Khoja Community Keeps Heritage Dishes Alive With Bajra Lassan And Masoor Pulao
- Aishwarya Khanna
Updated : January 20, 2022 05:01 IST
Khoja cuisine has many Gujarati and Irani influences too, but above all, it has similarities with Bohri cuisine.
The Khoja Ismaili community hails from the state of Gujarat, India. The people also settled in East Africa, the Caribbean, and North America. The cuisine of the Khoja community was taken westward by the refugees who fled from East Africa and settled down in Canada and UK.
Like all other regional cuisines, the food is clubbed under one generic term: South Asian cooking. As the Khoja community has a fractured past owing to the turbulences which arose due to migration from one homeland to another, the essence of the cuisine is not well-understood yet. The people carry it in their memory and heart. Due to the vast amount of misinformation out there, it is considered to be synonymous with North Indian cuisine like dal makhani and kebabs.
However, Khoja community is doing spectacularly well in Bombay. The people who practice Khoja cooking are Muslims from the Shia sect of Islam. Khoja cuisine has many Gujarati and Irani influences too, but above all, it has similarities with Bohri cuisine. The Khojas in Bombay are a liberal community and enjoy foods that have some interesting flavors. For instance, they are fond of bhindi grilled sandwiches, masoor pulao, and a quintessential Khoja dish called bajra lassan, which is crushed bajra roti that is smoked with ghee, and eaten with a side of dahi and baingan ka bharta. For dessert, they love a treat made with chestnut and wheat flour and sprinkled with jaggery. There is also something known as 'hara' masala, which is used in Khoja cuisine. It is made of coriander, chili, garlic, ginger, and oil. It is a versatile ingredient used to make many curries, stews, and vegetables!
As our cultures intermingle with each other in our increasingly globalized world, we often mix up the facts about heritage dishes. Some of these dishes can easily be dubbed as fusion dishes, but they are true to their roots.