Bhopal: ‘Vyanjan Mela’- Treat for foodies serving tribal dishes


BHOPAL: The Bhopalites are savouring mouth-watering vegetarian and non-vegetarian tribal dishes from across the country and washing them down with locally-brewed beer at the ‘Vyanjan Mela’ – a part of the five-day ‘Lokrang’ which began from the Republic Day, in the premises of Ravindra Bhawan.

It is for the first time in the 36-year-long history of Lokrang, which is organised by the state government, that non-vegetarian dishes and even beer is available for the visitors. the earlier Lokrangs were strictly vegetarian affairs.

50-year-old cuisines!

Some 50-year-old traditional non-vegetarian dishes like Jell Petha, Hako Latt, Latto, How Ritt chatni, Macher Jholl, Vat, Hak and many others are being served at the stall of Santhal tribals from West Bengal.

Jell Petha is a kind of Roti, made from chicken and rice flour while Hanko is a dessert made from fish, mustard oil, opium seeds and onion. Ritt chatni is made from ant eggs and leaves of Sal tree. Latto is a starter with chicken and rice flour as its ingredients. Some vegetarian items like Sunum Pitha, Kado Aara, Dombo, Chuse, Kurthe Dal and Dhaniyapatta Chatni are also available. The price of non-veg items is around Rs 200 per plate while vegetarian dishes are available for around Rs 160 per plate. Handi beer is being sold for Rs 50 per glass.

Rabindranath Saren, a Santhal, told Free Press, “Jell Petha and Dombo are generally made during Makar Sankranti while Kurthi Dal is prepared in marriage ceremonies. Ritt chatni is cooked in winters only. Handi beer is called ‘Tukui’ in our language. It is made from rice powder and roots of a tree. We mix it with water and dry it in sunlight. After that, we keep it at dark place for 7 days (in winter) and 4 days (in summer) for fermentation,” he said.

White and Green Beer of Nishi Tribe from Arunachal Pradesh
‘Khuri’, ‘Tuk Mo zo (red rice), wrapped in banana’s leaf of Lepcha tribe from Sikkim.
Non-veg foods like Jell Petha, HowRitt, Dombo and Kurthe Dal of Santhal tribals from West Bengal.

Exotic dishes from Karbi tribe, Assam

Some exotic veg and non-veg dishshes like Bamboo Shut chicken and fish, roasted chicken and fish, Til chicken, Nariyal and Til (sesame) laddoo and Apong (beer) are being served on the stall of Karbi tribe from Assam. Spicy Ghost chilly is also available. “Bamboo Shut chicken and fish are our traditional food. We eat them in lunch and dinner with zoha rice,” said Kushal Ronghang, a cook from Karbi tribe. “Apong beer is made from rice and is served after six-day fermentation. Nariyal and Til (sesame) laddoo are made during ‘Maagh’ and ‘Bohag’ Bihu,” he added.

Nishi Tribe (Arunachal) serves beer

Bamboo chatni, Papuk (non-veg), ‘Tassi (made from banana flowers with chicken) and three types of beers including Ponaopa in white colour(made of boiled rice), Adiopo in light green (made of mahua) and Polinnopo in yellow colour (made of boiled rice and mahua) are available at the stall of Nishi Tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. The price of the beer is Rs 100 per glass.

“Normally we have beer in a small quantity after lunch and dinner. It has five per cent alcohol,” said Biki John from Nishi Tribe. Thukpa (Noodles), veg and non-veg momos and Gurgur tea made of Yak butter and cow milk and salt are available at the stall of Boto tribe from Leh-Ladakh.

Lepcha tribe from Sikkim

‘Khuri’, ‘Tuk Mo zo (red rice) wrapped in banana’s leaf, Chechok beer (made from non-boiled rice) are available at the stall of Lepcha tribe from Sikkim. ‘Khuri’ is made from wheat, Saag, cow milk.

Eco-friendly event !

All the dishes are being served in the traditional eco-friendly way, adding to the charm of the event. At some of the stalls, plates made of areca leaves are being used. Beer is being served in bamboo glasses while clay glasses are being used for serving other drinks. Disposable plastic items are an absolute no-no, barring plastic spoons.

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