How food plays an equaliser in India

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Each region in India has a variant of khichdi. It is no longer limited to that region though. Indian dishes and ingredients are travelling across the country and that is adding to the diversity on the plate. We bring you few trends that show how food plays the equaliser in this country.
Festive feast

The aroma of rich kadha prasad on Guru Purab or meethi sevviyan around Eid rekindles childhood memories of hopping over to a dear neighbour’s house to gorge on regional festive fare. The trend continues today but the venue has shifted to hotels, restaurants and food pop-ups. Foodies wait in anticipation for a Pongal or Bihu spread and make bookings in advance. No matter which part of India you belong to, a festival or celebration isn’t complete today without sampling the traditional spread made on that day – be it an elaborate Onam sadhya or a heartwarming meal on Navroz.

Going g(local)

Indians know how to use a desi staple and give it an international treatment. Food bloggers are using local bathua and sarson leaves instead of rocket leaves to spruce their salads. Our local sabja and moringa seeds are traversing far and wide as functional food and so is the haldi waala doodh. Taking the turmeric fervour to the next level, this year will be about taking turmeric — in its raw form (kachi haldi) found in abundance in winter season — for an outing to fancy restaurants. From shredding it for salads to stirring it in soups and curries, the ingredient will be used for interesting food fusions.

Alt-flours

The regional bread basket has become more exciting with alternative grains and flours being in vogue. When did sattu become a national staple? The Bihari — and to some extent Bengali — flour has literally broken barriers and made its way into every other household pantry thanks to its nutritional value. Similarly, ragi and bajra flours have become a regular feature in kitchens across the nation and not just where they have been used traditionally, like in southern and western India. Ragi is a great source of calcium and works wonderfully for people following vegan diets. Both bajra and ragi (also called nachni) are healthier alternatives to wheat or white flour and perfect with those with a gluten intolerance.

Ingredients galore

The spice and condiments rack has expanded with many experiments happening across states. Some ingredients that were regarded exotic in some parts and staple in others — kokum, gunpowder, poppy seeds, hemp seeds, mustard paste — are a norm and not an exception in any part of the country.

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