Maharashtra's SPICIEST SAOJI Cuisine I Sundari (Goat Offals) + KhusKhus (Poppy Seeds Curry) + Jhinga

Maharashtra's SPICIEST SAOJI Cuisine I Sundari (Goat Offals) + KhusKhus (Poppy Seeds Curry) + Jhinga

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So, Mandiraji, you had called to feed us Saoji food. What are you doing with the weavers? The story of Saoji begins from here. We will see how their journey started.

And how they have started to market their home-cooked food. Please tell us how it all started. Saoji (or Koshti) is a community.

They are weavers by profession. The Koshti community is also called Halwaha Koshti. Halwaha - who plow the field. Their occupation was previously agricultural. Now, their occupation is weaving. It's said that they are the descendants of Mrikand Rishi.

Mrikand Rishi was the first one to weave a fabric with lotus. He wove the fabric to cover the naked bodies of the deities. The Koshti people are his descendants.

The weavers settled in Nagpur later on. These are Nawari Patar - the nine yards fabric. It's similar to how Marathi wear the Kashta, or dhoti.

Like Dhotar, dhoti, shela, umrekar dhotar. There was also silk, zari, gold brocades, silver etc. in yesteryears. It was quite a flourished industry in Nagpur. There were at least 3 lakh weavers. The Hindus and Muslim Koshti weavers live together in this area.

One of our kings called them here. It was a flourishing industry. When the Industrial revolution happened and Empress Mill was created, then these started to decline. Many burnt their machines after that.

Their home-cooked meals were Saoji, because of which you have come this far. Then, these Sauji meals were sold outside. Where would the money come from? One business closed, so another opened.

Sauji got its commercial value this way. And it got its uniqueness from our area. Now, people know Nagpur for its Saoji. But it started from Halwa Koshti community.

This was the story of the Koshti community. Now we will got to Suryakant Saoji and taste the meals there. Hello, you are welcome. This is Sanjuji and this is his father. The restaurant is named after them. This is Saoji Patodi. It is the specialty of our restaurant in the vegetarian section.

It is made of besan (gram flour). The spicy gravy served with it is called 'Saru'. It has two varieties - Fried Patodi and Saoji Patodi. It has besan, green chillies, poppy seeds, curry leaves, cumin.

We roast them together. Once the besan is added, the nutty smell begins to come out. Then, we add boiling water to it. And we boil it with the spices. We flatten it on the tray and cut it into pieces.

Then we customize according to the customer's order. We deep-fry it. Then we add it to the special gravy that is made separately. We will add few curry leaves in this.

Fennel. Ginger-Garlic paste. Chilly powder. Salt. Spices. Now, coriander powder.

The gravy. More gravy. And in goes the Patodi.

So, how do you make this spicy gravy? We use soyabean oil for the base. We used to make it in Javas Oil before. But those coming from outside, didn't like the bitter taste. When at home, we use Javas Oil and Palli Oil for Saoji cuisine. But, we moved to soyabean oil due to customers' preferences.

Javas is linseed oil. You make use of that to cook your food. That is in the darker side and has a bitter smell. What do you put in the Rasa? We use curry leaves, fennel seeds, cumin, red chilly powder, turmeric, other spices that we make, garam masala. All are added in.

Then we boil the Patodi and Gravy together, before serving it to the customers. Sanju bhai, what are we making now? Our Saoji special dish is Prawns Curry. We are making what we call 'Jheenga Saoji Curry'. What are the ingredients in this? The base is the prawn. It is completely shelled.

Then we have these brown spices. We make the coriander powder on our own. Chilly powder. This is 'Goda Masala'.

This is Garam Masala. Turmeric. And salt. Here's the main ingredient in Saoji cuisine.

It has green coriander, spinach and mint. Also, ginger and garlic. But in lesser quantities.

The whole spices are bay leaves, green cardamom, cloves, and black pepper. That's it. But for other dishes, we add all the whole spices. We add finely chopped onions to this dish. And then, ginger-garlic paste.

And Oil. This is Goda Masala. Why is its colour so dark? It is dark because of the whole Garam Masala. It has big cardamoms, small cardamoms, black pepper, star anise, nutmeg, mace. We roast these spices in 1 tablespoon of oil. So that the raw smell goes away.

Then we grind them coursely. That is why it's dark in color. Then we have black papper, cloves, bay leaves and Masale Ke Phool. You must have seen them. Yes, the stone flowers. After frying the prawns a little, we are going to separate them.

Then we are going to use the same oil to make the onion gravy. When the gravy will be ready, we will add them back and boil them. -Do you get the prawns locally? -Yes, we get them locally. Where does this come from? We have a river in Nagpur called Vainganga.

That is where it comes from. The prawns are fried now. The onions are to be fried till they are golden-brown. Saoji Prawn Curry is in the making. Jhinga Masala. This looks quite spicy.

It is not ready yet, but many spices are added. In two kilos of prawn, 250 grams of chilly powder are added. Let's get ready for the steam and sweat. We are going to have hot, steamy Saoji food today. You must have understood we use different gravies for each meal in the Saoji cusisine.

Like we made a different curry for the prawns. Similarly, for mutton, we use a different gravy. We don't boil it. Even for chicken, we don't boil it but use the gravy. That is Saoji specialty.

We have a gravy for Paya. Fishes will have a different gravy. So, individual dish with individual gravy.

Like an ala carte menu. You will get the real taste of prawns if it's served after 3 hours of cooking it. Best taste after 3 hours. Sir, now our Saoji Prawn Curry is ready.

Let's taste it now. Sure. Usually, drinks are allowed in other restaurants. And they have these as side dishes. So, we can have it if you order it. The concept is to drink and have Saoji food. The rasa is to be drunk.

But the latter is also consumed as a side with drinks. Yes, it is served in a separate bowl, like chicken. We do not have Papad here. Here, we don't have Papad. Only Rasa. When you have so much spicy food, you must also drink a lot.

If you go to Kerala, they have toddy shops. The food served in the toddy shops are extremely spicy. If they have more spicy food, they tend to drink more.

-Is that a concept? -Yes. The dishes served with drinks must be spicy. Usually we have nuts. I have seen these dishes being made. Sanju Bhai was showing me. So many spices are used in each dish.

I haven't tasted it yet. But the steam is already coming out of my ears and nose. That is Saoji specialty. Spices are more than the oil. The spiciness coming from the spices is different.

And the hotness of the red chilly powder is different. Our dishes are more spicy. Not hot like the red chillies. The background is this. As I had told you before, the biggest industry after agriculture in our country was weaving. And weaving industry had a lot of money invested in it.

That is why they could afford all the spices. And then it became a norm to use these many spices in our food. This is the story behind the Saoji spices. Okay, let's start.

This is Saoji Sundari. Goat intestine. This is Saoji Khaskhas. Then we have the prawns. Lastly, the Saoji patodi. This is the intestine.

This is the tripe. And here are the lungs. How is it? Spicy.

What about the taste? Taste is good. I was reminded of Uttarakhand's dish 'Bhua' as soon as I tasted this. That is also made with Mutton offal.

It is the same but this is extremely spicy. That is our specialty. How do people eat this? The people who have it regularly, love these dishes. Do you serve sweets with this also? No. We serve Rasa to cool down.

The gravy is served as a side. And as far as I have seen, no Saoji meal is served with sweets. On a daily basis. Even after having such spicy dishes, Nagpur people do not have sweets typically. This is oily and spicy. Yes, both.

It is said that Nagpur locals are quite hot. The Nagpuri people are usually very hot-tempered. Because they live in the hot temperatures of Nagpur.

Nagpur people are known for their anger. How do people digest such spicy and oily food in the hot climate of Nagpur? The people are quite hot-headed. But the connection goes back to the weaver community.

All the factories in Nagpur used to have pit-looms. They had their machines in the pit and they weave in there. The handlooms were based there. They used to sit like that all day long. That is why they used so much spice probably.

So that the fat-burning process occurs. It was quite a tedious job. They used to sit like that in one particular space for 8-9 hours every day with the machine going back and forth. Maybe that is why it's so spicy.

The other story was that they could actually afford all the spices. Which is why most of the dishes have so many spices. What I think, as a scientific logic, and as people say nowadays, the places that have hot summers have people who eat a lot of spicy dishes. You sweat a lot, and the body temperature is balanced. That is why spicy dishes are preferred. I didn't know the history. But people of Nagpur eat that a lot, which is why it's so famous.

It is because of our community. Otherwise, there are not many options in Nagpur for spicy food. All our taste buds are trained for spices. If you serve them bland food, they may just outright reject to have it. They will say, "what have you brought me? Please take it back. I don't like this." -Really? -Yes, seriously.

If you do not serve them food this spicy, they will just return it. If they don't like the taste, they will ask you to make it doubly-spicy. Most customers ask us to add spices to the dish you are having. We make it stronger according to the customers' choices.

The texture of the tripe and intestines is slightly slimy. It's also a little chewy. And the flavours are very spicy and oily. That is how it should be too.

Yes, it's authentic. -Next? -Please try the prawns. The head and the body are very juicy. -Should I break it like this? -Yes. You can never try the prawns with one hand. It's impossible.

How is it? It's very tasty. When I saw it being made, I thought it was going to be extremely spicy. It has a lot of sweetness because of the onions. Yes, it's sweet. You must have noticed the difference in the flavours of prawns and offal.

The Paya, chicken and mutton - all taste different from each other. You have fried the prawns first and the oil has absorbed all the flavours. That is why the taste of the gravy is true to what has been added to it. The aromatic flavours are stored that way. It is really good. Let's try the Patodi now.

It's not that spicy. Patodi is quite soft. Wonderful. Please tell us a little bit about your restaurant. Our restaurant had been established 25 years ago.

It was our father's business before this. The weaver's community. Our father used to make blankets from waste materials.

After the plastic world took over, the business slowed down. Most people don't know this, the weavers used to call their shopkeepers and distributors at least once in their homes for feasts. That was our tradition. All the non-vegetarian items were served. They liked our style of cooking too. The idea of turning it into a business came from the appreciation that we received for our food.

These styles were applied by the cooks, coming down several years. Our story goes like this. Our father's business was completely shut down. The weaving business. Then, his idea was to move on towards the Saoji restaurant. Dad followed the tradition and took it forward. Like this, we completed 24 years of the restaurant.

And we are the second generation to look after this. So, we serve the customers those dishes that we have at home. The authentic tribal flavours. So that our originality is never compromised. Meat is quite a prominent item in your cuisine.

Yes, 80 percent are meat dishes. And there's no wastage. You use everything. The brain, liver, intestines - everything.

The Adivasis never waste a single part of the meat. Food is sacred for us. We never waste any of it. You may not know this. We make Gobhi ki Sabji. You must throw away the cauliflower leaves. We make the dishes with the leaves too. You make cauliflowers at your home a lot.

It has been coming down several generations. We use all parts of the lamb if we buy one. No food wastage.

All were made on a wooden oven before. The older generations used to set up coal ovens at home. But it's quite time-consuming. That's why we moved to more practical ways. This generation calls this 'head-to-tail' eating. The norm is to use all parts of the animal.

If we use lamb, we also use its brains (bheja). We make a dish called 'Bheja Fry' with that. 'Sundari' for intestines. For the legs, we make 'Khur Paya' or 'Khur Saoji'.

Mutton is made differently. We use the whole animal this way. We have different dishes. So, there's a lot of variety. And people like them a lot.

Let's try the Khuskhus. -Is this spicy? -No. -Tasty? -Yes, very much so. It has quite a fruity, nutty texture. Khuskhus is also said to be good for health. It is healthy and costly.

2000 rupees per kg. It's more expensive than mutton. It's very spicy dear, how will you eat it? But she is having it. Her favorite is Sundari. Sundari, Khur and Bheja are her favorites. It's quite an acquired taste.

Everybody may not like it. The offals. The organs. -What do people prefer - rice or roti? -Both. Is this cuisine limited to Vidarbha or is it widespread elsewhere too? You will find these dishes in any five-star restaurant as Saoji cuisine. But specially, it's made here. You will get this taste all over Vidarbha.

But, in other parts of India, they may call it Saoji, yet the flavour and taste are not the same. Our cooking style is quite different. Unique to Nagpur. Unique to Vidarbha. So, it means, if you come to Vidarbha and don't try Saoji cuisine, you didn't come at all.

Your journey remains incomplete. Ok, thank you Sanju Bhaiya. It was really nice to meet you.

2023-05-29 13:11

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