Browse through Traditions With A Creative Twist, a public food page on Facebook and you're flooded with interesting recipes straight from the kitchens of Mumbai homemakers. Most of them have been tweaked to suit contemporary tastes. For instance, a traditional Assamese sticky rice recipe features coconut cream instead of yoghurt while a pan-fried pumpkin comes flavoured with Panch Phoron (Bengali spice mix) and topped with cheese. Started by mother-daughter duo Ruma and Kasturi Hazarika last year, the page, with more than 1,400 members, invites people to share various regional recipes, along with their photographs and a brief write-up. The catch: these need to be self-cooked.
An Assamese thali by Krishna Deuri
To celebrate the group's first anniversary, they've organised a food festival at Assam Bhavan in Navi Mumbai this Sunday. The event will see participation from 10 homemakers. "The idea is to encourage everyone to eat home-cooked food, which is healthier. Also, we will present the food in gourmet style," says Hazarika Senior.
Organiser Ruma Hazarika (right) with her daughter, Kasturi
The menu predominantly features Northeastern delicacies like the Assamese-style mutton, Smoked Chicken and Sticky Rice and Jasmine Rice, Fresh Water Fish Curry and an Assamese thali along with Chhole Pav, Kheema Pav and Chinese cuisine too. "We'll also offer baked desserts like cupcakes, chocolate truffles, choco chip cookies and sugar candies. A couple of homemakers will sell Assamese tea and pickles.
Chicken Lollipops by Arundhati Mochahari
The prices are pocket-friendly, starting from Rs 150," says the 49-year-old Kharghar resident, who will dish out the Assamese mutton with ghee-sautéed rice, salad and a paan too. "Cooked in mustard oil, the mutton will be flavoured with garlic-ginger paste and garam masala (green cardamom, cinnamon and cloves). However, I will substitute butter with ghee in the rice. All of us will make the dishes in large quantities since we're expecting up to 500 guests," she adds.
Kheema by Lopa Zacharia Padwal
Meanwhile, 35-year-old Kamothe resident Satya Bora, who hails from Assam and is presenting a contemporary version of the Assamese sticky rice, says, "I bought the rice from Assam. I will use it to make chicken-stuffed rice balls along with northeastern-style chicken gravy." She will also serve Khar, an alkali preparation made by filtering water through burnt banana peel. "I decided to present dishes from my hometown to increase awareness," she says.
The guests can also savour an Oriental meal featuring Fried Rice and noodles with a Chick-en Manchurian gravy and Chicken Lollipops. "Though I cook Assamese food, my kids prefer the Chinese I make. I've been cooking it for 20 years now. I'm sure the younger crowd at the festival will also like it," says 48-year-old Arundhati Mochahari.
Similarly, 29-year-old Thane-based Lopa Zacharia Padwal, who will dish out Kheema Pav, says, "I am a Christian married to a Hindu, and hence, instead of presenting a community recipe, I decided to make Kheema Pav, which is a favourite with most Mumbaikars."
On: June 5, 6 pm onwards
At: Assam Bhavan, Vashi, Navi Mumbai.
Log on to: www.facebook.com/groups/966942166669806/
>> Nikita Shere and Neelam Kedare’s varieties of assorted cupcakes.
>> Mridusmita Das Rath's Chhole and Pav
>> Anila Nair’s assorted chocolate truffles, choco chip cookies and sugar candies.
>> Mamoni Gogoi’s steamed rice, fresh water fish curry, chicken curry and pan-fried seasonal veggies.