Traditional Authentic Recipes of India requires a renascence.


BY CHEF REETU UDAY KUGAJI, she is presently working as a Program Head – Culinary Arts, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh at the ITM- Institute of Hotel Management, Nerul, Navi Mumbai. 

With 20 years of experience in the world of culinary, I believe that food is like oxygen to me. Food for me is God.

Indian cuisine includes a wide variety of regional and traditional cuisines inherent to India. Indubitably India is a paradise of various kinds of cuisines and foods beginning from the fragrant and scrumptious curries to the Kebabs, Tikkas, and Biryanis. The Herbs and spices are the most used in every kitchen to spice up the curries. A unique combination of all the techniques and old traditional methods of cooking with an incorporation of the most enchanted spices makes it worth for Visitors and tourists from all over the world to get a marvelous food experience.

But as time has flown, so are most of the authentic recipes of India. The actual feel of Indian cuisine is evaporating from India itself. Are the Authentic Traditional Indian recipes disappearing???? The answer is yes.

Reasons are varied right from the busy schedule, fast foods and technology which includes time-saving processes and ready to eat foods to some extent. Chefs owe to the generations coming in to bring back the Lost Recipes of India.

Definitely, it can be done by incorporating the various technique’s, methods and not to forget the authentic recipes in the curriculum of culinary students.

Taking you along, to the various recipes that we have forgotten by giving a few examples as there are many recipes that are forgotten and needs to be restored.

Parinde mein parinda (Uttar Pradesh )

A lot of work goes into the pre-preparation of this dish. It requires lots of patience to prepare this as the flavors have to be beautifully entrapped into it. It is an execution of the bigger roast, that was basically made with the whole camel, stuffed with much smaller animals, one inside the other, till the smallest cavity fills up with a boiled egg. It was made with duck, chicken, quail and a boiled egg. Each bird was prepared and marinated separately and differently. The flavor of each is retained so the person consuming it will experience the aroma and flavors to the best.

Zameen doz (Awadhi)

The term Zameen doz means “Inside Earth” in Urdu. This fish dish is cooked by burying it under the ground and was traditionally prepared by itinerant hunters and nomads. With time people have forgotten this authentic cooking style and have adopted faster methods of cooking ignoring the fact that we are not only damaging our own Indian cuisine but also are not introducing to the generations coming with the rich treasure of our very own Indian Cuisine.

Pathar Ke Kebab (Hyderabad)

Succulent Kebabs made with tender lamb, marinated to impart flavors and cooked over a Stone (Pathar)which is heated over a bed of live Charcoal.

Phulkari Pulao (Punjab)

Prepared with rich four different varieties of Rice. Aromatic and full of flavors.

Lehsun ki Kheer ( Rajasthan)

 Lehsun ki Kheer from Rajasthan calls for a chef’s skills to carefully use alum water to remove the prominent and dominating pungent flavor and odour of garlic. A delicacy that requires an applaud.

Aktori (Himachal Pradesh)

A sweet delicacy prepared on special occasions. A cake made with buckwheat mixed with wheat.Likewise, we have thousands of traditional Indian recipes that have almost vanished.

Sadly, food innovations have become a fashion statement and we are forgetting the original ethnic Indian cuisine.

As a Program Head- Culinary Arts, Chef and mentor to thousands of budding chefs , I have tried my bit of introducing the lost recipes of India in our Queen Margaret University module known as Culinary Concept Development and Production where I encourage students to bring back the lost recipes of India.

This not only creates awareness among the budding chefs but when they go ahead with their extensive research, they are facing mind-boggling facts like what a vast and rich treasure we have in Indian Cuisine.

Positively the coming generations will bring back the lost recipes of India , the authentic flavor’s and fragrance as India’s colonial legacy is food.

But it makes us immensely proud to be born in a Country like INDIA , where we all consider food to be GOD.

 A few names require a special mention

Chef Imtiaz Qureshi- Master of Dum, the first chef to win a Padma Shri for his contribution to Indian Cuisine.

Chef Satish Arora- A Chef Extraordinaire, his passion for food saw him spearhead a revolution in Indian restaurant cuisine. His dishes involved essentials of home cooking whilst also adapting regional Indian food.

Chef Parvinder Singh Bali is also an author of many books that are a guideline and an inspiration to many budding chefs. His book Quantity Food Production Operations and Indian Cuisine won the best book from India in the World Gourmand Awards.

Chef Osama Jalali is the food writer, critic and food festival curator, he has passionately helped luxury hotels revive old Delhi cuisine.

Chef Aditya Bal who has been on NDTV Good Times the most celebrated anchor-chefs on Chakh Le India, the most popular food show on the channel. He had recently hosted the ‘Lost Recipes of India’ show by Epic Channel, which dealt with the discovery of dishes that have died out in various parts of the country.

 I take this opportunity to thank all the chefs who are working tirelessly to bring back the forgotten recipes of India.

 With lots of positivity and confidence looking forward to bringing back the lost recipes of India, lots of best wishes to all the budding chefs Good luck and God bless!!!!!