As a state blessed with a bounty of natural resources, the food of Chhattisgarh is wholesome and diverse. Rice is a staple grain that is paired with vegetable curries or dal. Moreover, a plethora of green leafy vegetables covers a large part of the vegetarian diet in Chhattisgarh. Let's take you through some of the popular dishes that define the traditional Chhattisgarhi cuisine.
We had tried them at the home of our gracious hosts Kriti in Raipur and Garima in Sonpur.
TIKHUR KI KHEER
It is a thick and refreshing dessert made of tikhur (East Indian arrowroot), milk, sugar and nuts.
It is thin spindle-shaped steamed dumplings that are made of cooked rice and rice flour based dough and tempered with mustard seeds, white sesame seeds curry leaves and whole red chilies. The mustard seeds give it a nice crunch.
It is small and crisp fritters made of green chilli and garlic flavoured split Bengal gram lentil (chana dal) paste. It is best enjoyed with spicy coriander, chilli and tomato chutney.
PATAL MIRCHA CHUTNEY
It is a spicy and tangy condiment made of ripe tomatoes, fresh coriander and garlic that adds some fun to the meal or snacks.
It is a hot and spicy condiment made of whole red chilies and garlic.
It is a black lentil and sesame seeds based crisp deep fried disc shaped snack.
It is vermicelli shaped deep fried rice crisps that is eaten with rice and dal.
Spicy and tangy raw mango pickle made of salt and chilli powder
AMAARI PHOOL KA SHARBAT
A refreshingly sweet and tangy drink made of amaari phool (roselle flower) that cools your body and provides energy.
AAM KA KUCHA
It is a tangy and spicy condiment made of raw mango, garlic, mint etc.
It is a tangy and spicy yogurt based curry made of steamed and then deep fried slices of urad dal paste smeared colocasia leaf rolls. This delicacy goes well with both rice and roti.
JIMIKANDA KI SABZI
It is a tangy and flavourful curry made of deep fried yam pieces, whole spices paste, fresh fenugreek leaves and tomatoes. It has a rustic feel to it.
It is a piquant side dish made of the tender leaves of Bird Lime Tree (bohar bhaji), split Bengal gram lentil (chana dal), curd and a tempering of garlic and red chillies. The bihar bhaji is a very prized and costly green because it is hard to get.
MUNGA BADI AALU
It is a flavourful curry made of badi (black gram lentil and ash gourd based sun dried nuggets) , drumsticks, whole spices paste , fresh fenugreek leaves and tomatoes. When cooked in the gravy, the badi swells up, softens and releases its own flavours .
It is a crisp deep fried puffed bread made of rice flour, little whole wheat flour, salt and cumin seeds. These are slightly more robust in taste than the whole wheat flour puri.
It is cooked rice soaked in water that is fermented overnight. It is mostly preferred during summers because of its cooling effect.
Spicy side dish made of tender wild sweet potato leaves (kanda bhaji). It has a slight crunch that delights the taste buds.
BHINDI DUBKI KADHI
It is a tangy and spicy curry made of curd, black lentil dumplings and lady fingers. These are very different from the popular Punjabi kadhi both in terms of ingredients and cooking process.
RASAYAN KATRA RASSA
It is a rich and spicy curry made of diamond shaped chickpea flour chunks which are first steamed and then fried. Once they get cooked in the curry, they soak up the gravy and become soft and juicy.
AMTAHA MASOOR BATKAR
It is another tangy and flavourful curry made of whole red lentil, buttermilk and chickpea flour. The whole red lentils add a nice earthy flavour to this dish.
KARMATTA BADI BHAJI
It is water spinach (karmatta bhaji) and sun dried lentil nuggets based side dish that goes well with rice. Water spinach is a seasonal green with a distinct flavour.
It is cooked rice and rice flour based thick flatbread that is baked over cow dung embers between parsa paan leaves. It has to be well cooked so that the inside part is not left undercooked.
It is a creamy and luscious dessert made of thin rice flour dumplings, milk and sugar. It also has a touch of cardamom.
It is a unique granular textured sweet made of rice flour, curd, ghee and sugar. The making process is somewhat complex.
CHINT KE LADOO
It is a unique sweet that consists of a soft and crumbly whole wheat flour based center and a sticky boondi based outer layer.
It is a crunchy, sugar syrup glazed deep fried sweet snack made of rice and wheat flours.
These are deep fried rice balls soaked in sugar or jaggery syrup. They are very similar to gulab jamun in appearance and taste.