I am a man of variations and hence can't stick to limitations. That brings an inherent curiosity in me to explore uncommon foods of India and try hands on them from time to time in my own style. I do like to give a twist sometimes, here and there, in preparation style, or in the ingredients, so as to customize the food that I prepare in my own way. Even the same recipe I keep trying in various styles so as to get the best out of it and find out the variation in taste it brings. Having other's opinion is important in this matter, that I keep doing. But I invite others to taste my recipes only after I get convinced that it is worth it, for that matter. Exploring uncommon foods, is thus, quite important.
Many people think that the food in India is all about regular stuff like rice, vegetables, sweets, Chapatis & various other forms of Rotis, and meats. But that is not all. There is a lot more in Indian culture that brings in amazing uncommon foods and we should not lose track of those. These recipes are inherited from generations gone and hence their importance in our life. Their preservation is important for generations to come. These uncommon foods are precious gems of taste, culture, and nation. Different cultures have set different standards for foods. Some communities are pure veggie while others go to an extreme extent of meats. These culinary variations thus make it more interesting. Some foods are seasonal or occasional while others are universal and prepared all through the year.
When I was in Goa, a few months back, I tried a local recipe Ambot Tik or Baby Shark Curry. This is a rare Goan dish that is very popular in Goa. This rare commodity is available in Goa all through the year. On the other hand, if we talk of Bhang Pakoras or Bhang Thandai that is made with leave of cannabis, and is popular during spring season around Shivratri and Holi festival. People in Manipur, North Bengal, and Kerala are still fond of Black Rice. Also termed as Magic Rice it has many health benefits and changes color while preparation. If you have not tasted Benami Kheer so far, you must. It is made with garlic. Phan Pyut is quite common in Eastern parts of India. The potatoes are rot in soil and then spices are mixed before relishing this dish. Chattisgarh is famous for Red Ant Chutney. Nahkham is a tribal food that is prepared dried fish, distilled ashes, and various vegetables. In Assam, Khorisa is prepared with fermented and grated bamboo shoot. Haldi ka Halwa is quite popular during Makar Sakranti month of the Indian calendar. So varied culture and so many uncommon foods are there in India. Eri Polu is an exotic dish of Assam made with silkworm pupae. Tilli is an aromatic and tasteful street snack quite popular in Pune. It is made with buffalo's spleen marinated in mild spices and then is roasted or grilled.
Uncommon Foods in India are culturally driven
Enthused with so many amazing uncommon foods, I tried preparing a handful of Bhang Pakoras at home. The recipe is simple and same as for preparing Pakoras. The only ingredient that you have to add is Bhang powder in the Besan paste that you prepare for any kind of Pakoras. This is how it came and I enjoyed them quite well at home this Holi.
During this exploration and expedition about Uncommon Foods of India, I found some beautiful, inspiring and insightful videos on the same. These videos representing culinary stars Vikas Khanna and Vir Sanghvi talking about their adventures with uncommon foods. Also came across Foodventures microsite where you stand a chance to feature in a video with the celebs on sharing your #Foodventures.