Some with a patriarchal mindset may say that women should be confined to four walls but this misogynist thought has been kicked off by several women out there. Right from acclaimed television actresses to successful entrepreneurs, women have left their mark in every field. Though times have changed and urban and working-class women reject the culture of asking but taking what they want, the situation might be different in rural and remote areas. 

In rural pockets of the country, it is still believed that the only place where women belong, is the kitchen. Those women are still fighting for their visibility but amid their battle, they have realized their worth and potential of changing the world. They have been leaving no stone unturned when it comes to grabbing opportunities for livelihood. Fighting many such obstacles and hurdles on their way, these women have paved their way for success and financial stability. 

Chhattisgarh is a tribal-dominated state in the country, best known for many reasons including its rich cuisine. Taking its popularity to the next well, women across the state have been running “Garh Kalewa”, a restaurant that serves authentic Chhattisgarhi food. Not only the cooking but the restaurant’s financial affairs are also managed by the women only. With the support of the state government, several women self-help groups have been running ‘Garh Kalewas’ in different parts of the state. It is not just about the taste but the prices as the food is dirt cheap. 

Well, the idea behind this initiative is a dream with a bigger thought of making Chhattisgarhi cuisine famous not only in the country but in the world. While promoting the local food, another objective was to create a source of income for rural women so that they can earn their livelihood and live a better life. At ‘Garh Kalewa’, right from designing the interior, to crafting the menu and cooking the food, every single job is done by women which is no less than an inspiration.  

It is a known fact that every culture has a unique set of food. Whenever we have idli or dosa, we are straight taken to South India and when we talk of Rosogulla, we cannot stop but think of West Bengal. Be it kebabs of Lucknow or Pizza from Italy, it was the local tribe who made their cuisines world famous. But there is hardly any food item that could be associated with Chhattisgarh even now. To overcome this and to stand out like other states, ‘Garh Kalewa’ was started in the year 2016. Since then, there is no looking back. 

Self-help group member Khemeshwari Sahu, associated with the idea of ‘Garh Kalewa’ said that nowadays, people are driving more towards junk or chemical-based food leading to major health issues including cancer. On the other hand, Chhattisgarhi food offered at ‘Garh Kalewa’ is fresh and healthy. Right from having a huge variety of snacks, they have also desi beverages that are not only rich in taste but also in nutritional value.  

 Being a traditional restaurant, ‘Garh Kalewa’ manages to give a village-like ambiance by having arts portraying their rich culture. It is based on an open-air concept with no use of walls and bricks. Though it has some covered places, a major part of it is an open space to eat. Let us know what can we get at this authentic ‘Garh Kalewa’

Chawal Chila 

If you have been to Chhattisgarh even once, you would know what we are talking about. It is a traditional dish of the state served with tomato chutney and coriander chutney. Though looks like Dosa, it is made up of rice flour. The rice flour is mixed with water, spices are added, and then it is poured on a tawa just like dosa with a few drops of oil. 


It is a rice-based starter that I personally have not seen anywhere but in Chhattisgarh. For this delicacy, rice is cooked and mashed to make a dough. Thereafter, it is shaped and steamed. Later on, fried with red chili and seasoned with sesame seeds, the dish is served along with green chutney or tomato sauce. It is a very basic and simple dish but the seasoning of sesame seeds, adds a richer taste and crispness to the dish. 


Chauselas are puris made from rice and are a very important part of Chhattisgarhi cuisine. Now, you might think why is every single dish made up of rice, right? This is because Chhattisgarh is known as ‘Dhan ka katora’ and thus, most of the recipes contain rice as the main ingredient. Chausela can be served with a Sabji or even chutney. 

They also offer beverages like Lassi, Aam Pana, Lemon juice, etc to serve your tongue and belly. They offer desserts like Malpua and Moti Chur k Laddu which need no introduction.  

                   Image credits: Instagram/bilaspurfoodlove/hamar_food


Thali is a small word for a platter but holds utmost significance when we talk of Indian food habits. It comprises several dishes and even the platter varies from state to state. Just like in South India the food is served on a banana leaf, copper plates are used in ‘Garh Kalewa’. The list of benefits of eating on a copper plate has been long. It brings wellness to the health and promotes red blood cell development, strengthens bones, and regulates the thyroid gland.  

This thali has:

  • Rice (Healthier because they are boiled and made starch free) 
  • Dal 
  • Kadhi 
  • Cucumber 
  • Vegetable curry 
  • Dry seasonal saag or greens 
  • Chapatti 

Trust me, these dishes might look simple but their taste will make you a fan. Kudos to those who fought the obstacles on their way and are onto making a distinct identity of themselves by serving these mouthwatering delicacies and promoting their culture. 

Let us know if you have come across any such restaurant or eatery run by women or have an interesting and inspiring story behind it.