Promising Indian dishes waiting to lure the masses

It is incredibly fortunate to be born in India which offers us a treasure trove of delightful foods. Here, we regularly come across many popular sweets and snacks like samosa, jalebi, rasgulla, paani puri, idli, dosa, dhokla and so on, that are found across the length and breadth of the country with slight regional variations which could be categorised as Pan-Indian due to their availability. However, there are many more sweets, savouries and snack items which are hugely popular in their region but are known to fewer people across the country or around the globe. So, let me take you for a tour around some of those less popular but tempting dishes around India, which are waiting to tickle the taste buds of millions of Indian masses and global citizens in a big way that deserves to be at every nook and corner of India and spread across the world.

So, here comes the Rajasthan’s pride, the popular Dal Baati Churma, a culinary gem in itself. Is anyone out there who had visited Rajasthan and not tasted this? It is a unique blend of spices and flavours which is believed to have originated in the kingdom of Mewar, and was adopted by the Rajputs as a wartime meal. It is a combination of three major components i.e. the spicy daal, the wholesome baati and the sweet churma. The Daal also called Panchmel daal is a spicy mix of lentils or pulses ( chana, urad, moong, moth and tuvar), tempered with a spicy tadka. Baatis are baked dough dumplings of wheat flour and semolina. Baatis can also be prepared with corn, millet, barley or a mix of wheat flours. Churma is sweetish in taste, made of whole wheat and semolina, however has other versions like the besan(gram-flour) churma, rose churma, bajre(pearl millet) ka churma and many more. Though the dish is a part of tradition in Rajasthan and is available across India in few Authentic or fine dine restaurants, it still has a long way to go in terms of its availability and popularity across Indian streets or around the world, considering the omnipresence of Rajasthani community nationwide and worldwide.

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Khandvi , a popular Gujarati snack, also known as patuli, dahivadi or suralichi vadi, in Maharashtra, though available in some parts and pockets around India, is yet to penetrate into the masses in terms of its availability and popularity in a big way. They are bite-size light, healthy, appetizer and snack which are usually yellow coloured small tight rolls of 2-3 cm ( 1 inch) size, usually prepared from a batter of gram flour and yogurt seasoned with ginger paste, salt, water, turmeric and green chilli peppers. They are sometimes seasoned with spices and condiments, such as grated cheese, chutney or ketchup and could be served hot or cold. Though this dish is readily available and popular across Gujarat and Maharashtra, it has the taste, art, appeal, nutritional value and the potential to become a widely popular Indian snack on the lines of its big brother Dhokla.

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Bihar’s favourite savoury snack,…Litti Chokha is yet another mouth-watering delicacy available in the Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand and parts of Uttar Pradesh. Traditionally, Litti is prepared from whole wheat flour dough stuffed with sattu (powdered roasted black gram) along with spices and baked over coal or cow dung cakes and served with spicy chokha with some ghee sprinkled over the hot Litti. Litti is much the same as Bati of Bati Chokha which is another similar kind of savoury found in parts of Uttar Pradesh, the only difference being the stuffing of sattu which is typical of Litti. Chokha, the accompaniment of Litti is a roasted vegetable mix of brinjal(eggplant) or potatoes with tomatoes, coriander leaves, onions and lots of spices with little raw mustard oil that adds a zing to it’s flavour. The origin of this dish lie steeped in history as a wartime meal. It is slated to move out of Bihar and spread across India and worldwide after its mention in the Chetan Bhagat’s popular fiction Half Girlfriend.

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Modak, a must have sweet during Ganpati festival in the Indian state of Maharashtra, is believed to be the most cherished sweet of Lord Ganesha of Hindu mythology and is undoubtedly a darling for the people of Maharashtra and its adjoining regions. It is a simple steamed sweet dumpling traditionally made of rice flour and sometimes wheat or maida flour stuffed with coconut and jaggery & just tastes divine. It is a common item in every sweet shop in and around the state. Even though this can be found in many other parts of India, its popularity needs more spike in order to introduce it to a bigger population who are yet to relish it’s taste. It is undergoing many transformations with people trying variations with different colours and flavours in the dumpling as well as the stuffing. There is no doubt about it that this darling sweet of Maharashtra will become the darling of India if it is sold or made available throughout the country and elsewhere.

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Puran Poli,….another sweet delicacy of Maharashtra, also usually made during Ganpati festival is an Indian sweetened flatbread also known by other names as Holige or Obbattu & are eaten in other Indian states of Karnataka, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Northern Tamilnadu and Kerala. My aunt prepares this awesome Maharashtrian sweet on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi. This is a very simple dish made of Chana Dal (chickpea flour), ghee, jaggery or sugar and coconut, mixed and stuffed inside dough made of plain flour which has to be flattened and then pan-fried in a tawa just like a parantha with some ghee. The ingredients vary slightly from region to region. Though this dish is very commonly prepared in homes during the week-long celebration of Ganesh festival in Maharashtra and elsewhere and is available in few sweet shops in the state, yet it deserves to move out of its niche and delight more people across the world.

For recipe, follow:

Puttu or Pittu which means “portioned” in Malayalam language is a popular breakfast dish of Kerala, also eaten in some parts of Tamilnadu, Coorg and Canara region of Karnataka, and also in Sri Lanka. This dish is believed to be originated in Sri lanka. It is a simple and healthy dish made of rice flour and coconut. This south Indian breakfast item is more popular in homes and are way behind its other south Indian counterparts like idli, dosa, uttapam etc. all of which have almost a pan Indian presence. The dish is usually served with Kadala curry (Black Chana) for breakfast or with green gram or simply with papad or aplam and banana. However, it is quite commonly served with meat gravies nowadays. Traditionally, this was an ideal breakfast for farmers who had to work hard on the fields which kept them going all day. A lot of innovations are being done and a lot more could be tried to this dish which could actually work wonders like the multi-layered puttu with wheat, raagi, rava or the sweet variants with varied flavours.

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Til Pitha or Pitha is an indispensable component of Assamese Bihu platter. Though the dish looks quite simple yet preparing this is an art which requires skilful hands. However, with little effort one can master the art of making it. While it is prepared mostly during the festival of Bihu, but one can easily have this anytime, anywhere in Assam. This is a simple form of dry sweet pancake prepared from a kind of soaked & ground sticky rice called bora chaul in
Assamese which is stuffed with either black sesame seeds mixed with jaggery (cooked separately) or also with sweetened coconut and then rolled into tight thin rolls. It is somewhat chewy, crunchy with sweet inside felt in every bite & tastes just awesome with a hot cup of tea that can be tucked in anytime for immediate satiation of hunger. The dish is a real healthy stuff since it requires absolutely no oil with the goodness of sesame seeds, coconut and jaggery. Though it is widely popular in Assam and the Northeast, this exotic sweet needs to be further promoted all over India and worldwide considering its unique taste, healthfulness and simplicity of ingredients and preparation.

For recipe, follow:

Patishapta,…a quintessential sweet delicacy in Bengali households, though not very popular outside, yet is a must have as a part of its tradition in Bengali homes especially during the harvest festival of Makar Sankranti. A sweet pancake made up of rice flour, semolina or maida batter or a mix of all three, stuffed with sweetened nariyal or khoya ( kheer) and smeared with molten khoya is served piping hot or chilled, both equally appealing. It has originated in rural homes, where people used to celebrate their first harvest of the year with this dish prepared from freshly harvested rice, milk, coconut and jaggery. This sweet also has a nolen gur version where date palm jaggery is used instead of sugar, which gives the entire thing a distinct nolen gur ( date-palm jaggery) flavour and a distinctive brown colour. Also, many more variations of Patishapta can be made or are already available but only within a narrow niche which needs to be further widened for tapping the innovative ideas of more food enthusiasts across the country. It is available in quaint sweet shops in towns across eastern India, but has a long way to go in terms of its popularity to catch up with its counterparts like rosogolla, sondesh, chumchum, and pantoa.

For recipe, follow:

Many of you may have had known one or more of these dishes either at your home, at aunt’s place, neighbour’s house or in a roadside stall in your state or region, or just had them at a quaint shop while travelling somewhere, but it is high time that these dishes rise to the next level of popularity and penetrate the vibrant pan Indian popular palate around the streets and corners on the lines of samosa, paani puri, jalebi or dosa, so that more and more people around the world are able to taste them and feel delighted. Let us take a few steps forward in making these treasured foods of India transcend all over among the masses irrespective of the boundaries of community & religion.



2 Comments Add yours

  1. dpranita583 says:

    Fantastic recipes , delicious & yummy, tasty .

    Liked by 1 person

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