Bundelkhand (बुन्देलखण्ड)… region located nearly at center of heartland of India…Where I was born and brought-up.
Something about Bundelkhand Food…
Local Bundelkhand food is very simple. The raw material used in all preparations belong to the region but there are a few exceptions as well. Usage of wheat, rice (small and big grain), Sorghum, millet, gram / split gram can be seen. Red chilies, cumin seeds, mustard seeds as spices; local oil or purified butter (ghee) as fat; coriander as condiment; potato, tomato, onion, garlic, ginger, egg plant, green leafs, mango, wood apple etc as veggies can be seen. In fruits… ber बेर (berries), mahua, guava, mango, Bel बेल (Aegle marmelos), sitafal सीताफल (custard apple), jamun जामुन, banana etc can also be seen. Usage of milk, Khoa खोआ (cousin of ricotta cheese), Besan बेसन (gram flour) and Aata आटा (wheat flour) in sweets. Mewa मेवा (Dry fruit) commonly used is Chironji चिरोंजी (Buchanania lanzan). During last four decades I have seen pan-Indian as well as global grocery seeping in Bundelkhand food culture yet authenticity prevails in certain pockets.
Migrants from neighboring states have also brought their cuisines and the effect of those cuisines got mingled with local cuisine in last many decades. These days it is very easy to find pan-Indian as well as desi-global cuisine in Bundelkhand region but it is very difficult to find authentic Bundelkhand food.
While the breakfast was typically called Kalewa कलेवा; the dinner was called Byari ब्यारी; well these words are past now and rarely in usage in urban and semi-urban areas (I distinctly remember these words my maternal-granny referring it for grandpa).
Marriage ceremonies were absolute fun and food frenzy. The functions used to last at least 4 to 5 days and everyday there used to be Pangat (पंगत). I have seen two types of Pangat namely Kachchi (कच्ची) and Pakki (पक्की) Pangat. While the Kachchi Pangat had Dal-Chawal, Roti, Kadhi-Pakodi, Papad, Udad Dal Bara and some side preparation; Pakki Pangat had Puri, dry and wet vegetables, pickles, chutney, salad, sweets etc. Ground seating arrangement and eating on plates and bowls made from local leafy plant Chyola or Sal. All were required to start at same time and finish at same time. Getting up during the act was strictly forbidden.
Certain eating habits were always in practice within our family (it was regarding what to eat and what not to eat in different times of year / season). Probably it was due to popular belief of forefathers based on what they were thought or learnt from elders. It might also have had some relationship with what was available in plenty during season and also may be health issues related to something eaten off-season.
Since I come from pure vegetarian community and non vegetarian food was totally forbidden while I was growing up; I could never experience or taste non vegetarian food during early days and will not be covering it here. Though I see many Chefs of esteemed 5 star hotels at times / regularly prepare and serve Bundelkhand non vegetarian food involving local chicken bread called Kadaknath, fish and goat meat.
About my Bundelkhand Food Journey…
I have very fond memories of food savored during childhood. It was almost always home cooked over coal fired stove, pure vegetarian and had a rustic / country touch. Every recipe had special touch of aunt or granny who prepared it.
The gen-next is moving out globally. Gradually the recipes are going out of practice (as I can see at local home kitchens as well as home away from home kitchens).
Recently; me and one of my childhood friends (happens to be a #Foodie) decided to rejuvenate those forgotten recipes with intention to bring them in limelight again.
I have asked many of my friends (who belong to the region) about what they remember or know about local food but unfortunately very few of them could recall the details.
It is very difficult to understand why gen-next (I am also part of it) is not interested to take the recipes forward.
We needed to go back to “the roots” and ask elders in the family also extended family; got the details about recipes and started experimenting.
Study was also done referring to books and journals related to Bundelkhand History and Culture to arrive at what Authentic Bundelkhand food is all about.
It is our humble attempt to rejuvenate those Forgotten Recipes of Bundelkhand. I will be posting detailed preparation gradually.
I am not claiming that these are the originals but this is what was in practice in recent past (last 4 decades at least) at Bundelkhand.
1. Bafauri (बफौरी): Steam cooked flat bread pieces of millet or gram flour. Tossed with saute spices and condiments.
2. Nighauna (निघौना): Wet preparation made from saute green gram (hara chana) paste with spices and condiments.
3. Meeda (मीड़ा): Wet preparation made from tiny pieces of Gram flour saute/roasted in oil and cooked in thin tomato base gravy with spices and condiments.
4. Ras Kheer (रस खीर): Pudding made from sugarcane juice and rice.
5. Besan Ke Aaloo (बेसन के आलू): Gram flour chunks cooked in boiling water then saute using spices and condiments.
6. Fara (फरा): Wheat floor flat bread cooked in boiling water.
7. Adraini (अद्रेनी): Deep fried flat bread prepared from specific proportions of wheat flour and gram flour and certain spices.
8. Dalbhajiya (दलभजीया): wet preparation made from lentils and one or more green leafy vegetable.
9. Thopa (थोपा): Flatbread pieces made from gram flour (बेसन ) paste cooked with spices and condiments.
10. Bari Ki Chatni (बरी की चटनी): Dry and spicy chutney made from fried Bari/Badi with condiments.
11. Puri Ke Laddu (पूड़ी के लडडू): Basically dry dessert made from Puris made of gram flour (Besan) and jaggery (Gud) or sugar.
12. Maheri (महेरी): Slow cooked crushed millet with buttermilk (Mahi).
13. Krar (करार): Wet preparation made form soaked Mung Dal paste cooked with buttermilk (Mahi) and specific spices.
14. Mande (मांडे): Flat bread made of cake flour (Menda) and made over earthen pan.
15. Erse / Anse (एरसे / आंसे): Deep fried sweet flat bread made from rice flour and jaggery (Gud).
16. Lapta (लपटा): Thick wet preparation made form gram flour and spices.
17. Hingora (हिंगोरा): It is wet preparation (Kadhi) made from gram flour (Besan)with generous usage of asafoetida but no use of buttermilk (Mahi).
18. Anwariya (आंवरिया): It is wet preparation (Kadhi) made from gram flour (Besan)with usage of paste of saute gooseberry (Anwala), spices and condiments again no use of butter milk (Mahi). The sourness comes form gooseberry.
19 Thomar (ठोमर): Slow cooked crushed millet with water. Just like porridge (Daliya).
20. Thadula (ठड़ूला):Deep fried flat bread made from udad dal (lentil). Laced with condiments like ginger, garlic, red chilli etc.
21. Duveri (दुवेरी/डुबरी): made from mahua flowers boiled with water and dry-fruits added.
22. Kachumar (कचूमर):Citation needed for confirmation but as per my information it is made using finely chopped onion and raw mango (other variants are also there using other veggies) and other condiments.
23. Masela (मसेला):preparation made from seeds of bean close to Guar with spices.
24. Bijora (बिजौरा): sundried ready to fry flat thick cakes made from sesame, white pumpkin, lentils, ginger, green chilli.
25. Kachria (कचरिया): spiced and sundried sections of wild melon.
26. Kumhde ki kheer (कुम्हड़े की खीर): Pudding made using Red pumpkin and milk.
27. Guna (गुना): made from gram flour. Recipe from Jhansi.
28. Khalsa (खाकड़ा): Crispy deep fried snack made from cake flour (maida).
29. Paerakhe / Peraka (पैराखे): colourful gujhiya (stuffed deep-fried sweet snack).
30. Lata (लटा): made by crushing roasted mahua flowers along with charoli (चिरोंजी) and other dry fruits.
31: Murka (मुरका): made from mahua flowers.
32: Goras Pachiyau (गौरस पछियाऊ): type of pudding made using milk and vermicelli.
33. Bara (बरा): made from soaked ground udad dal. Deep fried and further soaked in crushed mustard seeds laced water for long. Develops pungent smell and tang.
34. Bari (बरी): Sun dried and typically made during winters. Made from soaked ground udad dal, white pumpkin, spices like red chilli, ginger and asafoetida. Long survival if stored in cool and dry place used later with lentils, curried vegetables like potato, brinjal/eggplant etc.
35. Rasajen Salted (रसाजें नमकीन): made from gram flour and gravy.
36. Rasajen Sweet (रसाजें मीठी): made from cake flour and milk.
37. Lapsi (लप्सी): Sweet preparation made from water chestnut flour and jaggery / sugar.
38. Ghenghur (घेंघुर): citation needed
39. Kheench (खींच): Citation needed. I am aware of Khichla which is one of the preparations that belongs Jain community of Bundelkhand.
40. Birchun (बिरचून): Made from crushed sun dried jujube (बेर) and spices
41. Badhai (बढ़ई): Made using Udad dal, rice and wheat flour (citation confirmation needed)
42. Kentha chutney (केंथा चटनी): Wood apple chutney. Two versions I am aware of. One is sweet-dour-hot and the other one is sour-hot. Both were popular in resent past.
43. Luchai (लुचई): Commonly known as Puri also. Wheat flour, deep fried flatbread.
44. Tarkari (तरकारी): Referred for wet vegetable curries.
45. Gakariya (गकरिआ): Small spherical balls of wheat flour. Slow cooked by burring them under mild heat of burnet coal / wood / cow dung cakes.
46. Chane Ki Bhaji (चने की भाजी): Dry vegetable made using chickpea / gram plant leaves when they are young.
हमे बहुत प्रसन्नता होगी यदि आप बुंदेलखंड के जायके को आगे बढ़ाते हैं ; पर यहां दिए गए व्यंजनों और उनको बनाने के तरिके की नकल करके अपने नाम से पुनः प्रकाशित करने से बचें | ये एक अनैतिक कृत्य है| आप बेशक इसे पुनः प्रकाशित कर सकते हैं; बशर्ते आप लेखक के नाम और उसकी वेबसाइट का उल्लेख करें।
We will be delighted and happy if you use, prepare and take forward Bundelkhand food and recipes. Please avoid copy-paste and re-publishing of text and material given here under your name. It is unethical. You can surely republish it giving credit to the author and mentioning his website.
Recipes in detail…
Bafauri appears derived from Bundelkhandi lingo where Bafana stands for steam cook. It is a good quick snack but needs little higher efforts. It is as good as freshly made pasta.
Time required: under 60 minutes (start to finish)
Serves 3 adults
Required for Bafauri…
Jwar (sorghum) flour- 200 gm
Salt- to taste
Warm water- to prepare dough
Pot, mesh/strainer, lid (see picture)
Required for Sauté or Frying…
Garlic cloves- 8 to 10 (peeled and finely chopped)
Green chilli- 2 (de seeded and finely chopped)
Dry red chilli- 2 (crushed)
Ginger- 1 inch (peeled and finely chopped)
Green Coriander- to taste (roughly chopped)
Oil – as you like it but enough to saute the spices
Mustard seeds – as you like it (quarter tea spoon)
Put pot on gas stove, add water, put mesh on top and cover with lid. Let it boil to produce decent amount of steam for cooking.
Take the flour in a big plate, add warm water and prepare dough with consistency similar to that of chapati/roti dough. Leave some floor aside for dusting while rolling.
Keep the dough aside, flip the same large plate, dust with remaining floor and divide the dough in equal portions (this will depend on what size you can roll and how much you can steam in one go). Put the dough portion on dusted plate and start rolling using hands or rolling pin (caution… difficult to roll dough without breaking and sticking). Keep rolling till the thickness is about 3 to 4 millimetres (slightly thicker when compared to chapati/roti). Slice the rolled dough in to strips (moderate not very narrow or very broad).
By now, the water in the pot must be steaming and there will be lots steam between mesh and lid. Just spread the strips and cover and let it steam for about 10 minutes (check the status after 5 minutes and toss/shake them for even all around cooking). Remove then when you are sure the stuff is cooked and store them in a covered pot preventing moisture loss (kept open; it dries up quickly).
Start making next batch of strips.
Once done; take a flat wok and heat it. Add oil and let mustered seeds crackle will they start giving nice somewhat burnet fragrance. Add garlic, ginger, crushed red chillies, finely chopped green chillies. Sauté till garlic releases fragrance.
Add steamed strips. Wok-toss / stir for some time till all are covered properly with the oil and masala.
Remove from heat, plate them, garnish with chopped coriander. Eat hot and fresh.
Reheating… microwave them in a closed container (don’t forget to sprinkle some water and mix well before heating).
Twist of taste…
This preparation can also be done using rice flour.
Tastes good with coriander-chili chutney having a dash of lemon juice.
You can also try it with Kashundi (Bengali mustard sauce), Sauce, Peanut chutney etc.
Nighauna or Nimauna (निघौना / निमौना)
One may contest about where this preparation belongs to but I have been eating this since childhood at Bundelkhand. I am not very sure about derivation of word. It is simple and gravy type preparation.
Popular during winters when green gram is available.
Time required: under 60 minutes (start to finish)
Serves 3-4 adults
Required for Nighauna or Nimauna …
Green gram seeds 250 gm
Ginger 1.0 to 1.5 inch (finely crushed/chopped)
Garlic cloves 5 to 6 (finely crushed/chopped)
Green chilli 1 to 2 (finely crushes/chopped or in 2-3 pieces)
Potato 1 big (boiled and mashed)
Cumin seeds as you like it (15-20)
Garam Masala as you like it for fragrance and taste (half tea spoon)
Turmeric powder as you like it for some yellow touch and taste (half tea spoon)
Salt to taste
Oil as you like it but must be enough to fry the spices and rest of the stuff properly
Coriander leaves for garnish
Heat little oil in pan and dry-fry green grams till they are cooked decently and change color a bit (rawness goes away). Remove from heat and let cool. Rough / coarse grind in mixer. Keep it aside.
Heat little oil in pan and crackle cumin seeds.
Add half ginger, garlic, green chili and saute.
Add potato mesh, ground green gram and stir a bit.
Add turmeric and remaining ginger, mix well.
Add garam masala and mix well.
Cook for 2-3 minutes till masala is done.
Add remaining half ginger, garlic, green chili but do not cook further.
Add coarse grind gram seeds which are already ready.
Add salt to taste.
Add sufficient quantity of water till you achieve thick gravy consistency.
Let it boil and put on low heat for 2-3 minutes.
Remove from heat; garnish with coriander. Serve hot.
It goes well with Roti / Chapati / Rice.
Twist of taste…
Tastes good with dash of lemon juice.
Instead of green gram; you can use fresh green peas as well.
You may not use garlic if you do not eat and the preparation will taste slightly different but good!
Ras Kheer (रस खीर)
Ras stands for juice and Kheer is Pudding. It is a dessert.
Very simple preparation and takes very less time.
Time required: under 60 minutes (start to finish)
Serves 5-6 adults
Required for Ras Kheer…
Sugarcane juice 750 ml (fresh, without any adding like lemon or ginger)
Long grain aromatic rice; one can use normal aromatic rice as well 100 gm (washed and soaked 1 Hr)
Cardamom 3-4 (finely ground along with cover)
Buchanania lanzan (Chiraunji nuts) 2 tea spoonful
Almonds 5 (finely chopped)
Put decent size vessel with sugarcane juice on high heat. Add water soaked rice. Keep stirring till it boils. Reduce the heat and keep cooking till rice is done. Add cardamom and Chiraunji/Charoli. Remove from heat and let it cool. Keep it in the fridge to settle for some time. Garnish with chopped almonds. Serve cold.
Made with mahi (buttermilk); if broadly said.
Crushed Sorghum about a cup, slow cooked with 4 to 5 times quantity of buttermilk on simmer.
Once done; the consistency will be little thinner that that of porridge. Add salt or eat as is with or without some condiments; it is one of the healthiest option to eat.
Finish fresh because if kept overnight; it has a tendency to ferment.
You may use other thick grains as well.
Preparing Tomar (ठोमर) is also similar ; just replace buttermilk with water.
Hingora (हिंगोरा) –
Very similar to Kadhi (कढ़ी) but without buttermilk.
Take little proportion of besan and desolve it in huge quantity of water.
Crackle mustard seeds and broken red chilli in oil in a wok/pan. Add asafoetida and pinch of turmeric powder. Quickly add the besan water mix. Bring to boil till consistency is decent. If thick ; add water.
Garnish and serve. Goes well with rice or chapati.
Make dough of wheat flour (ata) and gram flour (besan) taken in equal proportion. Add Ajwain, Cumin Seeds, Salt, Asfoetida, dash of oil as well. You may add a dash of suji (rawa) to have crispiness.
Make flat breads of small size and keep aside. Heat oil in the wok and fry them thill golden brown.
Serve hot with tomato chutney. To make tomato chutney you need 4 tomatoes, one inch ginger, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, red chilli powder, salt, sugar and oil. Heat the oil and fry cumin, fennel seeds and crushed gingr. Add chopped tomatoes. Saute till they become paste like. Add sugar, salt and red chilli powder. Cook further for a while and remove from heat.
Besan Ke Aloo (बेसन के आलू)
It may look and sound similar to Gatte Ki Sabji / गट्टे की सब्ज़ी (which is a famous prepration from rajasthan) but it is not. It is different and has different taste.
Gooseberries 2 nos, Gram flour 2 3 cups, Salt , Oil, termaric powder, water to boil aloo
Onion 1,Tomato 1, ginger 1 inch, garlic 5 pods, green chilli 1, dried red chilli 1, coriander handful, salt, mustard seeds 1 tsp, asafoetida, red chilli powder, coriander seed powder, turmeric powder.
Gooseberries / आंवला grated and sauté till well done then converted in to paste, mixed with Gram flour / बेसन, slat, oil, turmeric powder and then mended together to soft consistency dough.
Balls are made which are not very big in size, put in boiling water till they start floating, strained and post cooling, cut in to pieces like potatoes. Saute till golden in oil for case hardening and kept aside.
Pan heated and oil added, mustard seeds crackled till well done fragrance appear. Broken Red Chilli and asafoetida added.
Finely chopped onion, garlic, ginger, green chilli added and sauté till translucent.
Tomatoes added and stired till they melt.
All masala and salt added and cooked further. Water added to achieve desired thinness of gravy. Garnished with coriander.
Very simple and wholesome single preparation which goes well along with roti and rice. There are two versions of the recipe which I know and had in the past (there can be many because there are many leafy vegetables are available across Bundelkhand).
Take Mung Dal 3 portions, Udad Dal 1 portion, Spinach (Palak) 2 portions, turmeric and salt. Pressure cook them till Dal is done properly. Remove from heat and keep aside to cool.
Finely chop ginger, green chilli and tomatoes. Heat the pan and put purified butter (ghee). Crackle mustard and cumin seeds. Add asafoetida. Add chopped veggies and saute till done. Add dal and let it boil for 2 minutes. Serve hot with coriander garnish.
Take Udad Dal 1 portion and Gram leaves (Chana Bhaji) 1 proration, turmeric and salt. Pressure cook them till Dal is done properly. Remove from heat and keep aside to cool.
Finely chop garlic, green chilli and tomatoes. Heat the pan and put oil. Crackle cumin seeds. Add asafoetida. Add chopped veggies and saute till done. Add dal and let it boil for 2 minutes. Serve hot with coriander garnish.
This preparation is almost like Kadhi (कढ़ी) but made without buttermilk (मही /छाछ) and for tang; gooseberries are used.
Both; sun-dried as well as fresh gooseberries can be used. The difference between two will be the resultant color of preparation. It will be dull yellow when fresh gooseberries are used but it will be blackish-green when dried gooseberries are used.
Finely crushed gooseberries are taken and saute in oil/ghee and kept aside.
Gram flour (बेसन) is mixed in generous proportion of water along with turmeric and salt.
Gooseberries paste is mixed and the liquid is cooked till it is done.
The preparation is topped up with Tadka which is prepared using oil, mustard seeds, whole red chilli, red chilli powder, curry leaves. Garnish is done with fresh coriander leaves.
Preparaiton goes well with roti / rice.
Wood apple (केंथा) chutney
Rare to find commodity in metros but not impossible to get during season.
Wood apple is broken, pulp extracted and de-seeded.
Coriander, green chilli, coriander seed power, salt and sugar (as per need) ground together and mixed in the pulp.
Green chilies, garlic, salt pounded together in pestle and mortar and then mixed with pulp.
Sundried ready to fry flat thick slices made from white sesame, white pumpkin, lentils, ginger, green chilli and spices. Available commercially in Bundelkhand region.
Further… coming soon!
Saurabh & Smita Chaturvedi Vimla Richariya Tiwari
Manjula Rawat Nayak Vipra Gangele Tiwari
Bharti-Mamta-Suman Sullere Pratibha Pateriya Gangele
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