Skip to main content

Mumbai food: Get a taste of cuisine from Balochistan

By Anju Maskeri

Nov 06, 2016, 11:52 IST

   

Priya Jham was all of 10 when she first tried her hand at preparing the atte ka sheera her mother taught her. “Back then there was no concept of fusion and fancy cuisine. So, the only type of cooking that my mother knew was the traditional Bhagnari, that she picked up while growing up in Karachi,” says Jham, whose parents migrated to Mumbai in 1947, after the Partition. “There would be days when she would head to the market, and I would sneak into the kitchen and start my experiments with dal and aloo fry,” she recalls with a laugh.

That was in 1973. Over 40 years have passed now, but her experimental streak is still intact. Even now, when Jham enters the kitchen, it is to experiment with her repertoire of Bhagnari dishes that have been passed down generations and are savoured to this day at her Mahim home. Items like stuffed aloo tikki with poppy seeds, mutton chops in the traditional Bhagnari masala, which is basically double chops of ribs cooked slowly over low flame for over three hours and finally pan fried, the beh (lotus stem cooked in a clay pot), khatti dal with steamed rice, are delicacies one can probably find in every Bhagnari household, Jham says.


The Bhagnari version of mutton chops. PICS/The Gourmet Food Co 

The Bhagnaris are the original inhabitants of the villages Bhag and Nari in the princely state of Kalat, in the plains of Southern Balochistan. According to statistics, there are approximately 2,500 Bhagnaris living in Mumbai and another 750 settled abroad, mostly in Dubai. Balochistan, being an arid region, dry fruits and meat were intrinsic to its cuisine, says Jham. “As our ancestors came from the northern parts of undivided India and lived mostly in cold climes, their food was cooked with lots of strong spices like red chillies, cardamon, cloves, shah jeera, black pepper, most of which was combined to make the garam masala, as we know it presently. This was to generate more heat within their bodies to prevent themselves from sicknesses like common cold, cough and other ailments.”

Bhagnaris are often confused with Sindhis, but Jham underlines how they are different. “Although we come under the Sindhi sub-caste, our eating habits are very different,” says Jham, who recently launched a series of YouTube videos with CookBook, featuring tutorials.

The differences between the two cuisines are evident in many aspects. While the Bhagnaris use tamarind as their main souring agent, Sindhis opt for tomatoes. “Also, the seyal masala we make is different from what the Sindhis cook at home. They make their seyal masala with tomatoes and we make it with coriander and tamarind.” This, she says, lends their food a whole different look. “While Sindhi food is red, ours is green. Even to make our masala, we grind our chillies, garlic and ginger by hand instead of using the mixer grinder. We prefer it coarse,” says Jham, who also runs a catering service that she launched in 1987.


Priya Jham

She, along with her son, Amit, a pastry chef recently hosted a pop up called Forgotten Baloch after being 
approached by Gourmet Food Company for their Kitchen Dining series, where they rediscover vintage cuisines. She picked a menu comprising succulent mutton chops, aloo patty with a mildly sweet stuffing and a coating of khus khus on top, the traditional khatti dal, a close cousin to the sai bhaji and the sayal mayal , a vegetarian dish made with the tinda.

“Twelve people turned up and that, I feel, was a great response, because nobody outside our community has even heard of Bhagnari,” she says with a smile


https://www.mid-day.com/articles/priya-jham-balochistan-cuisine-of-baloch-bhagnari-cuisine-mumbai-food/17737195

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Balochistan to establish first medical university

https://www.dawn.com/news/1366135

The Newspaper's Staff CorrespondentOctober 25, 2017QUETTA: The provincial cabinet on Tuesday approved the draft for establishing a medical university in Balochistan.Health minister Mir Rehmat Saleh Baloch made the announcement while speaking at a press conference after a cabinet meeting.“The cabinet has approved the draft of the medical university which would be presented in the current session of the Balochistan Assembly,” he said, adding with the assembly’s approval the Bolan Medical College would be converted into a medical university.Published in Dawn, October 25th, 2017

5 Shia Hazara community members gunned down in Pakistan

http://m.hindustantimes.com/world-news/5-shia-hazara-community-members-gunned-down-in-pakistan/story-CHWR4lYByRHzf2KjHjMloI.html



Five members of the minority Shia Hazara community, including two women, were killed on Sunday in an attack by unidentified gunmen in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province.This is not the first time that members of the Hazara community have been targeted in Quetta and other parts of Balochistan.(Reuters File Photo)Updated: Sep 11, 2017 00:20 ISTBy Press Trust of India, Press Trust of India, KarachiFive members of the minority Shia Hazara community, including two women, were killed on Sunday in an attack by unidentified gunmen in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province.The gunmen targeted a car in Kuchluck area of Quetta while it was coming from the Chaman border crossing area, police said.The firing took place when the travellers had stopped at a filling station to refuel their vehicle. Five people of the Shia Hazara community, including two women, died in …

China’s 'Digital Silk Road': Pitfalls Among High Hopes

https://thediplomat.com/2017/11/chinas-digital-silk-road-pitfalls-among-high-hopes/


Will information and communication technologies help China realize its Digital Silk Road?By Wenyuan WuNovember 03, 2017In his speech at the opening ceremony of China’s 19th Party Congress, President Xi Jinping depicted China as a model of scientific and harmonious development for developing nations. Xi’s China wants to engage the world through commerce but also through environmental protection and technological advancement. This includes Beijing’s efforts to fight climate change with information and communication technologies (ICTs) that it plans to export along its “One Belt One Road” initiative (OBOR). Xi may have ambitious plans, but could China be throwing up obstacles in its own way?In his speech, the Chinese president emphasized the need to modernize the country’s environmental protections. The Chinese state is taking an “ecological civilization” approach to development and diplomacy, with a natio…