From rural delicacies to home-cooked meals, authentic Indian dishes a hit in migrant-dominated Bengaluru

Many metro cities are opening their homes to offer regional, traditional food.

BCCL
A wide spread of Gujarati Thali by Authenticook .
BENGALURU: IT professional Ankit Das’ yearly ritual was to head back home to Kolkata for Durga Puja. However, last year, workload and business trips meant he couldn’t. Though he missed the festive fervour back home, he got to feast on begun bhaja (brinjal fritters), the elusive ilish (Hilsa fish) and gobindobhog rice. This was with a Bengali family in their home in Hebbal.

“I was reminded of home and made new friends who share my passion for Bengali food. I’ve now signed up for a Gujarati home-cooked meal next month. It is much lighter on the pocket, authentic and healthier than going to a restaurant,” Das said.

The family that hosted him and a couple of his other Bengali friends are among many who are opening their homes to offer regional, traditional fare.

Begun bhaja, ilish jhol and gobindobhog rice as a part of Bengali thali.
Begun bhaja, ilish jhol and gobindobhog rice as a part of Bengali thali.

Giving a leg-up to such initiatives are online hosting platforms where people can sign up as hosts and offer small or large group meals in their homes.

Mumbai-based Authenticook is among the most popular hosting platforms and is gaining currency in Bengaluru. Its website has over 200 home chefs who host traditional meals and food experiences for a price.

On a monthly basis, Authenticook adds more than 25 home chefs, after verification and tasting, cofounder Aneesh Dhairyawan said. Bengali and Bihari meals are among the most popular, followed by regional coastal cuisine.
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“Apart from the cutlery and décor, there is rarely anything different in restaurants,” he noted. With home chefs, it’s not just traditional food, lost recipes and homecooked goodness, there’s a strong sense of culture too, said he.
Home chefs bring a strong sense of culture along with traditional food, lost recipes and homecooked goodness​.
Home chefs bring a strong sense of culture along with traditional food, lost recipes and homecooked goodness.

Food writer Purvi Kulkarni said, “Community building is intrinsic among Indians, and we gravitate towards people from similar backgrounds. It’s the same with food, especially in a migrant-dominated city like Bengaluru.”

While she hasn’t signed up on such platforms, she routinely hosts home-food experiences through word-of-mouth and social media promotions. From rural delicacies like mudde and heerekaayi palya to Maharashtrian staples including misal pav, puran poli and zunka bhakar, her meals have been gaining much traction. “Most of those who sign up are youngsters who miss home food.”

Bohri food is also catching on. Conosh, another platform, recently hosted a Bohri New Year thaal lunch.
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Healthy Dessert Recipes By Chef Manish Mehrotra To Add To Your Ganesh Chaturthi Celebrations
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The festive season in India is often marked by feasts, in which sweets form a major part. Festivals in different parts of the country are celebrated with a variety of desserts. While Ganesh Chaturthi sees modaks surface as a favourite, Pradhaman is popular during Onam.

The craving to dig into your favourite dessert as you celebrate festivals with your loved ones can be at an all-time high during this period. But, if the stress of the unhealthy eating gets to you, there's always a way to indulge your sweet tooth, while staying healthy.

To make your festive-binge smooth, we asked award-winning chef Manish Mehrotra to share his secrets to some delectable, healthy treats.

Scroll on for the recipes and their nutritional content.

The festive season in India is often marked by feasts, in which sweets form a major part. Festivals in different parts of the country are celebrated with a variety of desserts. While Ganesh Chaturt..
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Serves: 4

Ingredients
Custard apple pulp: 2 gm
Double cream (fat): 1 gm
Castor sugar: 30 gm
Almonds: 30 gm

Serves: 4IngredientsCustard apple pulp: 2 gmDouble cream (fat): 1 gmCastor sugar: 30 gmAlmonds: 30 gm

Method
- Toast almonds at 1 degree celsius for 1 mins in the oven
- Grind toasted almonds to a coarse powder and chop the remaining
- Mix custard apple pulp, double cream, and sugar together, then add the ground almonds and mix
- Chill in the refrigerator and garnish with chopped almonds before serving

Method- Toast almonds at 1 degree celsius for 1 mins in the oven- Grind toasted almonds to a coarse powder and chop the remaining- Mix custard apple pulp, double cream, and sugar together, then add t..
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Serves: 4–5
Ingredients
Freshly grated coconut: 1 cup
Almonds (blanched, ground): 1/2 cup
Sugar (fine): 1 cup
Desi ghee: 1/3 cup

Serves: 4–5IngredientsFreshly grated coconut: 1 cupAlmonds (blanched, ground): 1/2 cupSugar (fine): 1 cupDesi ghee: 1/3 cup

Method
- Take ghee in a non-stick pan, and warm on low-medium heat
- Add coconut & almond mixture. Mix well and keep stirring until it begins to leave the sides of the pan, lumping up as one mass
- Add sugar and fold well
- Apply ghee onto a baking sheet and keep aside
- Reduce heat to low and continue stirring for a few more minutes until the residue sticking to the sides of the pan starts to look opaque and dry, which means the consistency is nearing almost right for solidifying
- Remove onto the greased plate/sheet
- Mix the dough with greased hands, pat it flat into a neat square with a greased rolling-pin to 1/4 inch thickness. Smooth out the surface if needed
- After it cools partially, cut into equal squares with a knife
- Once completely cooled (about an hour or so), separate out the burfis with a flat spatula and store in an airtight container

Method- Take ghee in a non-stick pan, and warm on low-medium heat- Add coconut & almond mixture. Mix well and keep stirring until it begins to leave the sides of the pan, lumping up as one mass- Add ..
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Serves: 2–3

Ingredients
Full cream milk: 2 cups
Sugar: 4 tbsp
Saffron strands: A pinch
Green cardamom powder: ½ tsp
Almond slivers: ½ cup
Makhana (fox nuts): 1 cup
Ghee: 2 tbsp

Serves: 2–3IngredientsFull cream milk: 2 cupsSugar: 4 tbspSaffron strands: A pinchGreen cardamom powder: ½ tspAlmond slivers: ½ cupMakhana (fox nuts): 1 cupGhee: 2 tbsp

Method
- Heat ghee in a heavy-bottomed pan, roast fox nuts and almond slivers till they turn golden
- Heat milk and saffron strands in a heavy-bottomed pan and bring it to a boil; keep stirring the milk, so that it doesn't stick to the bottom
- Add the sugar to the milk, and mix well
- Add the fox nuts and almond slivers to the milk mixture
- Keep cooking till fox nuts become soft and milk thickens a bit
- Garnish with roasted almond slivers and chopped, roasted fox nuts. Serve hot or chilled

Method- Heat ghee in a heavy-bottomed pan, roast fox nuts and almond slivers till they turn golden- Heat milk and saffron strands in a heavy-bottomed pan and bring it to a boil; keep stirring the mil..
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Serves: 4

Ingredients
Wheat flour: 2 cups
Semolina: 2½ tbsp
Roasted almond slivers: ¼ cup
Roasted White Sesame powder: ¼ cup
Ghee: ¾ cup
Gram flour (besan): 1½ tbsp
Sugar: 1 cup
Water: ½ cup
Green cardamom powder: ½ tsp
Roasted white sesame: 1 tbsp
Roasted whole almonds: 3 tbsp

Serves: 4IngredientsWheat flour: 2 cupsSemolina: 2½ tbspRoasted almond slivers: ¼ cupRoasted White Sesame powder: ¼ cupGhee: ¾ cupGram flour (besan): 1½ tbspSugar: 1 cupWater: ½ cupGreen cardamom pow..
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Method
- Heat ghee in a pan, add semolina and wheat flour to it. Roast the mixture till it turns golden
- Mix sugar and water in a pan, and warm over low heat. Cook till single string sugar syrup is formed
- Mix the sugar syrup with the wheat flour mixture. Add green cardamom powder
- Cook mixture till it becomes a little dry. Add the roasted almond flakes and ground white sesame to the mixture and mix well
- Allow it to cool. Divide the mixture into equal parts and shape it into round balls
- Cut the roasted almonds into half and place over pinnis. Roll the pinnis gently in roasted white sesame

Method- Heat ghee in a pan, add semolina and wheat flour to it. Roast the mixture till it turns golden- Mix sugar and water in a pan, and warm over low heat. Cook till single string sugar syrup is fo..
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