Tata Steel Foundation Promoting Indigenous Agroforestry Flavors
SUKINDA: From preparing forgotten native recipes, to cooking in earthen pots over a wood fire, to serving on leaves of native plants, the one-day Prajatiya Khadyotsav was held at the Sukinda Chromite Mine of Tata Steel Mining.
The food festival organized by the Tata Steel Foundation in collaboration with the Tata Steel Mining CSR team allowed foodies to satiate their taste buds as 30 home cooks created mouth-watering indigenous agro-forestry dishes and local delicacies from ‘Odisha. The food festival was an attempt to promote and preserve local traditional agro-forestry cooking practices and recipes.
The event was graced by the presence of dignitaries like Pankaj Satija, Managing Director of Tata Steel Mining, Dr Ambika Prasad Nanda, Head, CSR, Odisha, Tata Steel and subject matter experts like Dr Paramanda Patel, Padmashri Daitri Nayak, Debashis Pradhan along with various local village representatives.
Speaking at the event Pankaj Satija, Managing Director of Tata Steel Mining, said, “Indigenous agro-forestry food varieties have become even more relevant in today’s lifestyle because of the nutritional values they provide. Tata Steel Mining celebrates the rich diversity of traditional foods that have been practiced for centuries by communities in Odisha through this program. I thank all participants and dignitaries for making this event a success.
Home cooks came together to explore agro-forestry food techniques prevalent in their communities. A number of interesting recipes were prepared during the workshop, including rare items like black carpenter ant chutney, bamboo shoot pickle, and country chicken khichdi, among others. The one-day event was followed by various local forms of agro-forestry dance like Ghumra among others.
There were varieties of traditional cakes called “pitha” (in the local parlance) on the tray and items using roots, tubers and much more that local communities living in forest areas have been using for centuries were prepared. .
More than 30 local specialties were prepared during the festival. Also present were chefs working on agro-forestry cuisine who shared about expanding culinary boundaries and raising awareness among young people. These home cooks hailing from the tribal communities of Sundergarh, Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Jajpur and Keonjhar have brought a variety of flavors to the table.
Amrita Ekka from Sundergarh has tried fusion recipes using the core ingredient, Mandia or millet, which is prevalent in their practices. Originally from the Oraon tribe, she loves to cook and has tried several recipes. “I try to make rasgulla and dhokla using mandia. I’m sure people will love it,” Amrita says.
The festival aims to make people understand the food habits of indigenous communities living in and around forest areas while highlighting their sustainable way of growing food and its relationship to their ecological land, plants, animals and forests.
The festival was an eye opener for many visitors, who learned that there are hundreds of food items that thrive in every tribe in the state.