Saturday, 29 January, 2022

Flavours Of Mithila Cuisines


Ram Dayal Rakesh

Chuda-Dahi is a common person's diet from an agricultural, aquatic community called Maithils. A meal of flattened rice, curd and sugar with no oil and no spice composition has clear health benefits of its own. It is a gender-neutral food as preparing or putting together this humble meal does not require any specialised gendered skill with elaborate kitchen labour generally assigned to the women of this region. Apart from being a daily low maintenance diet, it has great digestive value as well.
It finds a special place in several indigenous rituals of the Maithils such as Jitiya, a rigorous fast observed by women for the well-being of children, Navan (the arrival of fresh paddy) Tila Sankranti (a festival assigned to shift in solar movement).

Mithila Rituals
It has an interesting connection with Maithil rituals such as Sama-Chakeba (a festival to celebrate sibling bonding) Durga Pooja and Dwiragaman (second marriage ritual of departure of daughter from parental home) as daughters and deities alike are fed this food as assigned for saying goodbye with a sweet offering. Usually, this food is assigned with a popular connection with the Brahman caste. Considered the best breakfast in the morning and evening, it is a ready-made breakfast for the people of Mithila.

Curd, sakaarauri (a gram flour pudding) and paan prepared as a dessert. The Sakaarauri slightly feels like rice pudding but with the right blend of almond, cashew nut, raisins, and saffron. It had an authentic flavour of its own. Maithili cuisine, if promoted well, can be the next big cuisine in the world because it is nutrient-rich.

Fish is good for heart patients. Fish curry, Papad, Tilaura (sweet made by mixing sesame seeds and peanuts) green chilli, Aamke Achar( mango pickle) and rice. The dish is spicy but delicious- Aaloo Chokha is juicy and has the perfect blend of spices. The fish curry is a surprise- brimming with the taste of natural herbs and spices, the taste excited one’s palate.
There is an urgent need to protect and promote the delicious cuisine culture of Mithilanchal because it is very rich in taste. It can be reflected and reflects the wide variety of cultures and traditions. This richness is what is needed to present traditional dishes with a modern presentation. As a starter Bagiya( rice flour dumplings) is served with Kachari( spiced onion).

Bagiya is not just scrumptious but it is healthy also. It is a rice dumpling and It tastes like the regular Pakoda and Kachari which is not oily. Bathuwa Saag ke soup (soup of wild spinach) and Khesari saag soup are not only tasty but healthy also. The creamy with the perfect portion of black pepper enhances the soup's flavour. For the main course, it is served a Thali comprising authentic Maithilii dishes- Taruwa (fried potatoes), Aloo Chhokha (spiced mashed potato) Dal Chhaukani( tempered pulses). Popular dishes are such as bakha and kheer(rice pudding) for general lunch.

Morning Tea In Winter
Now-a –days tea drinking has become very common in Terai-MADHESH. Early in the morning, the Terai people begin their day by drinking tea. Some decades ago it was very rare. Only sick people used to take tea when they fell sick due to cough and cold. They used to take it as medicine but nowadays it has become a fashion. Now Mattaka Chah ( hot pot tea) serves as a welcome drink at home as well as in a hotel. It is served in traditional Matka( earthen clay pot). Now it is served as cups, flavoursome – the garam masala flavour the right spot in every sip. Now it is easily available as Tulasi tea which cures cough and cold in no time.
Coffee is very rare and it is considered a luxurious drink today. It has not become a common drink.

Summer Drink
Lassi is a very lovely drink in summer. It is made of curd so it is considered a cold drink. It gives a cold feeling in the hot Terai in the summer season. It is common and easy to prepare it by mixing curd in a mixture. It can be sweetened by adding sugar and it can be salty also by adding a little bit of salt. Diabetes patients love to have salty LASSI OTHERWISE SWEET LASSI IS VERY PLATABLE.
These days Bhang lassi is getting popular which is called Thandhai and it is considered intoxicating. It gives somewhat intoxication because it is prepared by mixing cannabis which is very much in our culture from time immemorial. It is considered sacred to gods especially Lord Shiva. It is even considered one of the five most sacred plants on earth in the Hindu text Atharvaveda.

Nowadays, several Sadhus and saints use it to help meditate and reach a transcendental state, just like Lord Shiva. It is taken mixed with milk and other species like turmeric, cumin seeds, cardamom, sugar, almonds.
This type of Lassi is considered suitable for medicinal, spiritual and therapeutic purposes. It turns a negative mood into a positive and provides comfort when one feels sad and sick. It is especially suitable for those who want to enjoy the merriment of Holi. It also increases sexual urge on this occasion.
It is consumed on the occasions of Shivaratri and Holi, a famous festival of flying colours. This eatery is also getting popularity in Thailand. Its cannabis-infused cuisine now is attracting foreign tourists. Cannabis leaves, when put in the food or even a small amount, will help the patient to recover from the illness.

It can improve appetite and make people sleep soundly and helps them to be in a positive or even in a romantic mood. Thailand in 2017 became the first Southeast Asian country to legalise cannabis for medical use and has since opened numerous medical marijuana clinics. The taste of the cannabis leaves was similar to everyday vegetables, but the after-effects were quite different.Thailand is planning to add more cannabis to Thai dishes that are already well known, such as green curry soup, to boost the popularity of these dishes even more.
Besides, many types of lassi are available in the Kathmandu valley also in the summer season. It provides a soothing effect while enjoying it.They are banana lassi, mango lassi, Litchi lassi, and watermelon lassi. Sugarcane juice is served free of cost in every village of Mithila.

(The author is a culture expert)