Rajasthani cuisine is influenced by its extreme climatic conditions and scarcity of water and vegetation. The Rajasthanis have evolved their culinary styles in such a way that many of their dishes can be preserved for several days and served without heating. A few common ingredients are beans, lentils, gram flour, corn, barley, millet, bajra, bread and plenty of dairy products, especially ghee. Although predominantly a vegetarian region, the influence of the Rajputs who relished non-vegetarian dishes, including game meat, saw the evolution of several lip-smacking non-vegetarian dishes such as laal maas (red meat), jungli maas (wild meat), khad khargosh (spiced rabbit) and safed maas (white meat).
Punjabi cuisine is perhaps India’s best known, with the ubiquitous tandoori
chicken, butter chicken and chicken tikka masala making the cut on every
second Indian restaurant’s menu! Punjabis are known for their exuberance and
zest for life, which is reflected in their music, festivals, dances and of
course, their hearty cuisine. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not all about
chicken! There is plenty of vegetarian fare. Wheat is a staple part of the
diet, along with a variety of lentils, beans and vegetables. The curries and
dals (lentils) are rich, laced with ghee, butter, cottage cheese and cream,
and meals are accompanied by a thick, sweetened yogurt drink called Lassi.
Vegetables are seasonal – Aloo Gobhi (cauliflower and potato) and Sarson ka
Saag (mustard and other greens) are eaten in winters, and Bharwan Bhindi
(stuffed okra) in summers. Flatbreads are varied and many, and a popular dish
is the stuffed paratha. This is an unleavened wholewheat flatbread, stuffed
with anything from potatoes, peas and cauliflower to white radish, minced meat
and cottage cheese, and lathered with homemade white butter. Rotis, kulchas,
naan and parathas are made of all-purpose flour, gram flour, makka (cornmeal)
and Bajra (millet), flavoured with nigella, sesame, mint, fenugreek and
spinach. Deep fried bhaturas are served with that most popular of dishes,
Chole (spiced chickpea curry). The bhatti or tandoor is a clay oven which is
frequently used for cooking meats and bread. The Punjabi Dhaba concept
originated as a truckers stop on highways across India, but these dhabas can
now be found in cities as well. They serve typical Punjabi dishes like Chicken
Tikka, Chole Bhature, Palak Paneer (spinach and cottage cheese), meat curries,
lentils, parathas, naans, vegetables and more. Popular dishes made at home
include Punjabi Kadhi with Pakoras (yogurt curry with fried dumplings), Rajma
Chawal (kidney beans curry with rice) and Kali Daal (curried black gram) and
Baingan Bharta (roasted brinjals). Common desserts include Gajar Halwa (carrot
halwa), Gulab Jamum, Jalebi, Rasmalai, Phirni and Kulfi.
In these strangely housebound times, our lockdown blues appear to be considerably alleviated by
experimentation in the kitchen. At Tamarind Global, we are exploring local cuisines statewise, and will bring
you a meal plan with recipes each week to share our culinary travels.
This week, we begin with one of our favourites, Kerala. Not for nothing is this state known as God’s Own
Country . Did you know that Kerala translates as ‘Land of Coconuts’? The word ‘keram’ in Malayalam means
‘coconut tree’, and the land came to be known as Keralam. When you fly into Cochin, you can see miles and
miles of coconut plantations, and naturally, the cuisine is packed with the goodness of this fruit.
FWe hope you enjoyed our Kerala special last week, and feasted on appams and stew. We received so much
positive feedback on our first edition of On the Spice Trail with Tamarind that we are presenting our next one
with great enthusiasm.
From the world-famous pav bhaji to the delicious coastal curries, Maharashtra has a lot to offer food lovers.
Maharashtrian cuisine can be broadly classified into two styles – Konkan and Varadi. Konkan being from the
coastal region has influences from Goan, Saraswat, Gaud and Malvani regions. Varadi cuisine, on the other
hand, belongs to the Vidarbha region. Some spices like goda masala, kokum, tamarind and coconut are
essential ingredients in the Maharashtrian kitchen. Wheat, rice, jowar, bajri, vegetables, lentils and fruit are
dietary staples. Peanuts and cashews are often served with vegetables.
Indian food lovers across the world eat numerous varieties of idlis, uttapams, paniyarams and dosas, served
with sambar and a mind-boggling variety of chutneys, pickles and podis (powders). Naturally, this is the only
food commonly associated with Tamil Nadu. But the cuisine of this southern state is so much more than it’s
Udipi restaurant specialties. Whether it is Kongunadu or Arcot, the Chettiars or the Iyengars, food takes on
different avatars across communities. Traditional Tamilian Brahmin food is pure vegetarian fare served on
banana leaves and is called Ilai Sappadu, meaning a full course meal that accommodates all the six tastes –
sweet, sour, bitter, salty, pungent and astringent. It consists of a never-ending array of dishes such as poriyal,
rice, varuval, pachadi, idli, payasam, sambar, thokku, vadai and kuzambu, amongst others. Contrary to
popular belief, non vegetarian food is part of the Tamilian repertoire. Chettinad chicken, prawns kuzhambu,
fried fish and kola urundai (meat balls) and some lip-smacking seafood from the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu
are among the popular dishes.
Gujarat’s cuisine is heavily influenced by the geography, history, and culture of the region. There have been a multitude of rulers here from Marathas, Rajputs to the Mughals and other Islamic invaders, but in recent times, Jain influence has made the cuisine largely vegetarian. Different areas like Kathiyawad, Kutch, Surat and Ahmedabad developed their own distinct flavours, while the Gujarati Muslims and Parsis enjoy their own unique non-vegetarian dishes.
The Kipling Camp at Kanha is home to Tara the elephant – her final home after a lifetime of adventures, some pleasant and some very trying. Tara’s early life was difficult. She was found by modern-day adventurer Mark Shand in a scrawny, abused condition, begging. Shand describes his first meeting with Tara thus:
Winters’ already here and travel plans are in the making. Any traveller knows that India has assorted splendid winter holiday destinations. But, if there’s one place that’s a notch above the rest, it’s Leh-Ladakh. Realm of jaw-dropping Himalayan landscapes, remarkable lakes, Buddhist monasteries and sub-zero temperatures that chill you to the bone. It’s one of those rare gems that can be visited nearly all-year round. Nevertheless, winter lends an even more special touch. Visiting Leh – Ladakh in winters is an opportunity to witness this magical white wonderland as it has existed for centuries.
Bored of the known and common tourist trails? Wish to explore new places? The offbeat destinations in India award an awe-inspiring experience. Skip the hustle-bustle of cities and luxuriate in unbelievable experiences. Vacations in these lesser-known vicinities of the country are truly remarkable. Dodge crowds, explore the raw natural beauty and exotic cultures and get to endure a plethora of distinct things. Nowadays, many individuals are looking for destinations off the charted routes. Furthermore, Indian offbeat destinations give the thrill of an exciting yet relaxing getaway but also some cherished memories. Here is a list of 10 that are known for an impressive and captivating experience: