Harvesting traditions: Celebrating Kisan Diwas with heirloom recipes
Get on an exploration into the heart of India’s culinary heritage, where each dish unfolds a story of tradition and craftsmanship
As the golden sun dips below the horizon, casting long shadows across fertile fields, India readies to celebrate Kisan Diwas (on December 23, 2023), a day dedicated to the backbone of our nation – the farmers.
Let's delve beyond the ceremonial and into the heart of Indian agriculture – its rich tapestry of traditions woven with heirloom recipes. These recipes are not merely culinary delights; they are living testaments to a deep-rooted connection between farming, culture, and the land itself.
Bajre ki khichdi: Rajasthan's ode to resilience
This humble dish, starring the unassuming ‘Bajra’, transcends its simplicity to stand as a testament to adaptation and resilienceThe khichdi itself is a symphony of textures and flavours. Roasted bajra mingles with plump moong dal, infused with turmeric's golden hue and cumin's earthy warmth.
Amritsari wadi chawal: Punjab's celebration of ingenuity
This dish is a love letter to resourcefulness, where humble lentils transform into delectable ‘wadi’. Soaked lentils, ground with aromatic spices like ginger and asafoetida, are shaped into dumplings and fried to a golden crisp.
Bhang Ki chutney: Uttarakhand's embrace of tradition
Hemp seeds, revered for their medicinal properties and cultural significance, become the star ingredient in this flavourful condiment. Freshly ground seeds are dried into a fine powder and then blended with warming spices like ginger and black pepper. The chutney's earthy notes and subtle kick find their way onto snacks or as part of a festive meal, a testament to Uttarakhand's harmonious relationship with nature and its ancient traditions.
Kerala's olan: A symphony of coconut and green
Tender pumpkin bathes in a creamy coconut milk broth, infused with the delicate fragrance of turmeric and curry leaves. Green beans, okra, and drumsticks add pops of texture and colour, creating a symphony of earthy flavours. Olan, traditionally served during Onam, the harvest festival, symbolises prosperity and abundance. Each bite carries the essence of Kerala's verdant landscape, where coconut palms sway and the land overflows with nature’s bounties.
Bengali shukto: A symphony of vegetables
This quintessential dish transcends the realm of mere vegetable curry, weaving a vibrant tapestry of colours and textures. From crunchy okra and plump gourds to delicate pumpkin and earthy mushrooms, each season paints a new canvas for shukto. The secret lies in the ‘panch phoron’, a five-spice blend unique to Bengal. Mustard, cumin, fennel, fenugreek, and nigella seeds crackle in hot oil, releasing their aromatic symphony before embracing the vegetables in a warm hug of turmeric and ginger.
Do you know of any other heirloom recipes that connect the land, community and culinary heritage? Let us know in the comments.