Cuisine of Chhattisgarh
The state of Chhattisgarh is known for its diverse cultivation of agricultural products. These products influence the cuisines of Chhattisgarh to a large extent. Wheat, jowar and maize form the staple foods of the state. Moreover, the central region of Chhattisgarh is a fertile plain and is extremely favourable for paddy cultivation. Rice is grown here on an extensive scale. Hence this central portion is known as the 'rice bowl of India'. No wonder rice also forms an important constituent of people's diet here. Other important agricultural produce used in the diet comprises of coarse grains, fruits, pulses, etc.
Various cuisines of Chhattisgarh are prepared for different occasions. All festivals have their own variety of specialty cuisine. The Chhattisgarhi cuisine is reflected in the festivals here like Madai, Bastar Lokastav, Hareli, etc. Local, traditional cuisines are expertly prepared during these festivals. Interestingly, the local food materials from Chhattisgarh are outsourced to some countries abroad. Many international chocolate brands use the Bastar sal butter as a raw material.
The weekly market in rural areas called the 'Haat Bazaar', teems with a huge variety of local cuisines. Interesting cuisines like salphi (sap of fish-leaf, sago-palm), mahua (a local brew) which happens to be very heady, and landa (rice beer) are displayed in these markets. These markets also sell all the basic amenities required by the tribal population which comprises of wood, salt and also live red ants! Red ant chutney is a delicacy among the tribals of Chhattisgarh. Truly, the weekly haats are the best places to view the diverse cuisines of Chhattisgarh.
The local tribal cuisine is like a vast canvas, full of myriad colours. The most common liquor here is the one brewed from the Mahuwa flower. This liquor is popular all over the rural areas of Chhattisgarh. The Chhattisgarh tribes consume almost about anything that is moving. Squirrels, rats, red ants, mushrooms, flying ants, meat, etc. all are components of the tribal cuisine here.
Fish and pork are the other famous local delicacies here. Fish, generally from the local water bodies, is consumed here on a large scale. Pork is an important constituent of the diet of the tribes of Chhattisgarh. Important occasions and major ceremonies take place with the sacrifice of the pig. Jalebi is the famous sweet dish of Chhattisgarh.
Use of different ingredients, spices, grains and meats is the characteristic feature of the cuisines of Chhattisgarh, which endows it with an exotic look, taste and flavour.