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Yogi Berra remarked,'' You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I am not hungry enough to eat six!'' Yes, when it comes to talking about cuisine of Dhanbad, anyone will quote Berra. Blame the exotic yet simple dishes of this place.The traditional cuisine of Jharkhand and amalgamation of sumptuous dishes from Punjab, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan have found many takers in this mining land.
Festivals are celebrated together with great pomp and amusement, sweets are distributed, new dresses are worn by everyone, traditional dishes are prepared and shared by one and all. This has made Dhanbad a melting pot of myriad cultures, traditions and cuisines. While the black diamond ensures economic growth of this region, festivals, cuisine and diverse languages ensure unity in diversity.
Rice, daal, phulka or roti (chapati) and green vegetables with achaar (pickle) make for a routine meal in any home here in Dhanbad. Traditional dishes of Jharkhand state include litti and chokha, mitha khaja, til barfi, pittha, singara (samosa) etc. which are relished by one and all in Dhanbad. Non-vegetarians in Dhanbad love to eat, spicy chicken, meat and fish. However, the cosmopolitan nature of the Dhanbad town is visible when one finds young and old enjoying chola- bhatura as much as pani-puri and chinese noodles! Sambar-vada, idly and dosa are as lovingly devoured as litti-chokha. So, to say that cuisine in Dhanbad has no regional and geographical boundaries won't be an exaggeration. Recipes of a few traditional dishes of Jharkhand state have been furnished below.
This is a famous dish of Jharkhand state. Since it does not get spoilt easily, people carry it with them while travelling. This dish is eaten along with baigan-bharta, alu-chokha and papad. It is prepared using sattu, wheat flour, onion, green chillies, garlic and black pepper. These are ground together to make small balls which are fried and then baked. Later, these are served with baigan or alu bharta.
People relish desserts such as gajar ka halua, kheer and yes! mitha khaja. During festivals, especially Diwali, this dish is prepared in bulk and shared with relatives and friends as 'prasad'. Jaggery, cardamom powder and plain flour (maida) are main ingredients of this dish.
This is an important dish during Makar Sankranti festival. It is not only delicious but also has nutritional value. ''No one can eat just one!'' stands quite true for til barfi. Grated coconut, sugar, sesame seeds, groundnuts are mixed and ground and shaped like barfi.
This dish is prepared using chana dal, garlic, flour, ginger, turmeric powder and chillies. The preparation is famous in Bengal and Orissa but in Jharkhand, it is prepared with subtle difference in ingredients to bestow it a classic flavour.
True, the trip to any place is complete only when you take back some lovely remembrances of affection, love and aroma of the cuisine of any place. Nothing can beat the fragrance of brotherhood that goes deep down the memory lane and remains there to shine like diamonds after a few years. Dhanbad is such a place: welcoming, loving and nostalgic.