India is undoubtedly a country that has been influenced by many races ruling in this vast land. As time passed, lifestyle of the people changed and so did the cuisine of the country. Each race contributed to the rich culinary history of India with their imaginable cuisine with some of them still ruling the tongues and stomach of Indian citizens even today. However, some food items have been lost in the passage of time and efforts to revive them are being carried on.
Here are some of the heritage food items from various corners of the country that has been revived-
Kedgeree : British Khichuri of West Bengal
Don’t want to enjoy a simple rice dal or khichuri for breakfast and want something interesting meal to start the day before rushing off to your work? Then Kedgeree is the answer for you. Like the British who couldn’t bear eating khichuri and turned the dish into a crave fulfilling one by adding protein elements in it. While ruling India for a period of 200 years, the British searched for a dish that can suit their taste buds. Thus, by reinventing the simple and humble khichuri or the rice-dal meal combo with smoked fish, hard boiled eggs, parsley, butter or cream, they gave birth to Kedgeree. Some of the Anglo-Indian restaurants of West Bengal are creating their innovative versions of kedgeree. Moreover, this dish is also popular as a historic rice-based dish in international level with many international restaurants adding it to their menus.
Chicken Dak Bungalow : Nostalgic Meal of the Anglo-Indians
If you want to relish ancient chicken recipes of India then Chicken Dak Bungalow is the perfect choice for you. However, in order to get a true taste of the recipe, the best way to make the ginger garlic paste is to grind it in a mortar and pestle. Chicken Dak Bungalow is also a colonial era dish that were prepared delicately by cooks of the rest houses (Dak Bungalows) to satisfy the hunger pangs of the weary British travelers. During those days, this dish was prepared with chicken reared in the rest houses and the spices were all self-grounded by the cooks. Enriched with curd, potatoes and eggs, the wholesome chicken will not only fill your stomach but sooth your taste buds with the array of spices it contains such as cardamom, cinnamon, cloves etc. Today this dish is quite popular and is mostly enjoyed in homes.
Goalondo Steamer Chicken Curry : The Bengali Boatman’s Dish
The Goalondo Steamer Chicken Curry is one of the simplest runny chicken curries that is easy to cook. However, you will be fascinated by the rich story behind it. During the nineteenth century, people from Kolkata who traveled to the eastern routes had to travel from a train to Goalondo through the yesteryear railway tracks of the Eastern Bengal Railway. The travelers later boarded the Goalondo steamer in Goalondo Ghat situated in Dhaka. The steamer then went off to Naryanganj, Assam, Chittagong, Burma. Being one of the most important means of waterway transport in the nineteenth century, the staff of the Goalondo steamer used to pamper its passengers a simple, out-of the-world, delicious chicken curry that never made them miss home- cooked food and relished that curry with utter pleasure while the steamer went chugging through the vast waters to the faraway eastern shores. The chicken marinated richly with mustard oil, ginger, garlic, onions, large amounts of salt, chillies for about one hour and then cooked in low flame over a pan is now a popular choice of heritage food that comes up in many food festivals of the country.
Junglee Maas : Rajasthani Hunter’s Royal Food
Junglee Maas is the royal hunter’s meat of yesteryears. If you have a fiery tongue and would like to relish some of the hottest meaty delights, then Junglee Maas is the right dish for you. The Rajput kings were fond of hunting and often went out in large troupes to hunt in the dense forests in the western part of the country. After a good and awesome catch, the troupe would slow cook the hunted meat in ghee and add large amount of chillies and salt to make the meat succulent and hot. This dish is now being reinvented in many restaurants serving Rajasthani cuisine.
Kaleji Ki Raita : Yoghurt Wonder of the Rajputs
One of the rich royal Rajput cuisines, Kaleji Ki Raita also originated from the hunting recipes of ancient Rajasthan. This dish comprises of smoked pieces of the liver of a goat enriched with spices and dipped in thick curd. You can savour these dishes at some of the restaurants of Rajasthan or by cooking at home, and believe me, this dish comprising the goodness of curd along with some spicy condiments will swoon you into a gravy rich foody world and make you feel that such kinds of dishes should not vanish from the plates so soon.
Carne de Vina D’ Alhos : Goan’s Toast To Meat and Wine
Goa, being one of the most beautiful places by the Arabian Sea and the centre where trade with Western countries took birth from the late fifteenth century, it also became a melting pot of innumerable cuisines with good Western influence. Carne de Vina D’ Alhos is one such heritage food item brought by the Portuguese with them during their invasion of India. The dish which comprises of pork meat cooked with wine and garlic is fast disappearing with the passage of time. However, some of the Goan hotels are trying to revive this unique pork dish of the seaside state.
Dum Pukht Biryani : Hidden Wonder Of A Nawab’s Cooking Pot
As the saying goes , ‘Slow and Steady Wins The Race’, but in this case, the idiom would be ‘ Slow And Steady Cooking Tastifies The Biryani’. Started by one of the sixteenth century nawabs named Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah to address the crisis of food due to the worse famine in the kingdom of Awadh, the dish not only fulfill the hunger of the people of his kingdom but made them sing the praises of the king for presenting them with one of the tastiest morsels they had ever tasted in their life. Dum Pukht is a slow method of cooking in which meats, vegetables, rice and spices are simply mixed in a copper vessel, sealed with flour dough and then left for many hours over so that the dish is slowly cooked. The nawab had employed thousands of workers to use the process of dum pukht cooking to feed the people of his kingdom during the famine. In the present twenty first century, you can also savour this yummiest slow cooked biryani in many North Indian restaurants.
Gosht Halwa : Weird Mughlai Sweetmeat
Ever heard of halwa cooked with lamb? Well, Gosht Halwa is the answer. This sweetmeat enriched in milk, ghee and sugar was once among the many favourite kinds of desserts enjoyed by the Mughals. Revived recently by the mother-son duo Nazish Jalali and Osama Jalali after an avid research on old cuisines, the meat based halwa soon aroused the curiosity of people in social media. The halwa is generally prepared by slow cooking the meat in a mixture of milk, ghee, sugar, cardamom, saffron till it becomes a paste of thicker consistency.
Moti Pulao : Rich Pearly Rice of the Nawabs
Another rich Nawabi cuisine –Moti Pulao- that has a weird but wondrous historical method of cooking but the present day version of the dish is much different from the ancient one. The dish which originated in the kitchens of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, known for hosting lavish parties, is made with pulao and some rich meaty balls. The balls which are the main feature and looks like a pearl are made from egg whites which are then stuffed into the gullet of a chicken and slow cooked. The cooked balls are later garnished with silver. During the time of origin of this curious dish, pearl trade flourished in India. So the concept of creating a version of pulao with meats fashioned to look like a pearl came up. The pulao , however, was cooked in the usual method with a combination of dry fruits, cardamom, ghee. Today, the balls of Moti Pulao are mostly cooked with paneer.
Titkoh : Puducherry’s Ode To The French
An unusual sweet and hot non-vegetarian dish that was brought by the French people when they decided to settle in Puducherry, Titkoh has now almost been forgotten. Succulent pieces of pork cooked with jaggery, honey, coconut water and chillies, the unusual sweet hot dish wafts a pleasant aroma too that pleases the nose and tongue both.
Drumstick leaf soup : Nutritious Leafy Wonder of Kerala
No wonder as the name suggest, Drumstick leaf soup is a soup made of leaves from drumsticks. However, this dish originated in the royal kingdom of Travancore which is present day Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala. A rich source of essential minerals, the bittery taste soup helps in boosting the immune system.
Saada Aash : Royal Soup of the Nizams
One of the unheard recipes that was once cooked in the royal Nizami kitchens of Hyderabad. The soup is cooked with lamb that is simmered for long hours with a vast number of condiments that results in a nutritious and tasty broth.
The above list is just a mention of some among the many kinds of awesome food items that was once relished by long ago people in history. Most of the eminent chefs of prestigious hotels and even individuals with a deep interest in cooking are now trying to revive dishes that had once been cooked in various kitchens across the country.