Fans of Indian food may recognise the fact that the umbrella term of ‘Indian cuisine’ actually refers to a wide variety of culinary traditions, all brought to the sub-continent by different cultures. Each of these cuisines bring something special to the Indian table whilst many have distinctive characteristics that mark them out from the rest. Take, for example, the rich, spiced meats of Punjabi cuisine, or the creamy, coconut curries of the Keralan kitchen. It is this blend of different cuisines that makes Indian fare so appealing to a wide range of tastes.
The cuisine of the Bhojpuri originates with the agricultural communities that inhabit the north Indian states of Bihar, Orissa, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. The Bhojpuri region is the home of India’s most sacred city, Varanasi, a destination located on the banks of the River Ganges and one which holds great spiritual significance amongst the Hindu population.
Bhojpuri cuisine was designed to fuel the agricultural workers who toiled tirelessly in the fields of the region. The dishes are often high in carbohydrates to provide energy for the hard manual labour that has traditionally been a part of daily life in this region.
Foodstuffs that are high in this sort of energy, and are therefore a popular choice in the Bhojpuri kitchen, include sattu, a concoction of pulses and cereal, ground together and added to a variety of drinks and dishes.
A traditional Bhojpuri meal is likely to consist of a portion of fluffy rice, a warming dal, a fresh roti and a vegetable-based stew. The vegetable preparations of Bhojpuri cuisine tend towards stews rather than curries – the curry leaf is not utilised as much here as in other parts of India. Potato-based dishes such as aloo matar or dum aloo are popular, whilst the rich, red kidney bean recipe, rajma, is an easy-to-prepare household staple.
In fact, the majority of Bhojpuri dishes require fuss-free preparation. Even speciality festival dishes such as the tasty kahribari, dumplings smothered in sauce, and gurma, a sweet mango dish soaked in sugar, flour and spice, are relatively simple to create.
As you might imagine for a people whose life and culture are based around farming the fields, snacks are particularly important to keep energy levels up throughout the day. Again, sattu is a popular choice or a crispy, deep-fried snack of mashed potato and onions also keeps hunger at bay nicely.
Bhojpuri cuisine is just one side to the multi-dimensional culinary tradition of India. Visit one of London’s best Indian fine dining restaurants and treat yourself to an Indian feast based on authentic recipes and flavours from all over the sub-continent. From north India to the southern states, these establishments take inspiration from the choicest dishes on the Indian menu, sprucing them up with a contemporary twist and changing the options frequently to take advantage of quality, seasonal ingredients. Whether it’s a succulent meat dish, tempting seafood curry or flavoursome vegetarian recipe you are craving, you are guaranteed to find something that satisfies for your lunch or evening meal.