Cutchi Memon; A Lesser-Known Cuisine From The Kutch Region
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If you have travelled the length and breathe of India, you would never fall short of variety of flavours that the country has to offer. Apart from all the common and well-known cuisines that the country sees there are many cuisines that are hidden and lesser known like the Mappila cuisine, Dogri cuisine, Kathiawadi cuisine and so on. One such cuisine is food and flavours of Kochi Kutchi Memons. 

History Of Cutchi/ Kutchi Memons

The Cutchi/ Kutchi Memons are an ethnic group from Kutch in Gujarat who speak the Kutchi language. Finding their roots in the state of Kathiwar (Muslim community of Pakistan and India), they are related to the Memons. Way back centuries ago the Kutchi Memons were originally Hindus who converted to Islam later. This ethnic group though speak Kutchi, their unique customs, and culinary traditions set’s them apart. 

The Food and Flavours

Mostly like any other Muslim community food, even theirs is largely meat-based. The community has safe guarded their recipes and believe in doing so. From Biriyani to korma it’s surely stands out that the regular one any of us might have tasted. From the Cutchi cuisine hare masale gosht ki biryani' to Kichda, sukha goshts, mutton samosas or kebabs, paya and others make for the staple from the cuisine. The food sees a much-balanced flavour which is pretty robust, yet not fiery. The aroma of their food will take your heart away. With most recipes in this group has always been passed down through generations and yes till, even today there are no restaurants serving this cuisine, until few years back when home chefs started to cook it and sell it. 

Courtesy- Rajesh Tara

Understand this less talked about cuisine that sees an Arab influence, you get to see that there’s no real mention of soup or salad here. It’s basically some chopped cucumber that’s it. The food surely sees the use of cloves ginger, turmeric, cinnamon along with tomatoes and yogurt and more.  The clever mix of spices is what set their food apart. As mentioned, that home chefs are taking the charge of making this cuisine popular, it’s names like Sanah Gubitra and Faiziya are doing justice to the food. With most preserving their heirloom recipes with every single tip and trick, the authenticity is surely guaranteed. 

Cookbook author Husna Rahaman whose book “Spice Sorcery” on Kochi Kutchi Memons cuisine explains that Lal Masala Ka Korma, Hara Masala Ka Korma and —tamarind-based Khatta Salan gives the cuisine it’s unique identity also highlighting the fact that all spices are freshly grinded at home. 

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Dishes like Muthia, Naram Khichadi make a regular presence on the table. For the uninitiated Muthia is a dry fish dish that sees the use of pulses like chana, vegetables such as Gawar, peas, potatoes, eggplant and more and along with some Bajre ka atta. These are made into dumplings and then steamed. Talking about kebabs the Kochi Kutchi-Memon cuisine has a wide array of them like Chapli Kebab, Kaccha Kheema Kebab and not to miss the iconic the Nargisi Kebab.  

Talking about desserts their dhoodh  sharbats loaded with almonds and rose water; along with some goondh jo laddoo and gud papadi  and Lapai, a Cutchi Memon dessert that’s made with jaggery and desi ghee along with some saunf (fennel seeds) and a very unique sweet called Ghaas ka Halwa are an all-time favourite. 

Many might not have still tried needs it’s much due recognition. Be it the muthia, korma or the kebabs or the sharbat’s each never fail to enchant the taste buds