For some communities, a large part of their life revolves around food. For most Indians, I’m sure there is at least one community that comes to mind promptly! :)
The thing is, in India every state and within the state, each community has it’s own cuisine based on local, seasonal availability of grains, vegetables and spices. With varying temperatures and geographical conditions, that is a crazy range of options.
And what’s more is, that almost every one of them have more vegetarian, in fact vegan options that we can imagine. Made with (what for us today is exotic) vegetables and grains that are rich in nutrition. Fruits, leaves and stems of plants that grew around were used so creatively. This article in Livemint has some interesting information about it.
This is something that really bothers me.... because it’s a pity that in our great chase for everything western we are losing out on all this. Like really, it’s come to a point where you get Mexican and Italian food in an Udipi restaurant but will rarely find a Misal pau! There are more burger, sandwich and coffee shops around than authentic Indian food restaurants...
It’s a pity we have started associating Indian food with a handful of North Indian and South Indian dishes, apart from street food. And within these few, there are a bunch of dishes that are so standard, it’s become the burger equivalent of India.
While chatting with my dear mom figure, Shakuntala Majumdar, she was telling me how Bengali vegetarian dishes (the ones without fish and eggs ;) are vegan. Similarly traditional vegetarian food from Maharashtra, Bihar, Kashmir or even veg options available in the North East are largely dairy free. Unfortunately, our unhealthy obsession with butter, ghee and cheese in the recent past has diluted so many of their flavours.
It’s funny why we have taken to standardization and foreign cuisines so easily, when in our country we have such fantastic food and so much variety, it would take forever to even document them. It’s lighter healthier and the right food we should be eating given the environment we live in.
So, let’s discover some good local food and enjoy something new! If you have any regional vegetarian recipe that you would like to share, please submit it here.. :)
Please leave your comments and share your thoughts about it!