In today’s episode Anubhav is visiting the beautiful Siriyon Village at Dehradun which is home to our host Navendu’s maternal grandmother. Navendu is an entrepreneur, social worker and a food blogger who shares stories about the food culture of his native place in Uttarakhand. Anubhav joined him to explore some of the dishes of the Garhwali cuisine. Siriyon is a small mountain village that is inhabited by just 7 to 8 families who stay in close contact with each other. They share each other's work and live in harmony.
We drove through the verdant winding roads to reach Navendu’s Nani’s place for lunch. The place was surrounded by huge trees and beautiful mountains. Navendu’s family had gathered together for the feast. We loved the temporary kitchen setting that was right beneath a huge tree. The oven, firewood and spices were neatly arranged beside each other.
Soon we settled down with the family to have some tea and to know about the place. After an intriguing conversation Navendu informed us about the menu that he was going to prepare for us. It was a long list and we were excited to relish it.
Navendu began with the making of malte ki khatai which is a zesty salad made of the indigenous citrus fruit called malta. It is sweet and sour, juicy and so refreshing. Here in the mountains, this salad is seldom consumed in isolation. A big group makes the experience all the more enjoyable.
Next he prepared the pindalu ke gutke and pindalu ka saag. Pindalu is taro and the ones growing here are big, super nutritious and tasty. The former was a dry preparation that we polished off in the course of the cooking while the later one was a spicy taro curry. Two notable native spices used in these and the following dishes were jakhiya and faran.
One of their very interesting traditional food items is the nal badi which is sundried chunks of lentil paste coated taro stems. They are made into a spicy curry along with potatoes Navendu cooked for us to have with boiled rice.
It was followed by the preparation of Gahat the phaanu and kankode ki sabzi. Gahat or horsegram is widely cultivated in the mountains of Uttarakhand. Hence this lentil is used in various forms. Gahat ka phannu has a base made of horse gram along with small pieces of horsegram pancakes. The kankode ki sabzi on the other hand was a tangy side dish that resembled a cucumber stir fry.
After the kankode ki sabzi was ready Navendu's mom, aunt and even grandmother joined us for making a special festive treat called urad ke pakode. It was a flat and crisp, jakhiya encrusted fritter made of a spiced urad dal batter. In accordance with the traditional way, we tried it with ghee and the combination was surprisingly greasy yet delightful. While making them Navendu's mom sang a folk song about the same.
When the raita and palyo were ready so it was the turn of finger millet flatbreads that are highly nutritious. The dark coloured rotis were to be eaten again with ghee and sabzis.
With rotis being ready we all sat down out in the open to enjoy the lunch. The dishes were served all together in bronze plates and bowls. This simple homecooked meal prepared using local produce and ingredients was soul satisfying though it did had some spicy note to it. Heartfelt thanks to Navendu and his family for all the warmth, affection and care.
Enjoy the journey we will meet you again next week.
About the host - Anubhav Sapra
Anubhav Sapra is an avid culinary explorer who loves to travel and explore different cuisine primarily the street food, not just for the sake of gustatory pleasure but also for quenching his deep thirst for nurturing new cultural connections through the kaleidoscopic canvas of food. He believes that the vibrant and delectable street food tradition across the globe has the power to bring communities together and foster harmonious human existence.