In the second episode of 'Communities & Food Stories' we are exploring the unique contours of the Kayasth cuisine as experienced at the home of our gracious hosts Veenu and Ramesh Mathur from Vasant Kunj in Delhi. The husband-wife duo runs an amazing home kitchen service called Bageechi Kitchen which serves some classic Kayasth dishes prepared with heirloom wisdom and knowledge along with other classics.
With surnames such as Saxena, Srivastava and Mathur, the Kayasth were writers in the courts of the Mughals rulers. They aren't the members of the four classifications of Brahmin,Kshatriyas ,Vaish and Shudhra. Because of their ancient professional background, they are a well educated group engaged in mostly administrative, legal and accounting professions.
Coming to some details of the cuisine of the Kayasth community we see that it is a seamless blend of various gastronomy traditions hence an example of the cultural and gastronomical inclusiveness of India.
Over a refreshing cup of tea Ramesh and Veenu Ji shared some fascinating anecdotes pertaining to the community and their traditions, their own family heritage and their way of life.
After a brief chat we went to the kitchen to start with the meal preparation. The next couple of hours in the kitchen was the most delighted phase full of irresistible aromas and amazing insights.
We got to know that meat is predominant to this cuisine and that too mutton. Veenu ji was preparing two classic dishes for us. One was the mutton kofte and the other was badaam parsinde. Both the dishes were a slow cooked preparation. This resulted in the most tender, succulent and robust flavours. Veenu ji had picked up this wisdom from his father who was very fond of cooking.
The appetiser was aloo kulle ki chaat whose highlight was the super aromatic Daddy ka Masala and the kala chaat masala. Unlike its popular counterpart available on the streets of Delhi, it was spicy and zesty.
Finally it was time to relish the parsinde and kofte with Matar Ki Tahiri and Bakarkhani. Among those two things the soft, fluffy and subtlety flavourful bakarkhani was a stunner. We ended the feast with a luscious makhane ki kheer.
This gratifying meal made us realise how for the Kayasthas, food is craft that is pursued meticulously and passionately.