goan cuisines. Besides the coastal Maharashtra cuisine, the interior of Maharashtra or
the Vidarbha area has its own distinctive cuisine known as the Varadi cuisine.

GENERAL FEATURES OR CUISINE CHARACTERISTICS:

• Rice is the staple food grain in Maharashtra cuisine, alike the many other states of
India. The staple in the Vidarbha region hardly eat rice and their most preferred
staple is jowar and bajra. All non-vegetarian and vegetarian dishes of Maharashtra
cuisine are eaten with boiled rice or with bhakris, which are soft rotis made of rice
flour. Special rice puris called vada and amboli, which is a pancake made of
fermented rice, urad dal, and semolina, are also eaten as a part of the main meal.

• Cereals are also commonly eaten in the coastal part of the state which includes
Vatana, Val, Moong and Arhar.

• The Maharashtra cuisine includes an enormous variety of vegetables in the regular


diet and lots of fish and coconuts are used. Grated coconuts spice many kinds of
dishes in Maharashtra cuisine. Coconut is extensively used in cooking and as an
embellishment. In the coastal cuisine of Maharashtra, fresh coconut is added to the
dishes, while in the Vidarbha region, powdered coconut is used for cooking.

• In Maharashtra cuisine, peanuts and cashew nuts are widely used in vegetables
and peanut oil is used as the main cooking medium.

• Wide use of kokum, which is a deep purple berry that has a pleasing sweet and
sour taste is also seen in Maharashtra.

• Jaggery and tamarind are also used in most vegetables or lentils so that the
Maharashtra cuisine pertains a sweet and sour flavor while the kala masala
(special mixture of spices) is added to make the food spicy.

• Among seafood of Maharashtra cuisine, the most popular fish is bombil or the
Bombay duck which is normally served batter fried and crisp, while in the
vegetarian fare; the most popular vegetables are brinjals. Bangda or mackerel is
another popular fish in coastal Maharashtra. It is curried with red chilies, ginger
and triphal. Pomfret is another popular fish eaten barbecued, stuffed, fried or
curried. Besides fish, crabs, prawns, shellfish and lobsters are also relished by the
coastal Maharashtrians.

• Maharashtra cuisine is incomplete without papads, which are eaten roasted or


fried. A typical feature of Marathi food is the masala papad in which finely chopped
onions, green chilies and chat masala are speckled over roasted or fried papads.

• The most popular dessert of Maharashtra is the puran poli, roti stuffed with a
sweet mixture of jaggery and gram flour.

• In Maharashtra, the regional festivals and food go together and every dish brings a
special significance along with it. Among Maharashtra cuisine, Chaat is probably
the most loved snacks, followed by bhelpuri, pani puri, pav bhaji, and dosai. The

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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

paan culture has been raised to an art form amidst Maharashtra cuisine. The
famous Cold and Sweet paan is sweet filling and chilled.

COOKING STYLES IN MAHARASHTRA

• Maharashtrian meals are scientifically planned and cooked-the golden rule being
that the cooking medium must not be seen.

• The vegetables are more or less steamed and lightly seasoned so as to retain their
nutritional value.

• There is almost no deep frying and roasting.

CULINARY REGIONS IN MAHARASHTRA:

KONKAN (SOUTH – EAST):

• This region is further divided into Raigarh, Sindhurgarh, and Ratnagiri, on the
coastal line.

• The cuisine of Konkan mainly comprises of fish. A special spice called Tirphal is
used as a common souring agent in the fish.

• The gravies are more coconut - based.

• The cuisine of Sindhurgarh comprises various types of pancakes such as ambodi,


which is made from fermented rice and urad dal.

• Sabudana khichdi, a savoury product made from Sago and Groundnuts, also come
from this part of the state.

• Thalipith is another type of pancake usually made with a combination of rice and
various pulses and is often eaten for breakfast.

• Varieties of seafood such as sharks, crabs and prawns are often cooked in the form
of curries or even prepared dry.

• Usals, which are made from cereals, accompany fish curries in this part of the
state. The Brahmins from the Konkan region are Vegetarians and they consume
usals made from cereals.

• The food of the Konkanastha Brahmins is different as they use more of tamarind
and jaggery to flavour their food.

• The use of asafetida (heing) is also very common here.

• The people from the region of Raigarh have a different method of cooking. They
mostly use groundnut oil for their cooking. French beans are grown over here in
large scale and hence popularly used in the cuisine. The fish curry is stewed along
with vegetables such as potatoes, cauliflowers and brinjals. The locals here prefer
lamb over chicken and the famous preparation of sukhe mutton or dry lamb comes
from here.

VIDARBHA (NORTH – EAST):

• This region includes the districts of Nagpur, Chandrapur and Yeotmal.


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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

• The main profession of the people here is farming and they mostly eat a dish called
hurda, which is roasted raw jowar mixed with curd.

• The food is ver spicyand is usually dry or mixed with ginger, green chillies, and
lime.

• Vada bhaat or lentil fritters mixed with boiled rice are very commonly consumed in
this region.

• The famous poha comes from this region of Maharashtra.

• Fruits like oranges grow in abundance here.

MARATHWAD (EAST):

• This region comprises of Aurangabad, Nander, Latur.

• Moderately spiced food is preferred here.

• Freshly gound masalas are preferred here to flavor the food

• Chutneys are prepared here out of the peels of vegetables such as doodhi. These
chutneys have a flavor of their own and they are eaten along with the food for
lunch as well as dinner.

KOLHAPUR (SOUTH):

• Kolhapur is a region in the south central part of Maharashtra. the other places
include Satara, Sangli and Solapur. The people dwelling here are mostly non –
vegetarian.

• This is a very dry region with scanty rainfall and people face a lot of hardship due
to water scarcity.

• Crops which need less moisture to grow such as jowar is extensively grown here
and bhakri made from it is also consumed.

• The gravies are hot and spicy with a fiery colour but the excellent taste is brought
about by the mingling of the right spices in right proportion.

• The famous lavangi mirchi i.e, small hot green chillies come from this region.

• The non – vegetarian dishes consumed are mutton and chicken items – Mutton
Kolhapuri is the most well – known of all. Desi chicken or gavthi kombdi is
preferred to the regular broiler variety. Crabs that are found in the river water are
also popular.

• Poha, sheera, kurdai, malpua etc are some of the popular snacks during the tea
time.

WESTERN GHATS (THE WESTERN COASTLINE)

• The Western Ghats consist of the North – west coastline along the Arabian Sea.

• The important cities along the coastline are Nasik, Pune and Mumbai.

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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

• The people of this region eat moderately spiced or very less spicy food.

• Bombay duck or bombil is a dried variety of fish which is very popular. It is


prepared in gravy or just stir – fried and served.

• Papad, pickle, chutney, and koshimbir (salad with some coconut, peanuts, and
tempering) are popular accompaniments of food in this region.

• The cooking styles and procedures of the Brahmin communities in this region
(Deshasthas, Karhade, and Saraswats) are almost the same and have great
simplicity.

• The spices are just enough to enhance and bring out the original flavour of the
food.

• Breakfast consists of onion or potato poha or sheera and thalipith. Sometimes


dadpe poha is made from pressed rice, onions, salt, green chillies, green coriander,
and lime juice and then tempered with heing, curry leaves, and mustard. Main
meals consist of boiled rice; varan (plain toovar dal) with some with some ghee in it;
polis (which is a local term for rotis or flat Indian breads made from flour; two
vegetable dishes, one being dry potato preparation and the other a choice of tondle,
gavar, or stuffed brinjal; a koshimbir; chutneys of garlic or peanuts and a lemon
wedge.

• Curd and buttermilk, aamtis and usals of cereals, vegetables, onions, ginger, garlic,
chillies, turmeric, and goda masala are used.

SERVING A MAHARASTRIAN MEAL

• In Maharashtra, even an everyday meal consists of several accompaniments that


are set out in a particular manner in the taat (platter).

• The taat vadhany (method of setting food on the platter) is an art.

• It starts with a bit of salt at the top center of the taat. On its left is set a small piece
of lemon. Then follows the chutney (spicy accompaniment made of ground coconut
and green chilies), koshimbir (salad), bharit (lightly cooked or raw vegetable in
yogurt) in that order.

• The vegetable with gravy never precedes the dry vegetable because the gravy will
run into it.

• Once everyone is seated the woman of the house will serve the rice, pour a little
toop (clarified butter) and varan (lentil) on it and then the meal begins after a short
thanksgiving.

• The people of Maharashtra are known for aesthetic presentation of food. In formal
meals, the guests sit on floor rugs or red wooden seats and eat from silver or metal
thalis and bowls, placed on a raised chowrang, a short decorative table. To avoid
mixing of flavors, each guest is given a bowl of saffron scented water to dip fingers
in before starting to eat the next delicacy.

• Snacking is a favorite pastime of this city of Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra.


Chaat is probably the most widely eaten food in the city, followed by bhelpuri, pani
puri, pav bhaji, and dosai.
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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

• For those looking for non-vegetarian snacks, there are the Muslim kebabs, baida
roti (an egg roti stuffed with minced meat), tandoori chicken, seekh kebabs, and
fish koliwada.

FESTIVE FOOD IN MAHARASHTRA

Gudi Padwa, Holi, Haritalika, Ganesh Chaturthi, Diwali, Makara Sankranti are some of the
festivals native to the state of Maharashtra. And some special foods during these festival
times are as follows:

• Gudi Padwa: Soonth Panak, Sprouted Chana Usal

• Holi: Puran Poli

• Haritalika: Coconut Potali

• Ganesh Chaturthi: Karanji, Chakli

• Diwali: Shankarpali, Badam Halwa, Chakli, Karanji.

• Makar Sakranti: Shengdana Chikki

Food in Weddings:

After the marriage ceremony is done with, guests sit down to a traditional meal served on
a banana leaf. The meal is entirely vegetarian in nature and is created without any onion
or garlic. It consists of a selection of vegetables in coconut gravy, green mango chutney,
cucumber and peanut salad, rice, puris, golden dal called ‘varan’ and a sweet dish like
jalebi, creamy basundi or saffron-scented shrikhand. ‘Mattha’ or coriander-flavored, salted
buttermilk complements the meal, which ends with a sweet ‘paan’ called `vida.

MAHARASHTRIAN COOKING EQUIPMENTS

• CHOOL: It is a cooking stove made out of mud. Dry cow dung or wood is used for
firing the stove.

• THIKRA: This is a tawa made from mud which is used to make breads. This gives
an earthly flavor to the dish

• MANDE TAWA: This is a wok – like equipment made out of a special earthenware
pot. This pot is upturned and fire is lit from the bottom. Mande is made out of a
dough of rawa and maida. Powdered sugar and a bit of atta are stuffed in the
dough dumplings which are flattened into rotis on the hand, something like the
roomali roti found in the north.

• MODAK PATRA: This is copper vessel made for making modaks.

• PATA – WARWANTA: It is a rectangular piece of stone, approximately 2ft by 1ft on


which the spices are ground with a stone pestle.

• GUNDPONGLU TAWA: This is a tawa that resembles an idli tawa and is used for
making steamed dumplings.

• KHALBHTTA: It is a cast iron vessel which is used to powder dry masalas and
spices. A heavy iron rod is used to pound the spices.

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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

• PURANCHEY YANTRA: This is a kind of sieve. It is used for making a paste of


chana dal and jaggery used for making puran poli.

• VEELI: This is a sickle – shaped blade fixed on a wooden block used for slicing and
chopping of vegetables.

MAHARASHTRIAN DISHES

• GHADICHI POLI or CHAPATI: Unleavened flat bread made of wheat, more common
in urban areas.

• BHAKRI: Bread made from millets like jowar and bajra, form part of daily food in
rural areas.

• PACHADI: A typical Maharashtrian dish which is tender brinjals cooked with green
mangoes and ornamented with coconut and jaggery.

• MASALEY BHAAT: The rice and brinjal preparations, flavoured with the red chillies,
is commonly made during the marriage ceremonies.

• PATAL BHAJI: A typical dish of Maharashtra cuisine is the patal bhaji, a sweet and
sour dish flavored with groundnuts.

• VARAN: It is a plain non-spicy or lightly spiced lentil flavoured heing and jiggery,
made with split Pigeon pea (Toor dal).

• KATACHI AMTI: It is a sour lentil preparation from chana dal, normally preferred
on the day of Holi.

• TOMATO SAAR: Maharashtrian spicy tomato soup.

• THALIPITH: A type of pancake. Usually spicy and is eaten with curd.

• VADA PAV: Popular Maharashtrian dish consisting of fried mashed-potato


dumpling (vada), eaten sandwiched in a bun (pav). This is referred to as Indian
version of burger and is almost always accompanied with the famous red chutney
made from garlic and chillies, and fried green chilles.

• PAMPHLET TRIPHAL AMBAT: This is a traditional dish in which fish (Pomfret) is


cooked in creamy coconut gravy that greatly enhances its taste.

• SUNGTACHI-HINGA KODI: A popular prawn dish is the sungtachi-hinga kodi,


which consists of prawns in coconut gravy, blended with spices and asafoetida.

• BHARLI WANGI: This is a very traditional Marathi curry, Bharli Vangi or "Stuffed
Eggplant". Whenever one feels like eating something spicy in meals, this is a
favorite option in all Marathi families. It goes great with poli, bhakri or rice.

• DADPE POHE: Another variety of Pohe from Maharashtra. A simple and spicy and
non fried snack at any time. In Marathi "Dadpane' means giving pressure. While
soaking Poha, we cover it with plate and keep some weight on it. So it is called as
'Dadpe Pohe'.

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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

• SHANKARPALYA: These are savoury and sweet snacks made with flour. Flour, oil ,
salt and water are kneaded to form a firm dough. It is then rolled out thin and cut
into various shapes. These are deep fat fried until crisp.

• SWEET DISHES OF MAHARASHTRIAN CUISINE:

a) Puran Poli: It is one of the most popular sweet item in the Maharashtrian
cuisine. It is made from jaggery (molasses or gur), yellow gram (chana) dal, pain
flour, cardamom powder and ghee (clarified butter). It is made at almost all
festivals. A meal containing puran poli is considered "heavy" by Marathi people.

b) Gulachi Poli : Made specially on Makar Sankranti in typical Brahmin


households, the Gulachi poli is a heavy meal similar to the Puran Poli. It is made
with a stuffing of soft/shredded Jaggery mixed with toasted, ground Til (white
sesame seeds)and some gram flour which has been toasted to golden in plenty of
pure Ghee. The dish is made like a paratha i.e. the stuffed roti is fried on Pure ghee
till crisp on both side. Tastes heavenly when eaten slightly warm with loads of ghee.

c) Modak: This is a sweet dumpling popular in Western India. The sweet filling is
made of fresh coconut and jaggery while the shell is of rice flour. The dumpling can
be fried or steamed. The steamed version is eaten hot with ghee. Modak has a
special importance in the worship of the Hindu god Ganesh.

d) Karanji: is a deep fried dumpling with a filling of grated coconut sweetened with
jaggery and flavoured with powdered cardamom seeds. It is also known as
Kanavale. It is one of the popular sweets prepared for Diwali celebrations.

e) Chiroti: Made by combination of rawa - Semolina and maida Plain flour

f) Basundi puri: reduced milk with sugar and flavoured with cardamom (basundi0
is relished with deep – fried poories on the auspicious day of Dusshera.

h) Shikran: An instant sweet dish made from banana, milk and sugar.

i) Shrikhand: Sweetened yogurt flavoured with saffron, cardamom and charoli nuts.

j) Narali Bhaat : The sea is worshipped by the Koli community of Maharashtra and
people offer coconuts to the sea. Sweet rice made by them using coconut with
special flavoring given by cardamon and cloves. This is the special dish for the
festival; of Narali Pornima which falls on the Full moon day in the Hindu month of
Shravan (August).

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RAJASTHANI CUISINE
INTRODUCTION

• Fascinating Rajasthan Cuisines were influenced by the geomorphology and political conditions
of the region of Rajasthan.
• Like the state itself, its inhabitants and their rich culture, Rajasthani cuisine is a splendid array
of colourful, spicy and unique dishes.

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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

• The availability of all types of food was a rarity here and the preservation of the food was the
main criteria because of the desert conditions and war situations of Rajasthan. Rarely has the
world seen so rich a cuisine from so little that was available from the land of Rajasthan.
• Thar, the Great Indian Desert, immortalised in song and folklore as Marusthali (The land of
Death) lies in north-west Rajasthan, but not all of this state is wasteland. The Arawali hills, the
oldest geographical feature of the Indian-subcontinent, is a rocky spine that divides Rajasthan
into two regions of startling contrasts: one is barren while the other has lakes, forests and fertile
land.
• While the eastern region of Rajasthan has fertile soil capable of crops of everything from wheat
and maize to millets and corn, for much part the desert’s dry terrain, prone to droughts, was
incapable of producing even basic necessities of survival. Yet, live and eat they did, creating an
exotic cuisine from the soil that threw up a few pulses, crops of millet, and trees with beans that
were dried and stored for use when, in the summers, nothing would grow.
• Land of Princes, as Rajasthan is called, shows off the royal kitchens of Rajasthan in which the
preparation of food was a very complex matter and was raised to the levels of an art form. Thus
the 'Khansamas' (the royal cooks) worked in the stately palaces and kept their most enigmatic
recipes to themselves.
HISTORICAL INFLUENCE IN THE RAJASTHANI CUISINE

• Rajasthani cooking has its own unique flavour and the simplest; the most basic of ingredients go
into the preparation of most of the dishes in Rajasthan.
• The cuisine of Rajasthan was highly influenced by both the war-like lifestyles of its inhabitants
and the availability of ingredients in the desert region in Rajasthan.
• Scarcity of water and lack of fresh green vegetables also had their effect on Rajasthani cooking.
• Food that could last for several days and could be eaten without heating was preferred, more
out of necessity than choice in Rajasthan.
• The passion of the Maharajas of Rajasthan for shikar (hunting) has been largely responsible for
shaping the culinary art in Rajasthan. In the world of good eating, game cooking is easily the
most respected art form in Rajasthan, largely because the skills required to clean, cut and cook
game are not easily acquired.
• With the Pathani invasions, filtered in the art of barbecuing which has now been honed to
perfection and the quintessential sula-smoked kebabs or skewered boneless lamb-can be
prepared in 11 different ways.
• On the other hand is the vegetarian cooking of the Maheshwaris of Marwar or Jodhpur in
Rajasthan, who do not use even garlic and onions, as these are said to excite the blood. The
Marwaris of Rajasthan, of course, were vegetarian too, but their cuisine, though not too
different from the Rajputs, was richer in its method of preparation. And then there were the
Jains too in Rajasthan, who were not only vegetarians, but who would not eat after sundown,
and whose food had to be devoid of garlic and onions which were, otherwise, important
ingredients in the Rajasthani pot.
• The unique creation of the Maharaja of Salwar is the Junglee maas. Junglee maas was a great
favourite among the Maharajas and due to the paucity of exotic ingredients in the camp
26
Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

kitchen, the game brought in from the hunt was simply cooked in pure ghee, salt and plenty of
red chillies of Rajasthan.
• The Vaishnavs, followers of Krishna, were vegetarian, and strictly so, as were the Bishnois, a
community known for their passion to conserve both animal and plant life. Even among
Rajputs, there were enough royal kitchens where nothing other than vegetarian meals was
cooked.
• The personal recipes of the royal KHANSAMA still rotate around their generations and are
the highlights of regal gatherings of Rajasthan. Each state of Rajasthan had their own style of the
recipes which is continued in the Rajput households. It was mainly the men folks of the family
that prepared the non-vegetarian. Some of the Maharajas apart from being great hunters
relished the passion of cooking the SHIKARS themselves for their chosen guests and the trend
continues among the generation of Rajasthan
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE CUISINE

The food style of this glorious desert state of India has been affected by the natural topography and
indigenously available ingredients like most other civilizations of the world. A lack of leafy green
vegetables, a pronounced use of lentils, pulses, legumes and the use of milk, curd and buttermilk in
place of the water in the gravy marks the essentials of Rajasthani cuisine.
Some salient features can be discussed as follows:
• The cooking of Rajasthan was immensely influenced by the war-like and belligerent way of life
of its people and the accessibility of the ingredients that were grown in this region. Rajasthani
food is well known for its spicy curries and delicious sweets.
• Major crops of Rajasthan are Jowar, Bajri, Maize, Ragi, Rice, Wheat, Barely, Gram, Tur,
pulses, Ground nut, Seesame etc. Millets, lentils and beans are most basic ingredients in food.
• In a land where ordinary vegitables like potatoes and cauliflowers can not be grown, the people
of Marwar have learnt to supplement their diet by using whatever the environment has to offer,
be it from a tree, a bush, a plant or a creeper. For instance, ‘kachri’ (cucumis melo), ‘fofliya’
(citrullus lanatus), ‘khumattiya’ (it is a small circular,flat, black-brown colored herb which is
picked from the tree Kumatiya, spread naturally all over in the desert of Thar), ‘gawar’
(cyamopsis tetragonoloba) etc are all regarded as vegetables. Besides several types of melons
and cucumbers are also used and are considered exotic.
• Rajasthani food is characterized by the use of Jowar, Bajra, legumes and lentils, its distinct
aroma and flavour achieved by the blending of spices including curry leaves, tamarind,
coriander, ginger, garlic, chili, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, cumin and rosewater.
Other spices commonly used are powdered cumin seeds (jeera), fennel seeds or aniseed
(saunf), fenugreek seeds (methi dana), nigella seeds (kalonji), carom seeds (ajwain), cloves
(laung or loong), garlic, dried ginger (soonth), amchoor (dried mango powder), mustard seeds
(rai), kasuri methi (dried coarsely powdered fenreek leaves), asafoetida (heing), cinnamon
(dalchini), etc. These are generally powdered in a heavy iron mortar and pestle just before
adding to the food to retain their coarse texture and natural flavour.
• The Rajasthani cuisine uses a lot of dry coconut.
• Clarified butter or ghee forms the main medium of cooking.
27
Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

• Till or gingelly, used primarily to extract oil, is another crop that grows here and finds its way
into the foods of Marwa. The cooking oils that are commonly used in the Rajasthani cuisine
are mainly oils such as vegetable oils like sunflower, canola and peanut oil.
• Dried lentils, beans from indigenous plants like sangri ,ker etc. are liberally used. Gram flour is
the major ingredient in the making of a couple of delicacies such as "pakodi" and "gatte ki sabzi".
Powdered lentils are liberally used in the preparation of papad, mangodi etc.
• These robust desert people have also perfected the skill of drying vegetables. Thus fresh green
chilles or dry red ones are integral to their diet and are made into snacks, curies, pickles and
chutneys. One reason why they consume enormous quantities of chillies is because they grow
them. A preference for flavourings which can be stored for long times in normal weather
conditions characterizes the local cuisine. Red chillies of Rajasthan are famous worldwide.
These may be used either whole or coarsely powdered. They lend the gravies not only a bright
red/orange colour but also their fiery, scalding flavour.
• A distinct feature of the Maheshwari cooking is the use of mango powder, a suitable substitute
for tomatoes, scarce in the desert, and asafoetida, to enhance the taste in the absence of garlic
and onions.
• The meat prepared was mainly of hare or rabbit, wild boar or deer or game birds.
• The meat dishes were classified into Lal Maas (red meat) or Safed Maas (white meat). The Lal
Mans was prepared in rich gravy of tomatoes and spices such as the scalding red chillies. The
white meat was however was stuffed with dry fruits such as raisins and pistachio and slow
cooked in a gravy of cashew, cream, coconut and blanched almonds and laced with powdered
spices such as cardamom and cinnamon.
• Goat and camel milk form the basis of the various diary products used in Rajasthani cuisine.
Camel’s milk is thicker and richer and produces excellent yoghurt (dahi), butter, ghee, malai,
khoa and soft cheeses such as paneer.
• The cuisine of Rajasthan is primarily vegetarian and offers a fabulous variety of mouthwatering
dishes. The spice content is quite high in comparison to other Indian cuisines, but the food is
absolutely scrumptious.
• Rajasthanis use ghee for cooking most of the dishes..
• In the desert belts of Rajasthan, it is preferred to use milk, butter milk and butter in larger
quantities to minimize the amount of water while cooking food.
• Bread rather than rice forms the staple food of the Rajasthanis. This is because rice does not
grow well in these dry sandy soils. Wheat breads such as rotis are indeed the staple food.
Wheat products such as atta (wheat flour), dalia (cracked wheat) and maida (refined flour) are
commonly used to make the bread. Chapattis and Parathas are unleavened flat bread that are
cooked on the direct flame and served dry or shallow fried. Puri and Kachauri too are smaller
pieces of bread and these deep fried till they are crisp, golden and fluffy. Laapsi, made of dalia
is an all time favorite. Missi Roti and Tikadia are shallow fried rotis stuffed with an assortment
of spices. Due to the natural habitat of the region, jowar (sorghum), bajra (pearl millet) and
makai (corn) grow well. The flour of these are used very often to make rotis and make
nutritious substitutes to the ordinary roti such as Jowar ki Roti, Bajre ki Roti, Chane ki Roti etc
are common household variations of the wheat rotis.
28
Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

• Rice finds limited use in the pulaos and such preparations in the Rajput households but it does
not form the staple main course of most households in the state.
• Pickles and chutneys of Rajasthan are famous accompaniments to their main fare. Tamatar ki
Launji, Lehsun ki Chutney, Imly ki Chutney Aam Launji and Pudina Chutney are common
titbits that give a bland meal the tang required and have excellent digestive properties. Moong
Dal Papads, Masala Papads, Mangodis, Pakodis and Badis are used instead of vegetables in
many dishes.
• Native Rajasthanis have a unique style of coupling the sweet dishes with the main
(bread/roti/puri) course instead of or in addition to vegetables or meat. Halwa - Puri for
example makes a famous combination. Here again we find a great use of pulses, legumes, diary
products etc and a unique style of rustling up the desserts. A great use of clarified butter (ghee)
characterizes the sweets.
• Snacks of different types form an intergral pert of the cuisine. Bhujia, Boondis, Sohali, and
crisp Nimkis are the classic recipes of Rajasthani snacks. These can be stored and used over a
long period of time. Chillas, Dahi Badas, Dahi Kachauris and Kanji Badas make for lighter
meals and need to be consumed soon after preparation.
COOKING EQUIPMENTS USED IN RAJASTHAN

• TIKRA: This is a clay pot that is typically used for the preparation odd al called tikri ki dal.
The much desired earthly flavour of the dal is obtained in this manner.
• CHULAH: In the olden days, stoves were made out of mud and cow dung cakes were the
most commonly used fuel. The low flame of the chulah would cook the food slowly allowing
better infusion of the flavour of the spices.
• SIGRI: This is an open bar – be – qued griller used for grilling kebabs such as maas ke sooley.
Very little ‘special’ equipment would be needed to prepare your Rajasthani cuisine. Pots and pans
those are non-sticky of course as they make the best utensils for simply any type of cooking, so try
getting a hold of a few of those if you do not have them already. Moreover, using wooden stirrers in
place of stainless steel ones is the best choice always. Even so, it is always exciting to know about and if
you wish to cook with specialized Rajasthani equipment. If you are a creative and innovative cook and
want to prepare your Indian meal in the true traditional Rajasthani Indian style then it will not be a bad
idea to invest into getting a ‘Tawa’. The traditional Rajasthani breads such as chapattis, parathas and
rotis are all made using the tawa. Karahi is another deep frying pot which looks quite like a Chinese
wok but it is heavier and deeper than the former. The karahi makes a great alternative for ordinary
deep frying recipes. Commonly the meat dishes are prepared in the karahi. Other than the traditional
Indian tawa and karahi, spice grinders, food processors or electric blenders are always useful to make
your cooking easy and joyful. Getting a hold of a few metal skewers for meat and vegetable threading is
also a handy utensil. Other than that, electric spice grinder or a simple pestle and mortar are invaluable
for grinding small quantities of spices. Food processors or electric blenders usually save a lot of your
cooking hours and make your preparation of the Rajasthani cooking even easier.
A NOTE ON THE COOKING METHODS:

Although no specific method which is ‘special’ is used while preparing your Rajasthani cuisine,
nevertheless there are various methods used in the preparation process of the Rajasthan cooking. If
you are looking for perfect results to stem out then it is better to stick to the old traditional manner of
29
Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

preparing your Rajasthani cuisine. Some of the few cooking methods and styles applied in Rajasthani
cooking are the many and highly distinctive in their nature. The preparation methods applied in the
Rajasthani cooking were first used when man discovered fire. A lamb or chicken which is usually
prepared with rice, spices and water is prepared in a highly simple manner. Another type of method
that involves the preparation of the Rajasthani cooking is grilling the seasoned lamb or chicken on flat
stones that are usually placed on top of burning embers. There is also a quick cooking preparation
form of the whole wheat in the Rajasthani cuisine that is cleaned and parboiled, dried, ground into
particles and sifted into distinct sizes. It usually comes in four particular forms of grind sizes which
further provide different textures and cooking properties for a range of food applications.
RAJASTHANI EATING CUSTOM:
MARWARIS are the business communities of Rajasthan and are also known as banias. These people
are mostly vegetarian and some of them even do not include onion and garlic in the food. The kitchen
of a Marwari household is considered to be a very sacred place and entry is limited. Only the ladies of
the house or a professional cook called Maharaja are allowed to enter it. The cook is also responsible
to serve the food from the pots to the plates (thali). A thali is a large metal plate and has an
arrangement of many small bowls called katoris which consist of vegetables and accompaniments.
Some of the large thalis served for the royal families contained as many as 56 items on the thali and
such a lavish fare is often referred to as chappan bhog.
Non vegetarian food is also consumed, specially by the Rajputs.
The daily food in Rajasthan generally includes roti (bread) made of wheat, millet, barley or maize with
gatte-ki-sabzi, pickles, and curries. Curries generally are made from Besan and curds.
SOME COMMON DISHES IN THIS CUISINE:
• LAAL MAAS: These red meat are made using lamb, yoghurt, onions, and garlic. This dish uses
a typical chilli called manthania chilli that is indigenous to Rajasthan. This dish is uniquely
smoked with cloves to give an enriched flavour to the meat.
• SAFED MAAS: It is a signature lamb preparation from Rajasthan. Its white curry is made from
the use of fresh coconut kernel paste, white pepper, cashew nuts, poppy seeds, almond, etc.
along with yoghurt and onion paste laced with powdered spices such as cardamom and
cinnamon. Safed Maas is favorite dish of the Kachchwaha family of Jaipur.
• KHUD KHARGOSH: Khud Khargosh (Hare or rabbit meat cooked in a pit) is a Rajput
specialty during summer in Rajasthan, when the hare is lean. The hare is skinned and stuffed
with spices, wrapped in dough and finally in layers of mud-soaked cloth. The ambrosial result is
meat perfectly blended with the spices and dough.
• SOOLEY: In Rajput cuisine, sooley refers to tender morsels of meat, the most prized being
wild boar spare ribs (bhanslas), marinated in a mixture of dry yogurt, browned onions, garlic,
ginger, coriander, red chilli, and kachri(a small pod which tenderizes meat) and lends a
particular sharp-sour flavour to many dishes. The marinated meat is smoked, spitted on
skewers, and grilled over hot coals. Sooley are made of chicken, pheasant, mutton, or fish.
Example of sooley: MAAS KE SOOLEY: This dish is normally eaten as an appetizer. Thin
slices of lamb are first marinated overnight in buttermilk and salt. Next day the buttermilk is
discarded and the meat is marinated in mustard oil, red chilli powder, cloves, and black pepper.
The meat is skewered into thick iron rods and cooked on a charcoal grill.

30
Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

• KER SANGRI: KER ( unripe fruits of " Capparis decidua" tree), SANGRI ( Sangri refers to the
beans from the tree "Prosopis cineraria", which has very deep roots, enabling it to store water for
up to 7 months). This is a preparation which is almost similar to a pickle and can be eaten cold
or warm. They are soaked in turmeric water and then mixed with mustard oil and pickling
spices.
• DAL BAATI CHURMA: This is a classical combination of three dishes eaten together. Dal is
also known as panchmel dal, as it is a combination of five types of lentils cooked with garlic and
desi ghee. The Baatis are dumplings of wholewheat flour, baked on dry cow dung cakes called
kandas. Churma is a sweetened cereal powder made by frying wholewheat flour and desi ghee.
• GATTE: Rajasthani gatte are made by kneading gram flour with yoghurt, mustard oil, dried
fenugreek leaves, turmeric, and salt into a dough. The dough is rolled into long cylindrical
shapes and poached in salt water. The gattes are then cut into 1 inch long pieces and deep fried.
This is now simmered in yoghurt – based yellow gravy.
• MANGODI KI SUBJI: Mongodis are made by soaking lentils in water until they are soft. They
are then ground without addition of water and combined with red chilli powder, turmeric and
coriander powder. These are then pinched into cherry size and dried in the sun for a couple of
days. These mongodis can be stored upto a few months. It is often deep fried and combined
with vegetables to make dry preparation and curries.
• MAKKI KA SOWETA: The Soweta is a spicy combination of lamb and corn. The meat is
marinated with yoghurt, a paste of garlic, deseeded green chillies, onions along with coriander
powder, red chilli powder, turmeric and salt. The corn is roughly chopped. These are made to
bhunao till brown, little moisture added and cooked till the meat is tender.
• AMRUD KI SABJI: This is an exquisite delicacy of guava simmered in a tangy tomato and
yoghurt masala.
• KHAD: A multi – tiered cake of lamb mince and phulka – a magnificent meal in itself. Khad
means a hole in the ground. Originally, the ‘cake’ was baked in a hole in the ground with
charcoals and hot sand providing the heat.
• MONGIDI CHAWAL: It is prepared with rice and fried lentil dumplings known as mongodis.
It is preparing by putting whole hot spices in the ghee followed by some sliced onions, ginger
juliennes, and other spices. The soaked rice is added and cooked along with fried mongodis.
• GATTE KI TAHIRI: This is a contemporary Rajasthani preparation of besan gate that are
layered with basmati rice along with flavoured spices and saffron cooked on dum.
• MISSI ROTI: This is avery famous bread prepared by kneading gram flour, wholewheat flour,
chopped onions, and green chillies into a dough. The chapattis are rolled out from this dough
and cooked on a tawa.
• CHILLA: Besan ka chilla is a very common street food from Rajasthan. It can be made from
besan or moong dal. This moong dal is soaked and then made into a coarse paste. It is then
mixed with salt, chopped onions, green chillies, and chopped green coriander and left to
ferment for an hour. It is then spread like a dosa on a hot plate and stuffed with grated paneer
and folded over to a half moon. It is served hot with garlic chutney.
• RAJASTHANI DESSERTS:

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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

Native Rajasthanis have a unique style of coupling the sweet dishes with the main
(bread/roti/puri) course instead of or in addition to vegetables or meat. Halwa - Puri for
example makes a famous combination. Here again we find a great use of pulses, legumes, diary
products etc and a unique style of rustling up the desserts. A great use of clarified butter (ghee)
characterizes the sweets. These are over cooked and often chashni (caramel) based. Halwas
and Chakkis are a must on most festive occasion. A variety of dal ka halwas are made using
lentils such as Moong Dal ka Halwa, made of green gram (split) or semoina (Sooji ka Halwa).
Ajmer is famous for its Sohan Halwa. Chakkis are also similar to halwa- Besan ki Chakki is an
all time favorite. The state is also known for the many varieties of laddus (sweet balls) prepared
commonly in the households. Motichur ka Laddu, Besan ka Laddu, Dal ka Laddu and the
unique Gaund ka Laddu eaten mostly in winter months due to the heat it imparts to the system
are the state’s specialties. A number of diary products are also effectively used in making
desserts. Kheer is a milk-based sweet dish. Kheer is cooked in variations such as with the more
common rice or with Vermicelli (Seviyan Kheer). Makhane ka Kheer and Jhajharia are also
diary based recipes cooked only by the natives of the state. Ghevar (a specialty of Jaipur) of is
probably the most intriguing of sweets prepared in the state. It is a must have on Makar
Shankaranti, a festival that usually falls around the 14th of January every year. The Rabri
topped Jalebi of Rajasthan is legendary. Malpuas of Pushkar, Dil Jani of Udaipur, Mishri Mawa
of Ajmer have claimed the hearts of international tourists. Firni, Kalakand, Kaju Katli and
Mawa Kachori are other all time favourites.
REGIONAL SPECIALITIES OF RAJASTHAN IN INDIA
Each region has its own special food item that is identified with the town or city.
• Jaipur in Rajasthan has its specialty of Mishri Mawa, Kalakand and Ghevar. The Kachchwaaha
family of Jaipur in Rajasthan is the originator of the delicacy called Safed Maas or white meat.
The preparation is white in colour and is prepared from white mutton. The curry is prepared
from cashew nuts, almonds, fresh coconut kernel paste, white pepper and poppy seeds.
• Bikaner has its savouries, especially bhujiya, which has accounted for its fame, and the quality of
its papads and badi remains unrivalled. The lean mutton of the desert goats of this region too is
considered the most favourable.
• In Bharatpur, milk sweets, rarely commercially available, occupy a niche by themselves. A
Rajasthani delicacy, linked with the monsoon festival of Teej, is called ghevar, consisting of
round cakes of white flour over which sweetened syrup is poured. Today, variations include
lacings with cream and khoya, making it a delightful concoction.
• Muslim food has also occupied a place in the overall cuisine of Rajasthan, not just in pockets
such as Tonk and Loharu, but also in Jaipur, Rajasthan.
• The region of Mewar or Udaipur in Rajasthan is believed to have come up the form of
barbecue called Sooley and Dil Jani.
• The region of Jodhpur in Rajasthan is famous for Makhaniya Lassi, Kachoris, hot green masala
chilies and Laddoos.
• The region of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan is famous for Laddoos
• Pushkar is famous for Malpua,
• Ajmer in Rajasthan is famous for Sohan Halwa
• Alwar is well known for Mawa and Hot jalebies are available in most town and cities of
Rajasthan.

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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

• Scarcity of water, fresh green vegetables have all had their effect on the cooking. In the desert
belt of Jaisalmer,Barmer and Bikaner,cooks use the minimum of water and prefer,instead, to
use more milk, buttermilk and clarified butter.

*****************************************************

GUJRATI CUISINE

INTRODUCTION:

The traditional Gujarati food is primarily vegetarian and has a high nutritional
value. Gujarati cuisine is in many ways unique from other culinary traditions of
India. It is one of the few cultures where a majority of people are vegetarians. This
vegetarianism may have originally sprung from religious ideologies and beliefs of
the region. Gujarati cuisine has so much to offer and each dish has an absolutely
different cooking style. Some of the dishes are stir fry, while others are boiled.
Gujarati food is more often served on a silver platter. Gujaratis use a combination
of different spices and flavour to cook their meals and this is what makes their
food truly exotic.

Two movements led to a very high degree of vegetarianism in Gujarat. One was the
strong Jain influence in the area even prior to the 6th century B.C. when the
teachings of Mahavira had a powerful impact on the people. Numerous Jain
scholars subsequently exerted a strong influence, like Hemachandra (11th century
AD). Even King Kumarapala, a meat eater in his youth, was influenced later by
Jainism. In the 12th century AD he issued edicts against the slaughter of animals,
called amarighoshanas. Vaishnavaism, which also enjoins abstinence from meat,
received a strong impetus from the preachings of Vallabhacharya, who formed the
Pushti-Marga sect in the 15th century AD. Today two-thirds of Gujarat is
vegetarian, the highest proportion in any Indian state. The Jain population doesnt
even include spices like onion and garlic. Yet their food is extremely delicious. This
proves the culinary skills of the people of Gujarat.

Gujarati cuisine is a blend of exquisite flavours and textures. A wide range of foods
are cooked in Gujarati homes, and a variety of typical traditional recipes come
from different regions of Gujarat.

With so much variety in vegetarian food, the Indian British cookbook writer
Madhur Jaffrey has termed Gujarati cuisine as "the haute cuisine of
vegetarianism" in 'Flavours of India', one of her TV shows about Indian food.

REGIONAL COOKERY IN GUJRAT

Although the principal language of Gujarat is ‘Gujarati’ and other languages


spoken are Hindi and English, Gujarat encompasses many languages and dialects
throughout to its many regions, castes and traditions. People of North Gujarat
speak ‘northern Gujarati’, Central Gujarat speaks ‘Charotari’, Saurashtra speaks
‘Kathiawadi’ , South Gujarat speaks ‘Surti’ and Kutchh speaks ‘Kutchi.’ Gujrat can
be divided into four regions depending on the food habits:

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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

• North Gujrat

• South Gujrat

• Saurashtra (Kathiawadi)

• Kutch (Kutchi)

North Gujarat is the home of traditional Gujarati cuisine with the Gujarati
Thali being very popular. It is a dish consisting of rice, dal, sprouted beans, curry,
vegetables, farsan, pickles, chutney and raita. North Gujrati food is not very oily
or spicy. Farsans come in three varieties: Pathara, KhamanDhokla, and Khandvi.
Papads, chutneys and pickles accompany every meal and are preferred a lot. This
region is perhaps the healthiest and conventional in it’s cooking with oil and
spices used in minimum.

South Gujarat adds a lot of green chillies in their dishes. In some households,
one of two chilli is just bitten at in between the meal to re - establish the spiciness.
Very hot region and very hot cuisine is what could be said to describe the cuisine.
It is very simple and the most common dishes are perhaps the same as that of
North Gujarat with just a lot of spices. South Gujarat has plenty of rainfall, and
this is the reason why there is no shortage of green vegetables and fruit. Fruits
and fresh vegetables are also common in Surati food as a result. It also must be
asserted that these foods prepared are common at festive occasions, and even
though there are no extensive preparations. Among the popular items here at
festival times are Oondhiyu and Paunk. These people also have a sweet tooth and
one can see a lot of sweeteries and bakeries locally. Products like Nankhatiasand
Gharis are very popular in this region. South Gujaratis eat simple food with a lot
of life in it in the form of green chillies.

Saurashtra (Kathiawari):A popularity of this region is Dhebra. It is made with


wheat flour, spinach, green chillies, a pint of yoghurt, salt and sugar to taste. It is
eaten with a specially prepared hot and sweet mango pickle. The Kathiawari
speciality with respect to spices is called Methi masala (Fenugreek is dried and
ground with red chillies and salt). This is used to flavour curries and other
dishes.In Kathiawad, it quite surprising to learn that Saurashtra in spite of its dry
earth has millet, peanuts, sugarcane, wheat, and sesame. In Saurashtra during
the harsh cold winter bhakris, a type of thick rotis, made from wheat flour, garlic,
onion, buttermilk and a lot of spices is made. It keeps the body warm. Phafda, an
omum flavoured assorted flour puri is another Kathiawari favourite. Pulses
dominate Kathiawari food and sweetmeats made of jaggery. They also eat a lot of
peanut and til cookies. This region has a delicious variety of pickles.

Kutchi cuisine is also very simple. Both Kucth and Kathiawar use a lot of red
chillies in their dishes. The main dish of this region is Khichdi. It is eaten with
Kadhi - a spicy gravy made of yoghurt. KhamanDhokla, Doodhpakand
Shrikhand(eaten with hot fluffy puris) are part of the everyday meal.

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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

FEATURES OF GUJRATI CUISINE

• A typical Gujrati meal consists of Indian Breads made from millets – the
staple of Gujrat. Roti itself is prepared in a number of variations from the
petal soft phulkas to the bone-dry khakra.

• Certain ingredients like yogurt, buttermilk, coconut, groundnut, sesame


seeds, limejuice, sugar, jaggery etc. are very common in Gujarati food.The
unique feature of Gujarati food is that a touch of sugar goes into most
Gujarati spicing.

• The cuisine changes with the seasonal availability of vegetables. An assorted


combination of green leafy vegetables, seasonal healthy vegetables, with a
delectable collection of spices makes it very palatable and tasty.

• The spices used also change depending on the season. Garam Masala and
its constituent spices are used less in summer.

• Regular fasting, with diets limited to milk and dried fruits, and nuts, are
commonplace.Goodness of milk, yoghurt, buttermilk, coconuts, groundnuts
and various other nuts make this meal rich in proteins even with the
absence of meat and eggs.

• Papads include the kheechara, which contains wheat, rice, and bajra flours,
and is neither fried nor baked, but steamed.

• Raithas are made from curd and a combination of vegetables, nuts, dried
fruits and chutneys.

• Pickles include the distinctive athanu, goondas and chanduowith its sweet-
sour flavor, tempered with cardamom and cloves.

• Sweets (desserts) made from such ingredients as local sugar cane, jaggery (a
solid made from unrefined cane sugar), milk, almonds, and pistachios were
originally served at weddings and family occasions as an instant energy
booster for relations travelling long distances to attend.

• Many Gujarati dishes are distinctively sweet, salty, and spicy at the same
time. The use of jiggery, kokum, lime and tamarind is in plenty. They can
also be very oily.

• Gujrati snacks are also known as FARSAN. The Farsan consists of many
delicacies like DaalDhokli, Dhokla, Fafda, Farsi Falafel, Ganthia, Hahdwoh,
Kachori, Khakhra, Khaman, KhamanDhokla, Khandvi, Khichu, LilvaKachori,
Muthia, SevKhamanietc

• Gujaratis in general from all the four regions, namely, North Gujrat, South
Gujrat, Saurashtra (Kathiawadi) and Kutch (Kutchi) eat a simple everyday
meal which is daal, rice, rotli, shaak. During festive days, additional and
more varieties of shaak, sweet dishes and Farsan is prepared.

35
Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

• There is a specific dietary rule followed in just this foursome combination.


For example, if kadhi is served, then a daal or vaal will also be included. The
sweet dish accompanying kadhi will likely be milk or yogurt-based, like
doodhpak or shrikhand. In such a meal raita would not be served. Festive
meals which serve daal will typically have a wheat-based sweet dish like
lapsi or ladu as the sweet accompaniment.

• Seasoning of food is thereby given great importance with mustard,


fenugreek, thyme and asafoetida used both for flavour and as digestive
aids.

• The Parsi and Bohri Muslim community has a distinctive cuisine style in
Gujrat with an identity of their own.

DESIGNING A GUJRATI MEAL:

Staples include homemade pickles, Khichdi (rice and lentil or rice and mung bean
daal), and chhaas (buttermilk). Main dishes are based on steamed vegetables and
daals that are added to a vaghaar, which is a mixture of spices sterilized in hot oil
that varies depending on the main ingredient. Salt, sugar, lemon, lime, and tomato
are used frequently to prevent dehydration in an area where temperatures reach
50C (120 deg F) under the shade. It is common to add a little sugar or jaggery to
some of the sabzi/shaak and daal. The sweet flavour of the dishes is believed to
neutralize the slightly salty taste of the water.

The traditional Gujarati thali mostly encompasses rotli, dal or kadhi, sabzi also
known as shaak and rice. People in Gujarat eat one or the other type of curry
along with rice and roti in almost every meal Gujarati dishes usually have a very
subtle taste that makes it truly distinct from other Indian cuisines. Lot of
emphasis is laid on maintaining hygiene while cooking. Most of the Gujarati
dishes are sweet, while others have a quite larger concentration of sugar as
compared to salt and spices. Sometimes, jaggery is used as an alternative to
sugar.

Gujarati menu:

A typical Gujarati menu is globally known as the “Gujarati thali”. It is a treat for
any food lover which is a very widely spread menu. But here is a typical menu very
commonly eaten at homes on daily basis:

• Bajri no rotlo

• Moongdalkhichdi

• Oondhiyu with sev

• Bharelibhindi

• Khaman

• Choonda
36
Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

• Kadhi

• Ghaari

EQUIPMENT REQUIREMENT IN GUJRATI CUISINE:

• One or two deep boiling vessels for boiling rice and other foods. Rice need
only be boiled in one utensil. The taste of the rice when you boil it next will
not be the same if one boil anything else in it, as oily residue from curries or
other foods will be left in the rice utensil. Having to remove oily residue is
not a problem, it is the taste that could change because of the residue that
is off greater concern.

• Boiling vessels are necessary for lentils and pulses.

• Different pans are required for frying. This is important because of the fact
that a lot of things need to be fried in Gujrati cuisine, the masalas and even
some of the lentils and vegetables too.

• Strainers, drainers and stirring spoons are also required. Strainer spoons
are handy, as they are porous, and help in separating solid portions of
gravies.

• In addition to the above, a tawa is very important for frying chapatti and roti
of different kinds.

PREPARATION METHODS FOR GUJRATI CUISINE

Cooking methods and methods of preparation in Gujrati cuisine are vital in order
to influence the end result of a Gujrati dish. Gujrati cooking does not utilize
meats. Chicken and fish too are hardly used. Gujrati cuisine is mostly a vegetarian
cuisine as a result. Nevertheless it is a delightful cuisine and is one in which you
get to cook several kinds of lentils, pulses and vegetables. Indeed, with these basic
food substances, Gujrati cuisine is said to be a healthy and simple one.

Based on this background, the following can be noticed regarding the preparation
methods:

• The processes such as marinating or seasoning meats are not required at


all.
• Pre - soaking of lentils, pulses and rice is common in order to soften the
grains.
• Grinding of spices is commonly carried out in Gujrati cuisine. Prepared
spices are normally not used, as these dishes seem to look and taste better
with ground spices. Oil is also not used much. Spice and oil are both kept at
a minimum in Gujrati cuisine. Therefore, it can be said that this cuisine is
healthy to follow.
• Boiling of lentils and vegetables are a very common feature.

37
Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

• Frying – both shallow and deep are also commonly practiced for different
items.
• The basic skill required is to use the correct amount of oil and spice that
Gujrati cuisine tastes best with.

DESCRIPTION OF SOME OF THE GUJRATI DISHES

Rice:

Khichdi: Also known as kitcheri, this dish is a precursor to kedgeree, a dish which
was popular among the British in India. Khichdis are made with various lentils
and this gives it the variety. It is usually eaten with curd, pickle and papads. The
Gujratikhichadi is prepared simply by mixing arhar or moong dal with rice.

Bohribiriyani: Bohris belong to the Bohri community of Gujrat. A delicately


flavoured rice preparation cooked on dum, along with meat, apricots, potatoes and
spices.

Breads:

• MethiThepla: Indian bread prepared from a dough made from whole wheat
flour, bajra, besan, methi, oil. It is rolled thin and then dry – baked.

• Bhakhri: A bread about 4 inch in diameter, made from a dough of coarse


atta, oil, salt – dry baked and smeared with ghee.

• Rotli: In Gujarat the chapati is called a 'rotli' and can be as thin as tissue
paper.

• Khakra:This crispy, crunchy flatbread is from Gujarat in western India.


Khakhra is a popular vegetarian roasted Gujarati Indian thin cracker bread
or snack item made from mat bean (moth bean or Turkish gram) and wheat
flour and oil.

• Dhebra:It is made with wheat flour, spinach, green chillies, a pint of


yoghurt, salt and sugar to taste. It is eaten with a specially prepared hot and
sweet mango pickle.

• PuranPoli (Also known as Vedmi): Whole wheat bread filled with sweet
moong dal filling usually made for special occasions.

Nasto and Farsan


Nasto and Farsan are fried items. These are distinctive and are not eaten together.

Nasto are items of many types that can be kept for long in air-tight tins and can be
easily transported. These are mainly made of besaneg. The fafda, sev and ganthia.
The chevda consists of beaten rice that has been fried to crispness and mixed with
salt, spices, groundnuts, almonds and raisins. A mix of all the above, and in fact
of anything crunchy.

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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

Farsan:is a collective term used for a type of snacks Gujarati cuisine, from the
Indian state of Gujarat.Some are fried items which are then dried and can be
stored, others fresh, fried or steamed.

39
Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

Farsan:

• Dhokla: Batter made form chana dal, besan, spices, fermented, steamed and
then tempered.it si served with a chutney (tamarind). There are several
types of Dhokla such as Khattadhokla, green peas dhokla, Cheese dhokla,
Toordaldhokla etc. (Khaman is a similar gram flour-based food that is
sometimes confused with dhokla. Whereas dhokla is made with rice and
chikpeas, khaman is made from chickpeas only. It is generally lighter in
color and softer than dhokla.)
• Khandvi : Small rolled crepes made with a cooked batter of besan, curd,
ginger, green chillies and then tempered, served with a chutney.
• Ragda: garnished fried potato patties

• Batatavada: It consists of a potato mash patty coated with chick pea flour,
then deep-fried and served hot with savory condiments called chutney. The
vada is a sphere, around two or three inches in diameter.

• Patra: Taro Leaves, coated with Gram Flour, rolled and steamed. Sometimes,
the steamed roll is sliced and stir-fried with Mustard Seeds and Grated
Coconut.

• Muthia: Steamed dumpling made of Gram Flour, Fenugreek, Salt, Turmeric,


and Cayenne Peppper. The steamed dumpling can also be stir fried with
Mustard Seed.

• Kachori: A deep fried dumpling made of flour and filled with a stuffing of
Yellow Moong Dal, Black Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, and Ginger.

• Samosa

• SevKhamani: Khaman topped with crispy, fried Gram Flour.

• Ganthiya

• Farsan Mixture

Miscelleaneous:

• Oondhiyu: A mixed vegetable casserole that is traditionally cooked upside


down underground in earthen pots fired from above. This dish is usually
made of the vegetables that are available on the South Gujarat coastline
during the winter season, including (amongst others) green beans, unripe
banana, muthia, and purple yam. These are cooked in a spicy curry that
sometimes includes coconut. SurtiOondhiyu is a variant that is served with
puri at weddings and banquets. Again it is a mixed vegetable preparation,
made with red lentils and seasoned with spices, grated coconut, and palm
sugar in a mild sauce. It is garnished with chopped peanuts and toasted
grated coconut, and served with rice.

• PatraniMachchi: Fish covered with a flavoured spiced coconut chutney,


wrapped in singed banana leaves and then steamed.
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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

• Salli Jardalumurgh: Chicken cooked in a spicy gravy aith apricot and


garnished with straw potatoes.

• Dhansak: A combination of dals, vegetables and meat pieces cooked in


spices and served with a brown rice – A Parsi community speciality.

• Batata – nu – saag:

• Kadhi: Gravy prepared with sour curd and besan, simmered and tempered.

Desserts:

• Mohan Thal: Prepared out of besan, ghee, milk and sugar.

• Laganu custard: A Parsi community wedding speciality. To prepare this the


milk is boiled along with sugar until it is reduced to half. Powdered nutmeg
is added for flavour and when the mixture is cool enough, eggs are beaten
into it along with dry fruits. This is then baked in amoderate oven, until the
top surface is golden brown and the custard is firm.

• Kharakhalwa: This is a famous dessert of the Bohri community in Gujrat.


This dessert is a halwa made from a paste of dates that are roasted in ghee
and cooked with milk and sugar. This is avery heavy dessert and is
consumed in small quantities.

• Shrikhand: It is a yoghurt based dessert in which hung yoghurt and


powdered sugar in taken in a deep bowl and then mixed thoroughly.
Cardamom powder and saffron is added to it for flavour. It is then strained
through muslin cloth and then stored in earthenware container which
further absorbs the moisture and converts it into a thick creamy texture. It
is normally served chilled with poori.

• Laapsi: A Gujrati dessert (broken wheat pudding) in which cracked wheat in


cooked in water, sweetened with sugar flavoured with cardamom. It is
garnished with shaves of almonds and pistachio.

• Dhoodpak: Thickened milk in which rice is cooked, sweetened with sugar,


flavoured with saffron and cardamom powder served with various nuts
(blanched almonds sliced, pistachio, Charolietc) and raisins.

• Shakkarpara: It is a crispy Indian sweet traditionally made during Holi. It is


a deep fat fried sweetened dough, normally cut into diamond shape.

• Halvasan: A dessert popular in the Khambhat region in which germinated


wheat in cooked in milk, flavoured with saffron, cardamom and nutmeg, and
then set on a ghee smeared plate from which it is served cut into various
shapes garnished with nuts.

• Basundi:Basundi is an Indian dessert mostly in Bihar, Maharashtra,


Gujarat and Karnataka. It is a sweetened dense milk made by boiling milk
on low heat until the milk is reduced by half.
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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

PUNJAB CUISINE

INTRODUCTION AND CULINARY HISTORY

Punjab, the land of the five rivers-Beas, Satluj, Chenab, Ravi and Jhelum, is also called
the land of milk and honey. Perhaps it would be appropriate to call it the land of plenty!!
Punjabi cooking and eating is just like the Punjabis themselves. It is simple and
forthright. Punjabis are a hardworking and fun loving community by nature with food and
merriment, very much a part of their lives.

Punjabi cuisine is never complicated. Bhunao is one of the main techniques of Punjabi
cuisine specially for non-vegetarian cooking. It brings to mind images of appetizing food.
Being an agricultural state the staple food of Punjab is wheat and to accompany hot rotis
and parathas are a variety of the most exotic vegetarian and non-vegetarian delights.

The earliest references to region’s food are found in the Vedas, which document the lives
of the Aryans in the Punjab. Amazingly the elements mentioned over 6,000 years ago are
still extant in this cuisine. This includes dairy-dughd (milk),ghrit (ghee) and dadhi
(curd),shak (leafy green vegetables) and a variety of grain. Even today, the staple in the
Punjab is grains and vegetables in their basic form.

Ayurvedic texts refer to Vatika-a dumpling of sundried, spice specked delicacy made with
lentil paste called vadi.The art of making vadi reached its acme in Amritsar with the
arrival of the merchants of Marwar, who were invited by Ram Das, the fourth Guru if the
Sikhs, to stream line the trade in the sacred city. There is also reference to vataka or
vadha made of soaked coarsely ground and fermented mash (husked urad) daal.

The unhusked mash is the mother of all lentils. Rajmah derives from the word raj mash or
the regal mash. Other pulses mentioned are chanak (channa dal) and alisandaga
(identified as kabuli or large channa)that is stated to have reached India with Alexander
the Great’s troops who came to India via Afghanistan.

Punjab-this side of the border or that-is situated at the crossroads of the Silk Route. This
allowed the Punjabis-Sikh, Hindu and Muslim-to imbibe diverse culinary influences. The
proximity with Persia, Afghanistan and Central Asia gave them a taste for fresh and dried
fruits and exotic nuts.

Punjabi cuisine has always been strongly influenced by Mughal invaders who brought
with them the tradition of the great Tandoor and now Punjabi tandoori cooking is
celebrated as one of the most popular cuisine throughout the world.

REGIONAL COOKERY IN PUNJAB

• Peshawar-The most North Western of districts in British India is a Pathan country


and the fare is akin to the food eaten in Afghanistan. The market in Peshawar
handled, besides large volumes of cambric, silks and indigo, spices that came from
Hyderabad(Deccan),saffron from Kashmir, sugar, salt, tea and asafetida from Delhi.
The exports were raisins and dry fruits.
• Rawalpindi-South of Hazara and east of Jhelum, separated from Kashmir with
Attock to its west, the district of Rawalpindi is covered with groves of oak, olive and
chestnut. The flora and fauna is the same as in the other parts of the lower
Himalayas. This area has imbibed culinary influences from Kashmir, North West
frontier and the plains and the plains irrigated by the Indus.

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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

• Baluchistan- Bounded on South by Arabian sea and extending in the North to


Afghanistan and NWFP, Baluchistan touches Persia in the west, and Sindh and
Punjab in the East.Food in the region has been basic and robust. Breads are made
with wheat and jowar (barley). Cheese of different kinds are an integral part of the
diet, and, among the vegetables onion, garlic and fresh asafoetida stalks are used.
Rice and fish are the staple diet along the coast. Among the birds chakor and
grouse relished.
• Amritsar- Shaped like an oblong between the Ravi and Beas rivers, the districts
northeast of Gurdaspur and south-west of Lahore. The forests of dhaak, mango
and jamun abounded in the district until recent times urbanization decimated
most of them. The chief crops are wheat, gram, barley, maize, rice, cotton, pulses
and sugarcane. The region is famous for its buffaloes and its milk product. Fish is
also used very commonly here.

EQUIPMENTS USED IN PUNJAB CUISINE

• Madhani: It is a wooden churner fixed to a brass pot. It is used for churning


out butter fron cream.
• Chaklabelan:Chakla is a small marble or wooden platform and belan is the
rolling pin. These are usually made up of wood. They are used for rolling the
dough to make various Indian breads such as chapattis and puris.
• Kadhai: it is a deep, concave utensil made up of brass, iron or aluminium and
is used for deep fat frying and also general cooking.
• Kadookas (grater): This equipment has sharp grooves of different sizes meant
for grating.
• Channani (sieve): It is used to sieve or sift flour and commodities of similar
nature. The channani can have removable inserts that have varied sizes of holes
for coarse or fine sieving.
• Masala dani: It literally translates to ‘spice box’. It contains the commonly
used dry spices, both whole and powdered.
• Pauni: A perforated spoon used for frying food commodities.
• Karchi (ladle): It is actually a big round spoon for stirring dal or mixing food or
even serving it.
• Tawa: This flat base equipment is usually made of cast iron is used for making
Indian breads such as roti and parathas. They are available in various sizes,
depending upon the uses.
• Patiala: It is generally made up of brass and comes with a lid. It is used when
something has to be sauted, boiled or simmered. It is also used for making
gravies and cooking in bulk. These are also available in various sizes.
• Tandoor: It is a clay oven chamber, which is lit with live charcoal. It is used for
baking various Indian breads, kebabs (boti, white meat, fish, prawn etc)and
other items.
• Bhatti: It is used for grilling kebabs. It is an open fire grill, where coal is the
only medium of fire.
• Khoncha: It is a flat metal spoon used for stir frying or sautéing the
ingredients.
• Chimta: These are meant for holding the hot objects e.g. the roti on the open
fire or the griddle, turning items in hot oil while deep fat frying.
• Hamamdista (mortar and pestle): It is a pair of tools used to crush, grind,
and mix solid substances or masalas. It is usually made of iron but can also be
made of marble stone, wood, bamboo, iron, steel, brass and basalt.

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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

• Doridanda: It is a stoneware pot with a log of wood, used for pounding


chutneys aor dry spices. The pestle could be either of wood or stone.

Miscellaneous equipments include:Chajj is a kind of winnowing instrument. Ukhli is a


mortar used. Charkha is a spinning wheel. Dauri and kundi are kinds of stone mortars.
Gothna and danda are wooden pestles. Chaati is a large earthern vessel. Takri is a
scale.Loh is a large pan used for cooking breads.

CUISINE CHARACTERISTICS

• Most Punjabi menus are made according to the season. The universal favourite is
chole-bathure which is a round-the-year item and is available at every wayside
dhaba anywhere in Northern India.
• Wholewheat in different forms is the staple of this area.Rice is rarely cooked plain
or steamed and is always made with a flavoring of cumin or fried onions, which is
the served with rajma (kidney beans) or kadhi (curd curry). In winter, rice is cooked
with jaggery - gurwalachawal or with green peas – matarwalechawalor as a
delicacy called Raokikheer, which is rice cooked on a slow fire for hours together
with sugar cane juice. Even bajra is predominantly used in some parts of the state.
• Use of dollops of ghee and/or refined oil is commonly used as a cooking media.
• The pride of the Punjabi winter cuisine is sarson-ka-saag (mustard leaves) served
with blobs of white butter accompanied by makke-di-roti and lassi (churned yogurt).
• All lentils, especially black gram and yellow gram, are a part of Punjabi
cuisine.Rajma or Chana are alo very popularly used.
• The main masala in a Punjabi dish consists of onion, garlic, ginger and a lot of
tomatoes fried in pure ghee.
• Some typical ingredients used in the cuisine includes black carrot (kanji), mango
powder (Aamchoor powder), dreid fenugreek leaves (Kasoorimethi) and Pomegranate
seeds (Anardana)
• Punjabi cuisine is characterized by a profusion of dairy products in the form
ofmalai (cream), paneer (cottage cheese),curd, buttermilk and butter.
• Though chicken is a favorite with non-vegetarians, fish is also considered a
delicacy, especially in the Amritsar region.
• One thing that makes Punjabi cuisine so special is the tandoor. In rural Punjab,
the community tandoor, dug in the ground, is a meeting place, just like the village
well, for the women folk, who bring the kneaded atta (dough) and sometimes
marinated meats to have them cooked.
• Tall glasses of lassi, made of yogurt, tempered with either salt or sugar, are a
popular cooling drink of Punjabi origin but it is quite popular all over the country.
• Then there is also paneer-a must in the vegetarian Punjabi menu. Several
delectable items are made out of this rather bland derivative of milk. Creations like
the Kadai Paneer and Makhani Paneer are basically Punjabi but are well loved all
over the country.
• Phirni, a sweet dish made of milk, rice flour and sugar and chilled in earthenware
bowls is a typical Punjabi dessert. Punjabi sweet dishes like gulabjamuns and burfi
have a strong percentage of khoya again made from milk.
• Punjab's other grand contribution is the dhaba - the roadside eatery that has
become a prominent feature on the national and state highways. Earlier frequented
only by truck drivers, today it is in vogue to eat at a dhaba-urban or roadside.
• One of the salient features Punjabi food is the diverse range of dishes that can suit
any palate. The food could range from spicy to sour, and sweet to tangy.

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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

FESTIVAL FOODS OF PUNJAB

LOHRI

In Punjab, wheat is the main winter crop, which is sown in October and harvested in
March or April. In January, the fields come up with the promise of a golden harvest, and
farmers celebrate Lohri during this rest period before the cutting and gathering of crops.
For Punjabis, this is more than just a festival, it is also an example of a way of life.
Lohri is a festival of zeal and verve and marks the culmination of the chilly winter. In true
spirit of the Punjabi culture, men and women perform Bhangra and Giddha, popular
Punjabi folk dances, around a bonfire. Enthusiastic children go from house to house
singing songs and people oblige them generously by giving them money and eatables as
offering for the festival.

Logs of wood are piled together for a bonfire, and friends and relatives gather around it.
They go around the fire three times, giving offerings of popcorns, peanuts, rayveri and
sweets. Then, to the beat of the dhol (traditional Indian drum), people dance around the
fire. Prasad of til, peanuts, rayveri, puffed rice, popcorn, gajak and sweets are distributed.
This symbolizes a prayer to Agni for abundant crops and prosperity.

Lohri is also an auspicious occasion to celebrate a newly born baby’s or a new bride’s
arrival in the family. The day ends with a traditional feast of sarson da saag and makki di
roti and a dessert of rau di kheer (a dessert made of sugarcane juice and rice). The
purpose of the Lohri harvest ceremony is to thank the God for his care and protection.
During this festival the people prepare large quantities of food and drink, and make merry
throughout the day and night. Therefore everyone looked forward to this day.

BAISAKHI

Baisakhi, celebrated with joyous music and dancing, is New Year's Day in Punjab. It falls
on April 13, though once in 36 years it occurs on 14th April. It was on this day that the
tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, founded the Khalsa (the Sikh brotherhood) in
1699. The Sikhs, therefore, celebrate this festival as a collective birthday. A sweet dish
called Anaarse is prepared made using fermented batter(rice or wheat) and shaped into a
cup-shape.

BASANT PANCHAMI

It is a festival that marks the onset of spring. It is a brightly colored festival, with yellow as
a symbolic color of harvest. This festival has a range of Punjabi foods like the main course
ones such as biryani, but the lighter and excitable ones like jalaibees and pakoras are
also common. A number of sweet drinks are quite common as well at this time of the year.
These are refreshing and symbolize the joy during the season.

Aside from the festivals like bassant, Punjabi food traditions include the all-important
heavy main courses at weddings. These might include heavy rice dishes and curries as
well. These are accompanied with salads and other side dishes as well.

GURU PURAB

The Sikh festivals are celebrated as Guru purabs. They either mark the birth anniversary
or the martyrdom of any Sikh guru. The devotees attend langar or the common meals
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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

where everyone eats the same food irrespective of caste, class, or creed. Devotees offer
their services for cooking food, cleaning the Gurdwara or carrying out other chores. This
is called the KarSeva. The food is served with the spirit of seva (service) and bhakti
(devotion). On Guru ArjanDev's martyrdom day, sweetened milk is offered to passers-by.

PUNJABI EATING STYLE:

Winter, in Punjab, brings in the season of the famous makkikiroti(maize flour bread) and
sarsonkasaag(mustard leaf gravy). No meal is complete without a serving of lassi (sweet or
salted drink made with curd) or fresh curd and white butter which is consumed in large
quantities.

Connoisseurs of the cuisine say that the gravy component of Punjabi cuisine came from
the Mughals. The most popular example is the murgmakhani. It served the state well to
combine this influence in its cooking since it had a lot of pure ghee and butter. Murg
makhani also provided a balance to tandoori chicken, which was dry because it was
charcoal cooked. Nans and parathas, rotis made of maize flour are typical Punjabi breads.
Of course, over the years the roti has been modified to add more variety, so there is the
rumali roti, the naan and the lacchaparathas, all cooked in the tandoor.

LANGAR – A SPECIAL NOTE

History

The institution of the Sikh Langar or free kitchen was started by the first Sikh Guru,
Guru Nanak. It was designed to uphold the principle of equality between all people
regardless of religion, caste, colour, creed, age, gender or social status, a revolutionary
concept in the caste-ordered society of 16th century India where Sikhism began. In
addition to the ideals of equality, the tradition of Langar expresses the ethics of sharing,
community, inclusiveness and oneness of all humankind.

Origin Of Word 'Langar'

Guru kaLangar (lit. 'Gurus' communal dining-hall) is a community kitchen run in the
name of the Guru. Often referred to as the Guru's Kitchen, it is usually a small room
attached to a gurdwara, but at larger gurdwaras, such as the Harmandir Sahib, it takes
on the look of a military kitchen with tasks arranged so that teams of sewadars prepare
tons of food (all meals are vegetarian) for thousands of the Gurus' guests daily. Langar, is
said to be a Persian word that translates as 'an almshouse', 'an asylum for the poor and
the destitute', 'a public kitchen once kept by a great man for his followers and
dependants, holy persons and the needy.' Some scholars trace the word langar to Sanskrit
analgarh (cooking room). In Persian, the specific term langar has been in use in an
identical sense. In addition to the word itself, the institution of langar is also traceable in
the Persian tradition. Langars were a common feature of the Sufi centres in the twelfth
and thirteenth centuries. Even today some dargahs, or shrines commemorating Sufi
saints, run langars, like KhwajaMu’inud-Din Chishti’s at Ajmer.

Rules concerning the tradition of Langar

1. Simple vegetarian meals


2. It is prepared by devotees who recite Gurbani while preparing the langar
3. It is served after performing Ardas
4. The food distributed in Pangat without any prejudice or discrimination
5. All food must be fresh, clean and hygienically prepared
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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

Amar Das the third guru formalized the institution of langar, the guru’s free kitchen,
uniting the Sikhs by establishing two key concepts:

• Pangat – One family compiled of all of humanity, regardless of caste, color, or


creed, sitting together cross legged in lines, forming rows without discrimination or
consideration of rank or position.
• Sangat – The ennobling influence of people, who aspire to truthful living, and
congregate with like-minded company for the purpose of uttering the name of one
God in the presence of the Guru Granth.

When preparing food for the Langar, the mouth and nose will be covered by a piece of
cloth known as a "parna". Also during the preparation due regard is made to purity,
hygiene and cleaniness, the sevadars (selfless workers) will normally utter Gurbani and
refrain from speaking if possible.

When the Langar is ready, a small portion of each of the dishes is placed in a plate or
bowls and placed in front of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib and a prayer called the Ardas is
performed. The Ardas is a petition to God; a prayer to thank the Creators for all His gifts
and blessings. A steel kirpan is passed through each item of food, after the "Guru-
prashad" has been blessed.When serving the Langar, the servers must observe strict rules
of cleanliness and hygiene. Servers should not touch the serving utensils to the plates of
those they serve. When serving foods by hand, such as chapatis or fruit, the servers’
hands should not touch the hand or plate of those they are serving. Those serving should
wait until all others have been completely served before they sit down to eat themselves. It
is advisable not to leave any leftovers.

POPULAR ITEMS IN PUNJAB

• RAJMA:These are red kidney beans cooked with ginger, garlic, and tomatoes and
flavoured with turmeric powder and red chilli powder. They are normally paired
with the jeerapulow and commonly eaten with desi ghee poured on top.
• SARSON KI DAAG: Fresh mustard leaves are combined with amaranth leaves and
braised along with ginger, garlic, onions and tomatoes until they become creamy.
This dish is garnished with white butter and eaten with makkiki roti.
• PUNJ RATANI DAL: It is prepared by cooking five dals with onion and tomatoes,
symbolic to the five rivers of Punjab. The most commonly used lentils are chana,
split urad, green moong, kidney beans and masoor dal.
• MAA KI DAL: Broken black lentils are combined with Bengal gram and simmered
with onions and tomatoes on a low flame, until it is creamy. It is relished with the
wholewheat chapattis.
• DAL MAKHANI: Black lentils are simmered overnight with tomatoes (finely chopped
or puree) and butter on slow simmering charcoals. It is finished with cream and
kasoorimethi and served with a dollop of butter.
• AMRITSARI KULCHA: Wholewheatdoughis stuffed with fillings ranging from
paneer to cauliflower, potatoes, or a mixture of all of the above. It is cooked in the
tandoor and served with dollops of butter.
• PINDI CHOLEY: This dish comes from Rawalpindi, where the chickpeas are boiled
with black tea to give it its traditional black colour. These cooked chick peas are
then cooked with onions, tomatoes and spices. These are commonly served with
bhatura for breakfast or even as snacks.
• BAIGAN DA BHARTA: Large egg plants are char grilled in tandoor until soft and
are then peeled. This soft flesh is mixed with little tomato and onion gravy
flavoured with spices and chopped coriander leaves.
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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

• TANDOORI CHICKEN: Whole chicken is de – skinned and marinated overnight with


curd, red chilli powder and spices. Normally the bird weighs around 800gm to
900gm after dressing. It is then skewered and cooked in the tandoor. Its reddish
colour with typical flavour of the charcoal roast makes it a gourmet’s delight.
• MURGH BUTTER MASALA: Tandoor cooked chicken is cooked in creamy tomato
gravy (in base of butter)along with ginger garlic paste, red chilli powder and
flavoured with kasoorimethi. The gravy of tomatoes is also known as makhni gravy.
This gravy add moisture to the tandoori chicken which is otherwise eaten dry.
• FISH AMRITSARI: The cubes of fish are first marinated in salt, red chilli powdet
and lemon juice. A thick batter is prepared with besan, ajwain, red chilli powder
and salt. The fish is coated in this batter and the deep fat fried. It is served with
aamchoor powder sprinkled on top and with lemon wedges.
• PHIRNEE: It is a traditional dessert served normally during the summer months.
Soaked rice is ground into a paste and then added to boiling sweet milk. This is
cooked until thickened and poured into terracotta pots. The extra moisture from
the pudding is soaked by the earthenware pot and thus the pudding sets soft yet
firm. It is then garnished with slivers of pistachio and strands of saffron.

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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

HYDERABAD CUISINE

INTRODUCTION

Hyderabadi cuisine is a very sumptuous part of the Andhra Pradesh food. Hyderabadi
cuisine is a princely legacy of the Nizams of Hyderabad, India. The city was founded by
the Sultans of Golconda, who has developed its own cuisine over the centuries. It is
heavily influenced by Turkish (Biryani), Arabic (Haleem), Mughlai and Tandoori, with
considerable influence of the spices and herbs of the native Telugu and Marathwada
cuisine.

Hyderabadi Cuisine could be found in the kitchens of the former Hyderabad State that
includes Telangana region, Marathwada region and Hyderabad Karanataka region. The
Cuisine also contains city specific specialities like Aurangabad (Naan Qalia), Gulbarga
(Tahari), Bidar (Kalyani Biryani) etc.

The Cuisine of Hyderabad has been influenced by various regional and religious cuisines,
both Indian and Foreign, despite which it has been able to create an identity of its own. It
has also been able to contribute towards making Indian cuisine popular worldwide.

The Masalas or the rich blend of herbs, spices and condiments give the dishes a base, or
what is popularly known as "Gravy". Some of these blends are a well-kept secret that pass
only down the family line or from the Ustad (Teacher) to his Shagird (Pupil). The head
cooks or the "Khansas" were an asset to the house hold, and were treated with due
respect. The word "Nawabi" is as synonymous with the Hyderabadi cuisine as "Shahi" is
with Luknowi. These terms conjure delicacies that are rich in taste and texture with
mouth-watering aromas.

What makes the Hyderabadi Cuisine special is the use of special ingredients, carefully
chosen and cooked to the right degree. The addition of a certain Herb, Spice, Condiment,
or an amalgamation of these adds a unique taste and texture to the dish. The herbs and
spices used and the method of preparation gives the dish its name.

HISTORY

The cuisine is a descendant of the Nizams. A 400-year history is behind the culinary
delights of Hyderabadi food. It evolved in the kitchens of the Nizams, who elevated food to
a sublime art form. Hyderabad cuisine is highly influenced by Mughals and partially by
Arabic, Turkish and Irani food where rice, wheat and spices are widely used to great
effect. It is also influenced by the native Telugu and Marathwada food, bringing in a
unique taste to the dishes.

In the past, the food was called Ghizaayat. The cuisine is linked to the nobles, who
religiously maintain the authenticity of the past, and the recipes are a closely guarded
secret. The royal cooks are known as Khansamas, highly regarded by the nobles.

FEATURES OF THE CUISINE

• It is a blend of Mughlai and North Indian cuisine, with an influence of the spices
and herbs of the native Telugu food.
• Traditional utensils made of copper, brass, earthen pots are used for cooking. Food
is even cooked on heated stone slab.
• All types of cooking involve the direct use of fire. There is a saying in Hyderabad,
cooking patiently or ithmenaan se is the key; slow-cooking is the hallmark of

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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

Hyderabadi cuisine. The Slow-cooking method has its influence from the Dum
Pukht method used in Awadhi cuisine.
• The cooking medium used is ghee.
• The cuisine emphasises the use of ingredients that are carefully chosen and cooked
to the right degree and time. Utmost attention is given to picking the right kind of
spices, meat, rice, etc. Therefore, an addition of a certain herb, spice, condiment, or
combination of all these add a distinct taste and aroma.
• The key flavours are of coconut, tamarind, peanuts and sesame seeds which are
extensively used in many dishes. The key difference from the North Indian cuisine
is the presence of dry coconut and tamarind in its cuisine. Some typical ingredients
include Betel roots (Pan ki jad) and Stone flower (patthar ke phool).
• Of all the Muslim cuisine, Hyderabadi is the only cuisine the sub-continent that
can boast of a major vegetarian element. This has much to do with the local
influences.
• The Hyderabadi meal is never complete without the bread from the kilns of the
local bakers. The breads from this cuisine are equally popular, be it rich
"Sheermal" or "lukmi" (bread stuffed with savoury mince meat). Bread is not only
an accompaniment to the meal but also forms a base for a popular sweet dish
"Double Ka Meetha".
• In Hyderabad, presentation of food is also important which reflect richness of food
and culture. Royal dining Hall was called Shahi Dastarkhana where royal families
used to relax and party on the delicious Hyderabadi cuisine.

EQUIPMENTS USED IN THE CUISINE

• Heated stone slab (Pathaar): This was used in the making of kebabs. The stone was
heated using live coals
• Taatee (sigri): It consists of a metal framework that is heated by coal. The meat
pieces are grilled on the framework.
• Tandoor: A tandoor is a cylindrical clay oven used in cooking and baking. The heat
for a tandoor was traditionally generated by a charcoal fire or wood fire, burning
within the tandoor itself, thus exposing the food to both live-fire, radiant heat
cooking, and hot-air, convection cooking
• Skewers (saliyans): The meat was cooked over the flame by either coating the
skewers with the meat or by piercing the meat with the skewer.

HYDERABADI MEAL

Shahi Dastarkhan is the dining place, where food is served and eaten. A chowki is a low
table, instead of a dining table and cotton mattresses for squatting and bolsters for the
back rest. The Dastarkhan is revered in the noble household.

HYDERABADI FOOD

BIRYANI:

Hyderabadi Biryani is Hyderabad's most famous meat-and-rice dish; the Nizams served
some 26 varieties of biryanis for their guests. An authentic Hyderabad meal invariably
includes a mutton biryani. Hyderabadi Biryanis incorporating chicken, lamb or vegetables
instead of mutton are also popular. Some are delicate in taste, some intoxicatingly
aromatic, some flavoured with saffron, some flavoured with cream and others with rose

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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

water or screwpine flower water. ‘Dum’ style of cooking is followed to cook Biryanis. The
types are as follows:

• Hyderabadi Biryani - a traditional celebration meal of lamb and rice.


• Kachche- gosht ki biriyani - raw meat is stir fried with spices(masalas) for couple of
minutes and then covered with rice and put in the Dum Pukht (slow oven).
• Hyderabad Zafrani Biryani - Saffron is soaked and mixed with the rice at the time it
is put in the Dum Pukht.

HYDERABADI HALEEM:

Haleem is a seasonal delicacy of wheat, meat and cooked for hours to a porridge-like
paste. This traditional wheat porridge has its roots in Arabia, known as harees. Haleem is
a seasonal dish which is made during Ramzan (Ramadan). The high calorie haleem is an
ideal way to break the ramzan fast. Haleem means patience, because it takes long hours
to prepare (often a whole day) and served in the evenings. It is a popular starter at
Hyderabadi Muslims weddings.

KHORMA, SHORBA and KHALIA:


These are the non-vegetarian curries made of meat. These are the pride of Hyderabadi
cusine apart from Biryanis. The curries are distinguished based on colour, flavor and
consistencies. Khormas have a light shade of red. Shorbas had a soup like consistency
and are bright red in colour. Khalia ranges from dry to thick gravy-like and ranges from
dark brown to dark green in colour.

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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

PATHAR-KA-GOSHT:

Mutton/lamb seared on a stone slab found in Hyderabad.

BAGHARA BAINGAN :

Stuffed Eggplants, a delicacy where tender and fresh brinjals are stuffed with grounded
peanut-coconut mixture and cooked in a rich and creamy paste.

MIRCHI KA SAALAN:

A dish that is made of any type of Mirchi (green chilli or Jalapenos) or banana peppers etc
which is not too spicy or fiery. This is a traditional Hyderabad salan (gravy) made in a
shallow wide flat bottomed handi. The salan is sealed in this handi and kept on low fire to
cook with all the flavors trapped inside to give that authentic rich taste. The mirchi ka
salan recipe stands out from the bunch of Chilli recipes from Hyderabad (capital city of
Andhra). Whole green chillies (along with stems) are simmered in sesame-peanut and
coconut spicy sauce. The dish is easy to prepare and has a refreshingly pleasing taste.

PAAYA NAHARI:

This is a typical item of Hyderabadi cuisine. It is a dish made from trotters. A rather
unusual and typical hyderabadi recipe. The paaya (trotters) are boiled for a long time
(normally overnight) with spices and then strained. It is normally served for breakfast
along with breads.

MURGH NIZAMI:

A semi – dry chicken ‘masala’ cooked with yoghurt, nuts (cashewnut and peanut) and
coconut and sunflower and seesame seeds. The gravy is yellow coloured.

MURGH BADAMI:

Murgh Badami is chicken made from cream and almonds and garnished with chopped
almonds.

DALCHA GOSHT:

This is basically a sourish lamb stew, simmered in a lentil puree. It is a common practice
to combine meat and lentils to make it a complete nutritive dish. Meat is cooked along
with chana dal and whole spices, and braised along with yoghurt until the meat is soft.
The dish is then tempered wth ghee, garlic, and whole red chillies.

CHAPA PULUSU:

This is one of the most famous dishes in Hyderabadi cuisine. It is afish preparation made
by marinating the fish in turmeric, salt and garlic. The gravy is made by cooking coconut
milk, tempered with curry powder and whole red chillies, and flavoured with turmeric and
tomatoes.

KHUBANI KA MEETHA:

Apricot Pudding, in which dry apricots are stewed in honey and topped with almond and
cream. The original recipe is a translucent liquid.

DOUBLE KA MEETHA:
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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

Bread Pudding topped with dry fruits, a derivative of mughlai dessert Shahi tukre. Here
the bread is fried and soaked in sugar syrup before further processing

GIL – E - FIRDAUS:

This is a type of dessert made by cooking grated white marrow with milk and sugar, and
thickened with sago seeds and khoya. This commonly flavoured with cardamom powder
and rose essence, and garnished with slivered almonds and pistachio.

SHIKAMPURI KEBAB:

Shikampur Kebab (mutton mince cooked with cumin,cloves and cinnamon and bengal
gram lentil until a proper binding is formed and stuffed with cottage cheese/ egg slice,
mint, onions and green chillies) and gently grilled on a griddle or tawa with pure ghee till
pink. Shikampur means ‘belly-full’ referring to the stuffing in the centre of the kebab.

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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

KASHMIR
INTRODUCTION

The history of modern Kashmiri cuisine can be traced back to the fifteenth century
invasion of India by Timur, and the migration of 1700 skilled woodcarvers, weavers,
architects, calligraphers and cooks from Samarkand to the valley of Kashmir. The
descendants of these cooks, the Wazas, are the master chefs of Kashmir.The ancient epic
of Kashmir, namely the Nilmatapurana informs us that Kashmiris were heavy meat
eaters. This habit persists intoday's Kashmir.

Kashmiri cuisine has evolved over hundreds of years. The first major influence was the
food of the Kashmiri Buddhists and Pandits, the Hindus of the valley. The cuisine was
then influenced by the cultures which arrived with the invasion of Kashmir by Timur
from the region of modern Uzbekistan. Subsequently, it has been strongly influenced by
the cuisines of Central Asian, Persia, and the North Indian plains.

Kashmiris are hospitable by nature. They enjoy social life and mutual entertainment. This
has been one main cause of the development of their culinary art. Different types of
menus were also inspired by the cuisines of different rulers and visitors, who came in the
past from Persia, Afghanistan and other places. Mughals especially had a great influence
on the cooking of Meat Dishes and different Puloas. Emperors Jahangir and Shahjahan,
with their lovely queens, their courtiers and kith and kin, made Kashmir their health resort
and a place of sport, enjoyment, eating and drinking.Shahjahan used to visit Kashmir
every summer and called it a Paradise on Earth. Jahangir's last wish, at his death, was
'Kashmir and Nothing else'.

Its salubrious climate, unrivalled and picturesque natural scenery, its invigorating,
digestive, sweet and crystal-clear waters of springs and abounding streams, its beautiful
lakes, majestic Pine and Deodar forests, and snow capped mountains, its breezy
summers, flaming and blazing colourful and breathtaking autumns, the cool and calm
grandeur of its winter snows, followed by charming flower-laden fragrant springs, all have
made Kashmir a gourmet's heaven. Here amongst these blessing of Mother Nature,
enjoying good and delicious spicy food, is a delighting desire of men, women and children
alike.

CULINARY VARIATION IN KASHMIR:

The food of Jammu and Kashmir differs from region to region with the Hindus Dogras of
Jammu being predominantly vegetarian; eat a staple diet of rice, wheat and beans. The
Ladakhis eat rice, wheat, millet, locally produced vegetables and fruits, goat meat
and dairy products made from yak milk. Kashmiri food is characterised by its vast
array of dishes cooked over a long period of time in exotic spices. The seasons and
availability of fresh produce dictates the ingredients, some of which are dried and used in
the winter months. The Kashmiri cuisine is essentially meat-based while the eating
habits of the Hindu and Muslim Kashmiris differ in its use of certain spices and
the prohibition of beef for the Hindus.

There is another aspect to the food habits of the Kashmiri Hindus referred to as pandits.
The kashmiri pundits though Brahmans have been meat eaters since the Vedic times,
more so because the snowbound areas of the valley make it very difficult to cultivate the
food. Pandits eat only lamb meat ,ususlly cut into large pieces or chunks. Beef,

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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

pork, chicken are prohibited for them.The two most important saints of Kashmir,
Lalleshwari and Sheikh Noor-ud-din Wali were vegetarians for spiritual reasons.
Nevertheless, meat is often cooked in many Kashmiri Pandit festivals.

Some sample Kashmiri Pandit dishes include:

• Rogan Josh (lamb cooked in red sauce)


• Yakhni (lamb cooked in curd based sauce)
• Matschgand (minced lamb)
• Goshtaba (extra-minced meat balls cooked in creamy sauce)
• Qabargaah (Kashmiri Muslims refer to this as Tabakhmaaz; It is similar to Roasted
Lamb)
• SyoonPulaav (Meat Pulao)
• ModurPulaav (Sweet Pulao, usually as a dessert)
• LyodoorTschaman (Cottage Cheese cooked in turmeric based sauce)
• Dum Oluv (Whole Potatoes cooked in Red Sauce)
• MujGaad (Fish with Radish)
• Nadir-Waangan (lotus stems with Brinjal)
• Nadir-Haaq/Gogji/Monji (lotus stems cooked with Spinach or Radish)
• Raazma-Gogji (Kidney Beans with Radish)

The highlight of Kashmiri cuisine is the formal banquet called "wazawan" that includes a
spread of over 36 courses cooked all night long by a team of chefs called ‘wazas’ under the
supervision of a ‘Vastawaza’ or master chef, descendants of the cooks from
Samarkand. The food is characterised by thick gravies using liberal quantities of
yoghurt, spices and dried fruits, and is usually cooked in ghee (clarified butter) or
mustard oil. Saffron, the most expensive spice in the world, is grown locally. It is used
extensively to flavour the pulaos (rice dish) and sweets. The popular dishes include the
starter yakni, tabaqnaat made of fried ribs, dumaloo (steam cooked potato curry), rogan
josh made with mutton, gushtaba, a meatball curry and haleem made from meat and
pounded wheat.

The essential Wazwan dishes include:

• Safedkokur or zafraankokur
• Meth maaze
• Ristae
• Rogan josh
• Dhaniphul
• Aloobukhaar: chutney made with fresh plums, onions, sugar, lime juice and spices
• Gaadekufta
• Tabakmaaz: Fried lamb ribs
• Daniwal korma: lamb in a yogurt-based gravy
• Aabgosht: Lamb curry cooked in milk
• Marcha-wangan korma
• Sheekhkabab: spicy ground lamb on skewers
• Gushtaab: Chopped lamb with spices cooked in oil, milk and curds
• Kebabs

A KASHMIRI KITCHEN

On normal days, the cooking, in both Hindu and Muslim homes, is mostly done on a Dan.
A big dinner, called a Sal, or a Wazawan, is still cooked in a Vurabal which is an open-
air kitchen. The fire-place, for this sort of cooking, is called a Vura. It is about 10' to 15 '
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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

in length. In the shape of an above-ground drain, with air holes on both sides, it is built
with bricks or stones. Fire-wood is used as fuel. Heat of such fires is very easily regulated
for mass cooking. It is very convenient for deep and slow frying in big iron Cauldrons
called 'Kadhais', as well as, for slow cooking and simmering, in earthenware pots
especially. Here also the contents in cooking vessels, are conveniently watched and stirred
with different types of wooden or metallic ladles. Such low-level Vura also facilitates the
time to time addition of ingredients. Generally, an hour or so before serving most of the
Dishes, the cooking vessels are removed from the Vura and are kept on charcoal or dry
cowdung slow fires, for maturing of flavours and arriving at the right consistency of gravy,
and also the desired 'texture'.

Among Kashmiri Pandits cooking of most Vegetarian and Non-vegetarian Dishes, is done
mostly in pots made of baked clay. The pot is called a Deg, a Degul or a Leij according to
its shape and size. Muslims cook generally in tinned copper pots.

A brief on the Kashmiri cooking utensils:

• Dan: On normal days the cooking in both Hindu and Muslim homes is mostly done
on a dan, which is an oblong clay oven about 3ft by2ft in length and a foot and a
half in height. It has a floor level hole, through which firewood is fed, and has
usually three holes on the top on which food in different pots is heated or cooked.
Nowadays, due to scarcity of wood fuel, LPG and kerosene stoves are commonly
used.
• Trami: These are large brass plates used for serving food. A trami could be shared
between four people in the event of feasts.
• Leij / Degul / Digcha: Among the Kashmiri pundits, most vegetarian and non –
vegetariandishes are cooked in pots made up of baked clay. The pot is called a Deg,
a Degul or a Leij according to its shape and size. Cooking in these pots gives the
Meat, Cheese, Vegetable and other Dishes a special aroma. Caking at the bottom of
pots, and acidic and alkaline reactions with metals, are also thus eliminated. Pots
used in Kashmir are generally round bottomed, to make stirring and turning of the
contents easy, while cooking, and also while mixing Spices and Condiments, which
are called Masala.
• Goshpar and kaen: These are a flat course stone and a wooden mallet made out
of walnut wood which are used for pounding meat to affine texture, generally used
for making Goshtabas and Rishtas. The wooden mallet is made up of walnut wood
so that it does not splinter when it hits the stone.
• Krech: These are different kinds of wooden spoons and ladles used for turning the
food in clay pots so that the base of the pots does not get scrapped.
• Khalur and dula: This is a stone mortar and a wooden pestle used for grinding
chutneys and pastes.
• Samovar: This is a jug – shaped metallic pitcher used for brewing tea such as
‘kahwah’ and sheer chai. It has a long tube inside that is filled with charcoal, which
keeps the tea in the pot brewing.

Kashmiri names of other Kitchen Implements

1. 'Athataech' - Cloth for wiying hands etc.


2. 'Bothlai' and 'Chhegla'- Pots for cooking rice etc.
3. 'Chalan' and 'Raemb' - Broad spatulas.
4. 'Chhan' - Colander or strainer.
5. 'Chhonp' - Churning stick.

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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

6. 'Chonchi' and 'Krechh'- Ladles.


7. 'Chumta' and 'Sanaes'- Tongs for holding hot things and lifting hot pots.
8. 'Dakna'- Lids.
9. 'Damchula' - Iron charcoal stove.
10.'Dul' and 'Kond' - Metallic and deep wash basins.
11.'Hahkol' - Clay charcoal stove.
12.'Kafgir' - Perforated ladle.
13 'Kray' - Cauldron.
14.'Krochh' - Fire spoon.
15.'Taev' - Iron griddle.
16.'Masala' Vatur' - Box for keeping spices.
17.'Mujikond'- Grater.
18.'Sikh' - Skewer.
19.'Tilavar' and 'Krond' - Edible oil pot and its ladle.
20.'Voakhul' and 'Kajivadh' - Stone mortar and pestle.
CUISINE CHARACTERISTICS OF KASHMIR

Throughout the history like its culture, Kashmir cuisine has stood high and unrivalled by
any other state in India.

• Kashmiri rice forms an important part of the traditional food of Kashmir, striking a
balance with the spicy Kashmiri dishes. Rice is in fact the main staple. It is
consumed in many forms such as zardapulao as dessert to barian for breakfast.
• Non-veg, consisting of mutton, chicken, fish, etc forms an important part of
Kashmiri cuisine. The routine cooking in Kashmir is a combination of non-veg and
vegetables in the same dish.
• A gourmet's delight, Wazwan is the ultimate name in Kashmir banquet. This royal
cuisine of Kashmir has been influenced by Iranian, Afghan and Central Asian
styles of cooking, despite which it has been able to create an identity of its own.
• Non-vegetarian dishes consist of an important part of not only the diet of a
Kashmiri, rather a banquet (wazwan) also.
• The breads of Kashmir have an influence of Afghanistan, Central Asia, and the
Middle East.
• Lamb is widely used in the wazwan and the cuisine in general. Specific parts of
lamb are used to prepare specific dishes. Example, the neck is used for roganjosh,
ribs are used for tabacmaaz and kabargah, the leg is used for dhaniwal and rishta
etc.
• Another method of preparation is to pound the flesh that is carved out of the
animal to achieve a very fine texture by breaking the tissues.
• Curd plays an important role in the cuisine and it is used in almost all meat dishes
• Mustard oil is used as the cooking media.
• The use of onion though not used in the Kashmiri Pandit cuisine but very popularly
used in the Kashmiri Muslim cuisine.
• Asafoetida, better known as heing is very popularly used in the cuisine by the
Pandits for tempering the food. The other spices commonly used include saunth or
dried ginger and saunf powder.Kashmir cuisine is quite famous for the gracious
use of spices like cinnamon, cardamom, cloves,etc. Spices used in Kashmiri cuisines
give special taste and aroma to the food.
• Saffron is a very commonly used flavouring agent in this cuisine. Apart from this
pollen, Bauhinia flowers (Kachnaar), Cock’s comb flower (Mowal)etc is colour and
food ingredient.

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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

• Kashmiris dry most of their vegetables (sheengri) in the summer so as to preserve


them from the harsh and cold winters when the fresh vegetables are scarce.
• Another spice mix commonly used in this cuisine is VER PASTE (Dry roast 1/2 kg
dried Kashmiri red chillies, 25 gm black cardamom, 1/2 tbsp. black cumin seeds,
1/2 tbsp. green cardamom seeds, 1/2 tbsp. cinnamon powder, 1/2 tbsp dry ginger
powder. This is cooled and ground to a fine powder. About 125 gm shallots - praan
and 125 gm garlic is taken and and ground to a coarse paste, add to the above
powder and shape into patty cakes with a hole in the middle , to pass a thin rope,
dry cakes in the sun till no moisture is left.)
• Kashmiris eat a lot of green leafy vegetables during summers. The saag, as they call
them, include Haaq, Sauchal, Kashmiri Palak, Wastahaaq and many more.
• Lotus stem or Nadroo is a very popular vegetable in Kashmir, which is grown in the
shallow waters of Dal and Wular lakes. It is extensively used by the Kashmiri
pundits during festivals and in daily cooking as well.
• There is no prominence of desserts in the Kashmiri cuisine.

SERVICE AND MODE OF EATING:

In Kashmir it is said that the food should both taste and look good. Its aroma must be
appetizing. Success of a meal lies in its appeal to the eyes, nose and then the tongue.

In big Kashmiri dinners, where a hundred to five hundred people are usually invited, on
the occasion of weddings and festivals etc., the food is served to the guests who are seated
on carpeted floors, which are sometimes covered with Chandanis (White Sheets). These
dinners are served in big halls, or under decorated Shamiyane(Canopies), which are well
illuminated, and air conditioned, if necessary, by means of fans or stoves or electric
heaters, according to the needs of the season.

The meal begins with a ritual washing of hands at a basin called the tash-t-nari (These are
a portable hand washbasin and a pitcher that are passed around to wash hands during
big banquets) which is taken around by attendants. Then the tramis arrive, heaped with
rice, quartered by four seekhkababs and contains four pieces of methi korma, one
tabakmaaz, one safedmurg, one zafranimurg, and the first few courses. Curd and chutney
are served seperately in small earthen pots. As each trami is completed, it is removed, and
a new one brought in, until the dinner has run its course. Seven dishes are a must for
these occassions-- Rista, Rogan Josh, TabakMaaz, Daniwal Korma, AabGosht,
Marchwangan Korma and Gushtaba. The meal ends with the Gushtaba.

Eating with right hand fingers and thumb is common. Service is usually done by cooks,
friends and family members. To relish the Dishes individually, and make the cuisine an
enjoyable one, different preparations are not mixed while eating, and service is done in a
somewhat course-wise style. Thereby each Dish, with its particular flavour and delicacy, is
relished and appreciated separately at a time.

Wines and liqueurs are rarely served in dinners. Instead, Green condimented Tea without
milk, is served generally after and even before a dinner.

ModurPulow, a sweet 'Basmati' rice Pulow cooked in clarified butter (Ghee), milk and
water, along with dry fruits, saffron, spices and other condiments, is a favourite dessert of
Kashmiri Pandits. Khir, Halwa, Firni, Fruit stews and Custards etc., are also served as
desserts. In hot weather, Kulfi, Ice-creams or some other sweets are also prevalent
nowadays.

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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

To round off, a dinner or a feast, a condimented and scented Betel leaf (Pan) is always
welcome Tambul, as it is called in Sanskrit, is always offered even to Deities in Puja etc. Of
course it is the relisher and the appreciator of good food preparations, who, as a guest,
lends colour to a good feast. Usually, once a person joins a good Kashmiri feast, he or she
never forgets it.

A SPECIAL NOTE: KASHMIRI WAZWAN

Kashmir, the land of fruits and nuts is also famous for its well known for flavoursome
Kashmiri Cuisines, more for the non-vegetarian dishes. Traditional Kashmiri form of
cooking is known as 'Wazwan' and consists of mostly non-vegetarian dishes. Kashmir
serves the choicest selection of vegetarian and non vegetarian food in multiple flavours to
suit every pocket.

The history of Kashmir's traditional cuisine, Wazwan, dates back to the last years of the
14th century when the Mongol ruler Timur invaded India in 1348 during the reign of
Nasiruddin Muhammad of the Tughlaq dynasty. As a result, there took place a migration of
trained weavers, woodcarvers, architects, calligraphers and cooks from Samarkand to the
Kashmir valley. The descendants of these cooks came to be known as "Wazas", who are the
master chefs of Kashmir.

Wazwan, a multi-course meal in the Kashmiri Muslim tradition, is treated with great
respect. Its preparation isconsidered an art. Almost all the dishes are meat-based (lamb,
chicken, fish).Beef is generally not prepared in theSrinagar region,but is popular among
the other districts. It is considered a sacrilege to serve any dishes based aroundpulses or
lentils during this feast. The traditional number of courses for the wazwan is thirty-six,
though there can befewer. The preparation is traditionally done by a vastawaza, or head
chef, with the assistance of a court of wazas, orchefs.

Wazwan is regarded by the Kashmiri Muslims as a core element of their culture and
identity. The kashmiris usually eat on the floor. A white cloth called dastarkhwan is
spread on the floor. Guests are groupedinto fours for the serving of the wazwan. The meal
begins with a ritual washing of hands, as a jug and basin calledthe tash-t-nari are passed
among the guests. A large serving dish (Tamri) piled high with heaps of rice, decorated
andquartered by four seekhkababs, four pieces of meth maaz, two tabakmaaz, sides of
barbecued ribs, and one safedkokur, one zafranikokur, along with other dishes. The meal
is accompanied by yoghurt garnished with Kashmirisaffron, salads, Kashmiri pickles and
dips. Kashmiri Wazwan is generally prepared in marriages and other specialfunctions. The
culinary art is learnt through heredity and is rarely passed to outside blood relations.
That has madecertain waza/cook families very prominent. The wazas remain in great
demand during the marriage season (May -October).

Considered a sign of extravagant hospitality, non-vegetarian dishes dominate in a


wazwan. A typical wazwan meal consists of not more than one or two vegetarian dishes.
Kashmir cuisine does not pay much attention to sweets. Instead, an important part of the
meal is Kahwah or green tea, used to wash down a meal. Traditionally, food in Kashmir
was eaten by hands, without any spoons, forks or knives.All this makes 'wazwan' a
spectacular and royal repast. Seven dishes typically form an inseparable part of the feast -
'tabakhmaaz, rogan josh, rista, aab gosh, dhaniwal korma, marchwagan korma and
ghustaba. Firin and kahwah (green tea)' conjure delicacies that are rich in taste and
texture with mouth-watering aromas.

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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

DESCRIPTION OF SOME POPULAR KASHMIRI ITEMS:

• Rishta: this is a very famous dish from Kashmir served traditionally as a course in
the wazwan. This is prepared by poaching the lamb dumplings in a rich red gravy,
flavoured with saffron and an extract of mowal. For preparing the dumplings, the
meat is taken only from the leg of lamb. Traditionally in Kashmir, the animal is
slaughtered and the meat is carved out fresh from the carcass and then minced.
The lamb fat is mixed with this lamb mince. The red gravy is flavoured with
different spices such as red chilli powder, fennel powder, cloves, ginger powder,
cinnamon, asafoetida.
• Gushtaba: This dish is made with lamb, freshly pounded to a paste. The boneless
cubes of mutton are beaten along with lamb fat with a wooden mallet on a coarse
stone so that the fibres break down, yielding a paste of meat. This meat gives the
texture of a sausage on cooking. It is then flavoured with the black cardamom
seeds (big elichi), fennel and black pepper corns, ginger powder etc. The gravy is
made by combining yoghurt, ghee, salt and other Kashmiri spices. The gushtabas
are poached in the gravy until they are spongy and tender.
• Dhaniwal korma: This is a rich preparation of lamb in a yoghurt based gravy. The
meat is taken from the leg of lamb. The preparation of the gravy is started from
pure ghee to which garlic paste, cloves nad green cardamom etc are added. The
gravy is finished by adding yoghurt,little turmeric and coriander powder and served
garnished with coriander leaves.
• TabacMaaz: This is a lamb preparation in which the meat is taken from the ribs of
lamb. The lamb ribs are boiled in a mixture of milk and water with aniseed powder,
ginger, turmeric, asafoetida and cinnamon powder till the meat absorbs all the
water. After that, the meat is taken out, cut into pieces, and then pan – fried in hot
ghee flavoured with cardamom, fennel and cinnamon. The pieces of meat are fried
till they are crisp and golden brown in colour.
• Aabgosht: for preparing this dish, the lamb is cut in serving portions and boiled in
water along with aniseed powder, ginger, garlic and salt till tender. Then the gravy
is separately made by cooking fried onion paste in ghee with the addition of black
pepper powder and reduced milk. The milk has to be reduced with green cardamom
so that the cardamom flavour is completely infused in the milk. Later the dish has
to finished with the addition of lamb stock.
• Kabargah:
• Yakhni: Boneless pieces of lamb (boti) along with boned pieces of lamb are stewed
in yoghurt based gravy flavoured with fennel, cardamom and dried ginger powder
to make yakhni. It is basically a thin gravy which is normally relished with rice. A
vegetable variation can also be made with this and a common one is nadrooyakhni.
• Roganjosh: (rogan: oil; josh: hot)Lamb culled out from the shoulder is simmered in
a gravy made from mustard oil, yoghurt, red coloured water from cock’s comb
flowers, brown onion paste, and spices such as kennel and cardamom. Ratanjog,
the bark of atree is utilized to bring the fiery red colour. Kashmiri spice mix called
veris also added to the dish for flavouring.
• Rwangantsaman:Cottage cheese known as tsamanis commonly eaten in Kashmir
in many variations. It is sometimes cooked with fresh fenugreek leaves and is called
methitsaman. Rwangan refers to tomatoes and this preparation calls for stewing
cottage cheese in tomato gravy flavoured with ver and other spices.
• Kashmiri aloodum: in this preparation medium sized potatoes are first lightly
boiled in salt water followed by frying in mustard oil till crisp on the outer side. It is
customary to sprinkle asafoetida water on top of the potatoes while frying. These
are then cooked in a yoghurt based gravy flavoured with the kashmiri red chilli
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Notes Prepared By Chef Sachin

paste, brown onion etc. This is then put on dum until the oil starts to float on the
top.
• Tsamanpulao / Kashmiri pulao: It is a rice preparation in which the rice is
cooked to three – fourth doneness with whole hot spices. The rice is cooked
completely in milk and finished on dum with raisins, almonds, cumin tempered
with ghee, fried paneer and peas. It is then flavoured with saffron and kewra. This
can also be enriched with more nuts and glace cherries, when it is also referred to
as Kashmiri pulao.

KASHMIRI BEVERAGES

• Noon Chai: Kashmiris are heavy tea drinkers. The most popular drink is a pinkish
colored salted tea called "noon chai." It is made with green tea, milk, salt and
bicarbonate of soda. The particular color of the tea is a result of its unique method
of preparation and the addition of soda. This salted tea is very much like the salted
tea prevalent in various parts of India. Noon chai is a common breakfast tea in
Kashmiri households and is taken with breads like baqerkhani brought fresh from
the Sufi, or bakers. Often, this tea is served in a large Samovars.
• Kahwah / Kehwa: At marriage feasts, festivals, and religious places, it is
customary to serve Kahwah, or Qahwah (originates from a 14th century Arab
coffee, which, in turn, was named after an ancient beverage of the Sufis) - a green
teamade with saffron, spices, and almonds or walnuts. Over 20 varieties of
Kahwah are prepared in different households. Some people also put milk in
kahwah (half milk + half kahwah).
• Traditionally, Kahwah or Kehwa is prepared in a brass kettle known as a samovar.
A samovar consists of a "fire-container" running as a central cavity, in which live
coals are placed keeping the tea perpetually hot. Around the fire-container there is
a space for water to boil and the tealeaves and other ingredients are mixed with the
water for a perfect blend. Kehwa may also be made in normal pans and vessels, as
modern day urban living may not always permit the use of elaborate samovars (or
samovars, as they are popularly called in Kashmir)

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