Picture this: hot sarson da saag,made from sarson plucked fresh from the fields,topped with homemade white butter and served with just-off-the-tava makki rotis. Sitting alongside is a generous glass of frothy lassi to help one down it all smoothly.
Sounds like a quintessential Punjabi winter meal out of a village home? Well,it is. And if you tucked into such perfectly traditional fare only during a recent visit to the pind (village),heres good news for you. Bringing the village,or at least its customary cooking,to the city is an all-women self-help group who,we noticed,take over the kitchen at the Chandigarh Press Club this weekend. Hailing from Sahauran,five kilometres away from Kharar in Mohali,this team of four was busy flipping rotis and giving the saag a final warm-up.
We have also made lassi and pure,preservative-free sauces. Our group is called Durga Mata group and we are backed by the Punjab Gramin Bank, said Manjit Kaur,one of the members.
It was sometime ago that the Punjab Gramin Bank conducted a food and nutrition workshop in the village to help women,mostly housewives,generate income by making clever use of their culinary skills.
We were taught how to make hygienic,healthy meals as well as bulk cooking so that we can take orders, added Kaur.
Apart from the saag and makki rotis,the group is looking to take bulk orders for pickles,chutneys,sauces,jam,sherbet,murabba,gajar ka halwa and ladoos among other things.
We are looking to cook for weddings too, added the ladies who constitute the group that now boasts of 16 members.
The idea behind bringing the women here was to provide them with valuable experience to help boost their confidence, said the man behind the project,Resham Singh,manager of the Punjab Gramin Bank at Sahauran.
The bank currently supports 54 self-help groups and we hope they will be able to find their feet and be financially independent, added the manager.
With meals as sumptuous as the ones dished out on Saturday afternoon,the progress for the group,we hope,will be as smooth as that lassi!