Awadhi Biryani, Chicken Chettinad, Surti Undhiyo — we are all familiar with these classics that take their names after the places they originated from. But, there are yet more delectables dishes across India who are inextricably linked to the towns and cities where they were first made. We take a look at some of them.
Dharwad peda: When you think of this little city in Karnataka, you think of Bhimsen Joshi and other great Hindustani classical greats. And, if you are into food as well, you’d think of Dharwad peda. This khoya-based, subtly crunchy and mildly sweet takes the name of the town in which it was born, and those in the know will tell you that if you are ever in Dharwad, about 550 km from Mumbai, you should buy your Dharwad pedas from one sweet-maker: Babu Singh Thakur’s Peda.
Dindigul Thalappakatti Biryani: Back in the late 1950s, Nagaswamy Naidu served a biryani made of seeraga samba rice at his little eatery in Dindigul. The rest is history, and a chain of restaurants that has legions of fans. The ‘thalappakatti’ in the name stands for ‘thalapa’ or turban, which was always worn by Naidu.
Ramassery Idli: The king of idlis — literally, it’s as big as a dosa — the Ramassery hails from a village of the same name near the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border. But in case you want to sample it, make haste. Apparently, the idli, which is made in mud pots, now slowly fading out in the place of its birth.
Kozhikode Halwa: If you’ve ever travelled to Kerala by train, you’ll be familiar with the Kozhikode Halwa. It makes its presence felt as soon as the train enters Kozhikode Station. And, you see passengers pick up their packet or packets. They do it because this wheat halwa is unlike any other. It’s soft and not as sweet as most other halwas. The best ones to go for are the halwas that are made using jaggery.
Bikaneri bhujia: The Bikaneri bhujia is different from sundry others made all over the country. Why? That’s because it uses — along with besan — moth flour (matki), which, say people in the know, is one among the many reasons for its unique flavour and crunch. The other reason could be the desert air. The Bikaneri bhujia, popularised by Haldiram, is protected by a Geographical Indication tag.