Finally, I am starting my „29 States-29 Dishes” series
Every day from tomorrow I will prepare a typical vegetarian Dish from each of the 29 States of India.
To make things right from the beginning: Apparently there are not 29 states anymore, but rather 28 states (Ladakh and Kashmir became to separate Union Territories in 2019) and nor 8 Union Territories. So I guess I will end up cooking more or less 36 Dishes, because how can I miss out on the cuisines of Andaman Islands, Kashmir or Ladakh?
It took me some time to get started.
First, I had to decide on the most special and suitable dishes from all over India (Thanks to my Indian friend for their help). This was sometimes easier, sometimes a bigger challenge.
My criteria for the selection of the dishes were:
- The Dish should be truly authentic for the state
- It should be a complete meal on its own
- The Dish should be also something new for me
- Ingredients should be more or less available
- The dish should be easy enough to be also be cooked by you at your home place
- The Dish has to be vegetarian
Although the Indian kitchen is overall a delight for vegetarians and almost wherever you travel to in India you will find a variety of satisfying vegetarian dishes, some Indian states seem to be purely non vegetarian, for example the 8 States of the North East or states at the cost like Goa, where fish is the main staple. Finding a typical vegetarian dish took me some time.
Some days before the project started, I didn´t feel at all to do it anymore. It was a mixture of pressure and laziness, I guess. But since I anyway had to cook something, I decided I could give it at least a try and start with West Bengal for which I already had all the ingredients anyway.
And big surprise: It was not only really fun trying out to cook something new, but to my astonishment the dish turned out really nice and my boy friend praised me a lot. As a side effect, on that night when I was cooking, I felt also really connected to the state and it`s people and nice memories of earlier visits of the state came up.
With the days going on I enjoyed the Project more and more and became also really determined. During this time, where days are quite loose (due to Covid-19 and almost no work for me), this project gave me a sort of structure. I got more and more excited and really enjoyed researching for recipes, getting the ingredients, cooking the dishes and presenting them to my boyfriend.
Some of the dishes I already new from my travels, but never cooked them by myself. Others were completely new to me and sometimes I could not even be sure, whether the dish came out right or not.
Right now, I am in the middle of the project. Most of the dishes turned out better then expected, a few were “interesting” and 1 and 2 a bit of a failure. But more about the details in the daily report of every single dish.
This will be no recipe resource. The recipes you can find all over the internet. A very good recourse for me and almost every dish was Dasana`s Veg Recipes Blog. Here recipes are easy to follow and very tasty.
I hope this project gives you a feel of the diversity of India, which is not only reflected in its cuisine, but also in the culture, life-style, clothing and languages. This is one of the main reasons, what makes India an amazing place to travel.
For every state I will share some own personal experiences as well.
Maybe this project motivates you, to try something similar. Maybe a Culinary journey around the world or in your own country?
You will be surprised which hidden delicacies are waiting for you, or- at least- what all interesting things people are eating all over the world.
Personally, this project helped me to enjoy may daily cooking again, being more conscious about my daily eating habits and also to put some more effort in the preparation and value of the meal.
Please feel free to comment and share your own experiences, knowledge and tips!