Kunal Vijaykar's Tribal Food Trail In Aarey, Know What He Ate?
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Aarey Forest is one of Mumbai’s last green sanctuaries and within the 800-acre forest, a unique ecosystem still thrives. Though under threat from urbanisation, the tribal Adivasi communities within the forest still uphold their ways of life and culture despite an ongoing battle with developers to protect their homes. TV Personality and Food Writer Kunal Vijayakar recently took a trip into the forest to experience the local cuisine as part of his show ‘Khaane Mein Kya Hai’. 

Here’s a look at what was on his plate:


Known as a traditional farmer’s meal for its high nutrition simple ingredients this Maharashtrian curry is made with besan (chickpea flour) that’s mixed with water and spices and then slowly cooked into a thick curry that’s creamy and tangy.

Ambadyachi Chutney

Ambadi or Roselle is a plant that grows abundantly during the monsoons. The leaves and stems are tangy and that flavour transfers over to its bright red and pink flowers. The flowers are often made into pickles and chutneys and used to create sweet and sour chutneys. 

Vaaste Sabzi

Made from wild bamboo shoots, these plants grow in most parts of India, barring the northern reaches like Himachal and Sikkim. As they contain a toxic compound these shoots need to be boiled before consumption, after which they become sweet and astringent and can then be pickled or cooked with. 

Chai Cha Deth with Jawla

Also known as Tambodi Chai, these shoots are classified as an endangered species but are abundantly found in some areas during the monsoons. Once cooked the fronds become crunchy and the leaves turn slightly bitter. In this case, they were mixed with jawla (dried shrimp) for a unique dish that celebrates the forest and the lake.

Image Used For Representational Purposes  

Local Fish 

Vihar Lake is located on the Mithi River inside the confines of Sanjay Gandhi National Park. Although surrounded by urbanisation, it offers a wealth of freshwater marine life and fishing opportunities. On his trip Vijayakar enjoyed a selection of fried silver fish caught fresh from the lake.


Made with jowar or bajra instead of the typical wheat atta, these rotis are coarser and a bit more dense. They offer a hearty addition to any meal and are usually paired with pithla and sabzi for a complete meal.