SANTHAL TRIBAL Food, Culture & People I JIL PITHA ( MEAT CAKE ) + RICE TEA + SCENIC Patratu Valley

Taking our Jharkhand Food journey forward, today we are with Dr Steffy Teresa Murmu who belongs to the Jharkhand's Santhal tribe. Apart from being a social activist and author she is also a theatre artist and farmer. We are glad to connect with her in this exploration because this immersive interaction has introduced us to the life and culture of Jharkhand's largest tribe.

When we met her at her home Ranchi, we realised how passionate she is about her tribal identity. In a very lucid and comprehensive manner, she acquainted us with the topics like societal structure, religion, the concept of sarna, musical instruments and art. After this enriching encounter, she took us around her small garden that was brimming with seasonal organic vegetables. Being a passionate farmer, she herself nurtures the vegetation. She also presented us with a copy of her latest book on Santhal mythology. We then learnt about the magnificent mural art that adorned her entrance. It was indeed a colourful marvel.

Soon it was time to deviate towards food and hence we left for a beautiful spot in Patratu Valley where Steffy had planned to cook and serve us a favourite delicacy called the Jil Pitha. The beauty of Patratu Valley with all winding roads and forest cover was breathtaking. More so the lakeside setting for the meal experience with mountains at the backdrop was just surreal.

The Jil Pitha was a spicy and flavourful cake made of rice flour and meat that is cooked between sal leaves. The meaty, earthy and smoky flavours accounted for its deliciousness. From the first bite itself, we realised why it was a favourite. The day ended with some relaxing rice tea followed by a lovely boat ride.

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