In the finale episode of the Community and Food Stories of Delhi Series, Season 2, we are diving into the rustic world of home cooked Bihari food as experienced at the home of our gracious host Archana in Katwaria Sarai, Delhi. She is a talented young home chef specialising in the cuisine of her home state Bihar.
During this gastronomic expedition, Archana had planned to introduce us to some of the festive time delicacies from her village that she has grown up eating and loving. The spread was a confluence of dishes cooked during Jitiya, Holi and other important occasions. The elaborate menu helped us gain a deeper insight into the vast world of Bihari food beyond the stereotypical dishes.
On reaching her place we met her fiance Ankur who is a fan of our shows and who belongs to Anubhav's home town Muzaffarpur. Over a cup of bay leaf flavoured black tea, Archana and Ankur brief us about their background and neighborhood. Both of them have been in Delhi for quite some time.
Soon after we went to the kitchen to witness the making of 3 of the 13 dishes in the menu. Interestingly we weren't aware of the elaborate spread right at the beginning. We realised it in due course of the conversation. To save time, Archana had prepared most of the dishes in advance.
She started with kushi kerao jhor. It is a unique earthy flavoured small peas curry that had a predominant flavour of garlic and whole aromatic spices. These peas are indigenous produce that aren't easily available all through. It is a jitiya festival special dish that is mostly relished with rice.
Next she made the oal ka chokha, a spicy and tangy mash made of boiled elephant foot yam. The tangy taste comes comes from the lemon which is indispensable else it would result in irritattion in the throat. It's unique taste brightens up your palate.
The third dish was bata fish curry whose hightlight was the mustard paste. After this she fried some savoury treats and we headed for then meal.
The sight of so many food items was absolutely overwhelming. Other dishes included mansho, laal saag, poi data, chilki roti, poi saag chana dal, lauki ka bajka, moongfali chana dal chutney, katra, boondi etc. Everything was so delicious that we had a surfeit of the soulful spread. The eating experience was enhanced by the fascinating personal food memories.
We ended the feast with rasiya, a most and luscious sugarcane and rice pudding that was garnished with roasted peanuts and grated coconut.
This Bihari spread in Delhi was an enriching experience because we got to discover about some unique, some quintessential and some festive time foods. All thanks to Archana and Ankur.