Ten- Second Takeaway

Home-chefs Pooja Pangtey and Teiskhem {Tei} Lynrah dish out Himalayan food, Khasi and Kumaoni to be specific, at their pop-up Meraki in Bandra. We checked out the soulful vegetarian fare from Kumaon.

What Is It?

04112016_meraki5

Hill food is generally associated with fruit or momos and thukpas.  What most people don’t know about the Himalayas, particularly Kumaon, is that the region stocks one of India’s most bountiful larders – including freshly foraged chilgoza {pine-nut}, morel mushrooms {aka gucchi}, kafal {wild berries} and lingura {a local fiddlehead fern}. There’s also great milk, mithai and let’s not even talk about how good the ghee is. And, last but not least, there are tons of fantastic veggies.

What We Loved

04112016_meraki2

So we decided to drop by the Meraki pop-up {Meraki is Greek for creativity or the love you put into a task} to taste it for ourselved.

First off, the rajma chawal. The Munsiyari rajma is sweet and fresh – a combination of three Munsiyari rajmas with a locally grown chive,  jumboo and thoya {Caraway}. The jumboo provides for a very savoury onion finish while the caraway adds a spicy-anise zing. Then, the supporting act is the bhatt {blackbeans} and gahat {horse gram lentils} ki churdkani. The easiest reference to explain the bhatt ki churdkani might be as a lighter take on Punjabi ma ki dal. The gahat on the other hand, is a homely, less punchy take on usal.

Then, the soup – the rus or thatwanee – has the earthiness of the original dal bukhara, but so much lighter with a hint of onions. What Jeera Aloo is to Delhi, allu gutka is to Kumaon. The fresher, greener, onion-y notes of the jumboo perfectly compliments the sweetness of the potato and the chatpata seasoning.

04112016_meraki1

Part soup, part chutney, part rasam, there’s no way to perfectly describe the Timoor curry, a piquant yet tingly-spicy preparation. Consumed in smaller quantities with a small ball of rice, this dish acted as the perfect palate cleanser between courses.

Then, dal-chawal-roti. While the mustard oil and caraway-tempered chawal is usually paired with kaapa {a hearty saag preparation}, we couldn’t help but combine with it ladle after ladle of the jumboo dal. If chawal isn’t your thing, opt for the madua roti instead. We end with jhangore {barnyard millet} ki kheer. A bit like sabudana but ten times the flavour.

Heads up – The bhang ki Chutney will not get you high. But the food definitely will.

So, We’re Saying…

04112016_meraki3

Head to this pop-up for simple, homely and authentic food from Kumaon. Like most of the world’s beloved cuisines, Kumaoni food is all about keeping things simple.

Check out their Facebook page to catch the next pop-up here.

Photos courtesy: Auroni Mookerjee