Varanasi Goojha And More Dishes Older Than India’s Constitution
Image Credit: Padoliwali Dal/ Facebook-Iktara

The Preamble to the Constitution of India came into effect from January 26th, 1950 but having that there are dishes and recipes that are older than history that lay the foundation of India’s culinary graph. Celebrating each day with some great food and keeping our food history and heritage intact, there could be no better way to pay ode to India. 

Let’s take a look at few dishes dipped in history. 

Varanasi Goojha – Benaras or Varanasi as we know happens to be the oldest city in the world known to mankind and those who have visited here know the richness that the city holds in terms of food from the kachori to lassi; each dish speaks for themselves. One such dish is Varanasi Goojha; the stuffed and steamed lentil dumplings from UP which looks very similar to gujiya. This gooja takes time and effort and creating this to perfection is an art. Stuffed with lentils  it is also called fara (singular) or Farey. This goojha can either be steamed on a  steamer plate or boiled in water like any other dumplings. Steaming makes it soft from outside keeping the inside flavours intact

Raoh (Ganne) ki Kheer – A speciality of Punjab and some parts of UP, Raoh Ki Kheer (Sugar cane juice kheer) mostly made during summer kheer sees sugarcane juice, rice. This gluten free kheer sees a very distinct unique taste. Rice and sugarcane juice are cooked together and the sugar cane juice provides a great texture to the kheer. Raoh Ka hheer from Punjab is called Lucknow ki Rasawal too.

Pootharekulu – This sweet from Andhra, specially made in Atreyapuram Village, is made with thin layers of rice flour stuffed with sugar or jaggery powder mixed with dry fruits. The sweet gets its name Pootharekulu from two words ‘Pootha’ meaning coating and ‘Rekulu’ meaning sheet. Also known as Paper Sweet the layers are thinner than that of Baklava. Making this dessert need finesse and training and this village ahs been making it for ages.

Padoliwali Dal – This comfort dal dish is cooked low & slow. Mostly cooked in Gujarat, this one see mixed lentils. To make this one has to soak the dal for few hours and then wash it properly to be cooked. Cooked in a “padoli” this dish get’s it’s name from there. This rustic mixed dal that has been slow cooked is then tempered with chunky onions, tomatoes, garlic and ginger. 

Ragi Satva – Also known as Nachni-che-Satv, this Goan Ragi pudding sees more of the Konkani origin. ‘Nachni’ in Konkani is ragi. Also known as ‘ragi halwa’ this is very healthy and extremely nutritious dessert. High nutrition this pudding is either served during breakfast or in evening. A Goan Delicacy made with finger millet and coconut milk is one of the best vegan Indian desserts to try.

Patoleo – Very similar to Enduri pitha from Odisha the Goan version is called Patoleo where the rice flour dough is stuffed with jaggery and coconut and then wrapped in turmeric leave. These sweet steamed rice cakes that sees a hint of turmeric flavour is mostly made during any festival. Turmeric leaves are great for their medical values. 

These few dishes and more like Butter Chicken or Dal Makhani that has travelled far and wide complete the food graph of India, It’s time we celebrate them.