Common Ingredients, Uncommon Food

Some dumplings there too..

Food and more food

Most people love to experiment with food. They want to understand the food that’s on their plate and if given a chance, they want to see what can go well with what? Have you ever thought why stuffed parathas and curd is such an appetizing combination? Or why ice cream goes so well with a hot gulab jamun?

I believe it’s all experimenting. With taste and contrast that exist in a variety of combinations.

There are some common ingredients that make up a plate of food but a lot more can be done if one wants to. Same rice can transform itself into biryani, akki roti, kheer and even papad. Also, every state has something that’s uncommon. I never knew about fish pickles until a couple of years back when a friend offered that to me at lunch. A curry made of peanuts is a popular food in Gujarat and I did not know until I tried when I was visiting a relative.

I was watching this video recently and it made me think of my roots in the food I had as a child. My mum is a wonderful cook and while growing up, she made us try Chinese, South Indian and of course the Mughlai non-vegetarian cuisine. Everything cooked at home. And the local delicacies were also tested at home.

One thing that comes to my mind is a dal filling wrapped in rice dough and steamed. For the ones who consider steamed food too healthy to digest, this would be fried after steaming for a crisper outer and spicy filling on the inside.

What are you thinking of?


This is what I call local #Foodventures. In a state where wheat is expensive and rice is in abundance, where the poor prefer steaming versus using oil, these local dumplings with the garlic-mint-chilli chutney is a perfect snack anytime during the day. It’s filling and healthy. Just the right thing to have after one gets back from a long day at work. And the recipe travelled from villages to cities and with the frying option, it isn’t a food belonging to the poor anymore.

Popularly known as phara, you can change the filling and use anything that you would like. Maybe minced meat or mixed vegetables? The soft rice flour dough needs to be rolled with hand to cover this filling and then you could keep these over a sieve beneath which water boils in a pot. The steam cooks the outer and softens the already cooked filling.

So, try this taste of east India at your home’s comfort and don’t forget to share your story about an uncommon food. You could get a chance to be featured in #Foodventures video with either Vikas Khanna or Vir Sanghvi!

12 Responses

  1. Fish pickles are my favourite, specially the prawn ones! Yum! 😀
    Are dumplings and momos the same? I have tried non-veg momos, and they are just brilliant!
    I’m currently on a #foodventure to find foods which I can eat with braces. 😛 I do hope my efforts are rewarded soon, and I don’t have to survive on just soft rice and dal or khichdi!
    Mithila Menezes @Fabulus1710 recently posted…When Death Comes Calling..My Profile

  2. Cherdo says:

    I think I love your blog, ha ha. What a great pairing: happiness and food.

  3. Vinitha says:

    Yummy post, Parul! I do food experiments in my own way, don’t dare to share it with anyone other than my husband and kid. 🙂

  4. rajlakshmi says:

    I love dumplings with soup inside … Did you try that in Hong Kong? Have always wondered how they managed to get the soup inside the dumpling.
    Sometimes I do my own quirky experiments – Laddu dipped in curd, Chunk of butter with puffed rice 😛
    rajlakshmi recently posted…Do guys call their parents-in-law?My Profile

  5. Soumya says:

    Ah chicken dumplings! I love them but they taste good only with the hot dipping sauce. Without that the dumplings are nothing.

    Food combinations are a favorite topic of mine. And I hate it when people combine ketchup with everything. I hate ketchup and think it should be banned ASAP.
    Soumya recently posted…Decoding Sri LankaMy Profile

  6. Shantala says:

    I am not an experimenter when it comes to food. I like variety, I need it actually. But I play relatively safe and stick to tried and tested (at-least by someone else).
    Shantala recently posted…Ajaya by Anand Neelakantan | Not just a Book Review – Part 2 (Final)My Profile

  7. Ankita says:

    Your post is a heaven for foodies 😉

  8. Marie says:

    Your pictures are gorgeous! And mmmm….chutney.

  9. Roopa says:

    We do the same kind, however they are more of a dessert.. Need to try this version soon considering the health benefits…

  10. Goodness Parul you are the first person outside of my family who I’ve heard talking about pharas and who actually calls them that too. Not even my husband or my MIL know it. My mum makes them with urad daal and they aren’t closed all the way. The daal goes into a tiny boat shaped rotis made from rice flour. Aw I want some now.
    Beat About the Book recently posted…Me Before You – A ReviewMy Profile

  11. Alok Singhal says:

    I don’t like to experiment much, have had some nasty experiences in the past. But i do support those who crave for something new, and thus experiment it for us 🙂

  12. Bellybytes says:

    Yes it’s strange how one ingredient like potato can be made in so many ways- fried, boiled, steamed, mashed, curried and I can go on and on! I love these food adventures and often try to guess what went in a dish and try and replicate it at home.

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